By Joe Naiman
The Palomar League track and field meet saw Ramona High School take first place in two boys events.
During the league finals May 13 at Poway High School, Trevor Dotson broke his 8-day-old school record by totaling 45 feet 4 inches in the triple jump, which was also the furthest distance of any Palomar League competitor.
Preston Johnson threw the shot put 49 feet 5-1/2 inches to take first place at the league meet, which also included preliminaries May 10 at Poway High School.
The competitors and relay teams with the top two times or distances in each event at the league meet automatically qualify for the CIF meet, which will begin with preliminaries May 21 at Mount Carmel High School and conclude with the section finals May 28 at Mount Carmel.
The top six Division I and the top six Division II athletes at the CIF finals in each event will earn points for their schools, and the top three from the two combined divisions in each event will advance to the state meet June 3-4 in Fresno.
Athletes who achieve a qualifying time or distance standard also automatically advance to the CIF meet even if they do not place first or second at the league meet, and additional marks are used to fill out the fields. Because some athletes qualify for the CIF meet in more than one event but have a better chance for team points or a berth in the state meet in one particular event, they may “scratch out” of the CIF meet in the other event after qualifying which allows other competitors to be “scratched in.” Alternates at the CIF meet will be scratched in if injuries or other factors force withdrawal of an entered athlete or relay team.
The times and distances at the league meet are also used for seeding at the CIF meet for lane placement and field event order. Dotson will be seeded first among Division II triple jumpers while Johnson’s distance seeded him third among the division’s shot putters.
Two other Ramona boys were seeded first in Division II after their league meet performances, and the Bulldogs were given the top two seeds in the 3,200-meter run. Forrest Riley will be the top 3,200-meter seed after finishing second in the league race with a time of 9:34.10 with Alec Richardson receiving the second seed after a league time of 9:35.39.
Ramona’s CIF entries in the 3,200-meter contest also include fourth-seeded Chance Varnado-Richardson, who took 9:38.27 at the league finals, and sixth-seeded Dylan Blankenbaker, who posted a league finals time of 9:40.68.
Blankenbaker will be the top seed in the 1,600-meter race after a second-place league time of 4:19.50. Varnado-Richardson had a time of 4:25.15 at the league meet and earned the fifth seed for the CIF competition.
Zach Kovach, who rested a pulled hamstring in lieu of competing in Ramona’s final dual meet, ran the 200-meter and 400-meter races at the league meet. His 400-meter time of 49.55 seconds placed second and earned him the CIF meet’s third seed, and his 200-meter dash took 22.31 seconds to place third among the league’s runners and produce a sixth seed for the CIF meet.
Had Kovach run his best time of the season, he would have been seeded first in the 400-meter race.
“Zach could win this whole thing,” said Damon Baldwin, Ramona’s assistant coach for sprinters.
The season’s final dual meet May 5 saw Dotson break his own school record in the triple jump with a distance of 44 feet 11 inches, so his performance at the league meet was a personal best by five inches. Dotson’s long jump at the league meet of 21’3” was second among Palomar League jumpers and seeded him fifth in the CIF meet.
Ramona’s boys 4x400 relay team will be seeded second at the CIF competition after William Wenberg, Matt Maple, Dotson, and Kovach ran the race in 3:25.17 at the league finals. Ramona’s 4x100 team received a “buy-in” to the CIF meet after the coaches and judges voted the Bulldogs into the CIF preliminaries due to an interference situation which deprived Ramona of a suitable league meet time.
Bryan Kelly, Kovach, Dotson, and Nathan Cherek comprised Ramona’s 4x100 relay team at the league meet. They were in second place and on a pace for a final time of 42.5 seconds before a Rancho Bernardo runner dropped the baton in front of Dotson, who had to stop. Rancho Bernardo was disqualified while Ramona finished last with a time of 44.49 seconds.
Although the 4x100 team was given entry into the CIF preliminaries, the seeding reflects Ramona’s actual time.
“We’ll run a top nine time to go to the finals. I’m not going to worry about that,” Baldwin said of Ramona’s low seed.
Jared Engler will be the sixth-seeded pole vaulter after clearing 12’9” at the league finals. Maple earned the ninth seed in the 800-meter run after a time of 1:59.55 at the league meet.
Three Ramona girls received lanes at the CIF meet. Kelly Helman was seeded seventh in the 100-meter hurdles after a time of 16.69 seconds at the league meet.
Caitlin Choy ran the 400-meter race in 1:00.08 to earn a seventh seed.
Enough 3,200-meter qualifiers scratched out to provide Lindsey Spieker with the 16th seed in the CIF preliminaries.