Prep Impressions: April 21, 2012

I covered the Inland Empire Track & Field Championships for The Press-Enterprise on April 21, 2012, and came away thinking that this meet’s unfortunate timing may have impacted the level of talent but not the level of competition.

The I.E. Championships and the Mt. SAC Invitationals, previously held on consecutive Saturdays in April, were scheduled for the same Saturday this year. Next year, too.

A quirk Vista Murrieta coach Coley Candaele calls “unfortunate.”

This lack of fortune for the I.E. Championships means that some of the Inland Area’s very best track and field athletes were competing at the Mt. SAC Invitationals instead of their local meet. And really, if you’re a high school track or field athlete with a spot at Mt. SAC, wouldn’t you choose to compete at one of the most prestigious meets on the West Coast?

Anyway, with or without athletes like thrower Tanya Sapa (Riverside La Sierra), vaulter Peter Chapman (Murrieta Valley), jumper Walter Jones (Redlands), hudler Zach Lewis (Riverside Ramona), sprinter Elijah Mitchell (Eastvale Roosevelt) or the entire Temecula Great Oak team, the 2012 Inland Empire Championships didn’t lack for competiteness or even record-breaking feats.

Riverside King’s Tayler Fleming posted a 43.33 to set the record in the Girls 300 hurdles, Vista Murrieta hurdler Darion Williams won impressively both the Boys 300 and 110 hurdles, and Vista Murrieta’s Jasmyne Graham won three events. And that was the stuff I DIDN’T write about in The Press-Enterprise.

Graham, by the way, is amazing. Just a 5-foot-5 freshman, she jumped 18 feet, 6 inches (Wow!) in the Long Jump, ran a 14.21 in the Girls 100 hurdles and ran the first leg on the Broncos’ top 400 relay team. She’s really something, and is sure to have much more written about her in years to come.

The only observable missing piece was Vista Murrieta senior Bernard Quinn, one of the top sprinters in CIF-Southern Section. He pulled up after just 40 meters early in the week in a recent attempt to come back from a hamstring injury, and his time table to return seems uncertain at best. Quinn “could be ready by Sectionals, maybe help us at league finals,” Candaele said.

Plenty of intersting stuff, and all in all, a top-notch day hosted by a top-notch program at yes… a top-notch facility suited to hosting big-time events.

So despite the daytime heat that turns into afternoon wind and night-time chill, and the lack of a big name outside of those competing for the host school, it was probably the best track meet Riverside or San Bernardino Counties have to offer.

Vista Murrieta’s Erika Reddish (PICTURED ABOVE):
“I just do whatever my coach’s tell me. I don’t really follow too much outside of trying to do my own stuff. I think I would have the same competition (at the Mt. SAC Invitationals). For me, I knew about this meet before I knew about Mt. SAC so this is my focus, espcially since this is my home meet. Being able to run here… it’s kinda exciting. Especially with all the local people around. I’m kinda excited.”

Vista Murrieta’s Audriana Holloway (BELOW):
“(Today) means a lot of competition and a chance to do well. Try and get a PR in all the races, and stuff. I’m also doing to 200, the 400 and the four-by-four (1,600 relay). Either the one (100-meter race) or the two (200m), I really want to PR in both. I’ve been working pretty hard. Trying to get the league championship in the one and the two, and the four-by-one, obviously.”

Vista Murrieta's Audriana Holloway runs away from the pack to win the Girls 400 relay at the Inland Empire Track and Field Championships at Vista Murrieta High School on Saturday. / Photos by TERRY PIERSON for The Press-Enterprise

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