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Foothill track and field prelims provide possible surprises for finals

Close sprinter's battle looms Thursday

Posted: May 3, 2016 10:46 p.m.
Updated: May 3, 2016 10:46 p.m.
Mariah Castillo of Saugus leads a trio of Saugus runners in the second heat of the girls varsity 1600-meter run at the Foothill League track and field championships preliminaries at College of the Canyons on Tuesday. Signal photo by Katharine Lotze. Mariah Castillo of Saugus leads a trio of Saugus runners in the second heat of the girls varsity 1600-meter run at the Foothill League track and field championships preliminaries at College of the Canyons on Tuesday. Signal photo by Katharine Lotze.
Mariah Castillo of Saugus leads a trio of Saugus runners in the second heat of the girls varsity 1600-meter run at the Foothill League track and field championships preliminaries at College of the Canyons on Tuesday. Signal photo by Katharine Lotze.
Johnathon Bay of Golden Valley leads the pack in the first heat of the boys varsity 1600-meter run at the Foothill League track and field championships preliminaries at College of the Canyons on Tuesday. Signal photo by Katharine Lotze. Johnathon Bay of Golden Valley leads the pack in the first heat of the boys varsity 1600-meter run at the Foothill League track and field championships preliminaries at College of the Canyons on Tuesday. Signal photo by Katharine Lotze.
Johnathon Bay of Golden Valley leads the pack in the first heat of the boys varsity 1600-meter run at the Foothill League track and field championships preliminaries at College of the Canyons on Tuesday. Signal photo by Katharine Lotze.
Seanna Nalbandyan of Canyon clears a hurdle in the second heat of the girls varsity 100-meter hurdles at the Foothill League track and field championships preliminaries at College of the Canyons on Tuesday. Signal photo by Katharine Lotze. Seanna Nalbandyan of Canyon clears a hurdle in the second heat of the girls varsity 100-meter hurdles at the Foothill League track and field championships preliminaries at College of the Canyons on Tuesday. Signal photo by Katharine Lotze.
Seanna Nalbandyan of Canyon clears a hurdle in the second heat of the girls varsity 100-meter hurdles at the Foothill League track and field championships preliminaries at College of the Canyons on Tuesday. Signal photo by Katharine Lotze.
Hart's DJ Aponik clears a hurdle in the first heat of the boys varsity 110-meter hurdles at the Foothill League track and field championships preliminaries at College of the Canyons on Tuesday. Signal photo by Katharine Lotze. Hart's DJ Aponik clears a hurdle in the first heat of the boys varsity 110-meter hurdles at the Foothill League track and field championships preliminaries at College of the Canyons on Tuesday. Signal photo by Katharine Lotze.
Hart's DJ Aponik clears a hurdle in the first heat of the boys varsity 110-meter hurdles at the Foothill League track and field championships preliminaries at College of the Canyons on Tuesday. Signal photo by Katharine Lotze.
Saugus' Houston Heinemann and Golden Valley's Nathan Ray go head-to-head in the boys varsity 110-meter hurdles at the Foothill League track and field championships preliminaries at College of the Canyons on Tuesday. Signal photo by Katharine Lotze. Saugus' Houston Heinemann and Golden Valley's Nathan Ray go head-to-head in the boys varsity 110-meter hurdles at the Foothill League track and field championships preliminaries at College of the Canyons on Tuesday. Signal photo by Katharine Lotze.
Saugus' Houston Heinemann and Golden Valley's Nathan Ray go head-to-head in the boys varsity 110-meter hurdles at the Foothill League track and field championships preliminaries at College of the Canyons on Tuesday. Signal photo by Katharine Lotze.
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If the last week of Foothill League track and field dual meets taught us anything, it was to expect surprises — with the Saugus boys edging Canyon last week to create a three-way tie atop the final league standings.

And the Foothill League track and field prelims Tuesday at College of the Canyons point to more possible surprises in the finals on Thursday.

The boys sprinting and hurdle finals are going to be tight. The top eight runners in the 100-meter dash are only separated by .45 seconds. In the 400, the gap is .42 between the top four finalists.

Canyon’s Connor Holcomb finished first in the 200 (22.41) and 400 (50.03). But he know’s how stiff the competition is going to be on Thursday.

“Yeah, there is some pretty big competition,” Holcomb said. “The (400) is going to be tough, it’s going to be (Sam) Pica (from Valencia) — and my teammate Steven Arrington will be in the (200) with me. So it’s going to be a big Thursday meet. Good friends, fast. I just have to take it easy tomorrow and just hope for the best on Thursday.”

Holcomb’s teammate, Arrington, won his heat in the 100, with the day’s best overall time in the event (11.27).

But Saugus’ Luis Eusebi, Hart’s Brock Williams, Valencia’s Pica and Blake Beeler can all edge each other out depending on the day.

“Yeah, definitely (there is a lot of competition),” Williams said after a second-place finish in his heat of the 200 (22.59). “Especially Connor from Canyon, Blake from Valencia, Luis Eusebi from Saugus. (Eusebi has) been my good friend since we were little. So it’s cool to be running against him.”

West Ranch’s Adaugo Oguejiofor and Canyon’s Seanna Nalbandyan won their heats in the girls 100-meter and 300-hurdles. Oguejiofor finished atop the overall 100 meter standings (15.61) and Nalbandyan topped the 300 at 46.11.

Oguejiofor is the reigning 100 and 300 hurdle champion.

There was no surprise with Golden Valley’s Azaria Hill, though. The defending 100 and 200 champion led the pack for the girls with overall first place marks of 12.22 and 25.35, respectively.

An event that wasn’t conducted on Thursday was the girls 800. It only has 12 competitors, all of which will run in the finals Thursday, including reigning champ Bianca Tinoco.

Behind her though will be a slew of West Ranch runners looking to take her crown.

“I feel good, but I’m not running the 1600,” Tinoco said. “I just want to be fresh for the 800 on Thursday.”

Saugus’ distance squad — Ashley Heys, Mariah Castillo and Emma Bahr — each finished in the top four of the 3200 prelims, and will try to edge each other Thursday.

The Cents’ Houston Heinemann took the top spot in the boys 100-meter hurdles (15.61), while the Indians’ DJ Aponik led the 300 hurdles (40.67). Golden Valley’s Jonathon Bay won the 1600 in 4:29.69, and Canyon runner Jordan Henry’s prelim time of 2:02.94 was a best in the 800.

All varsity field events and relays will take place Thursday at COC.

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