Helman sets school record in 100m hurdles
By Joe Naiman
Three Ramona High School runners advanced to the CIF San Diego Section track and field finals at Mt. Carmel High School on Saturday.
Juniors Forrest Riley and Tristan Stidham will compete in the boys 3,200-meter race while senior Lauren Cortez will run in the girls 3,200-meter competition. The three qualified for the finals during the May 19 preliminaries at Mt. Carmel.
“The ones I really thought would make it to finals did, so that was good,” said Coach Sherri Edwards.
Riley’s time of 9:21.38 placed him fourth among Division I boys and fifth overall while Stidham’s time of 9:31.92 was 12th in Division I. Cortez had a time of 11:25.70, which placed tenth among Division I girls.
All three set personal records, Stidham beat his previous personal record by nine seconds, Cortez took six seconds off her previous best mark, and Riley lowered his personal record by five seconds.
“They did great,” Edwards said.
Each event’s top 12 finishers from each division in distance races advanced to the finals while the division’s top nine times or distances in other events earned another week of CIF competition.
Senior Preston Johnson finished 10th in the boys shot put. His distance of 45’7” fell one inch short of the ninth-place mark. “That was disappointing,” Edwards said.
Johnson injured his knee during the 2011 football season and did not receive medical clearance to participate in track and field until after the beginning of the season.
“I’m just thankful that he got to throw at all this year after his knee surgery,” Edwards said.
Kelly Helman’s time of 16.55 seconds in the girls 100-meter hurdles placed the senior 13th among Division I competitors, but it set a school record.
“I was really happy for Kelly. She’s been trying to get the school record all year,” Edwards said. “It’s kind of neat.”
Edwards, who returned as Ramona’s track and field head coach this year, coached the Bulldogs in 1994 when Cathy Bell ran a 100-meter hurdles race in 16.60 seconds. Bell’s time had not been matched by a Ramona runner until Helman’s performance in her final high school meet.
“Kind of a long-standing record,” Edwards said. (Edwards coached Ramona’s team from 1990-96.)
Senior Caitlyn Choy had the 12th-best time among Division I girls in the 400-meter preliminary heats with a time of 59.51 seconds. Sophomore Karah Banegas was 14th among Division I girls in the shot put after a throw of 33 feet 8-1/4 inches. The boys 800-meter race included Ramona senior Alec Richardson, whose time of 2:01.10 placed 18th.
Senior Graham Gantzer’s final high school race was in a 1,600-meter heat, where his time of 4:35.23 ranked 22nd. Senior Brooke Brean, who competed in the girls high jump for the first time this year, cleared 4’5” at the preliminaries.
Ramona’s 4x100 girls relay team had been an alternate to the CIF meet but was scratched in, so Choy, senior Kendall Kohler, and sophomores Courtney Ford and Kelci Freeman participated in one of the heats. Their time of 52.46 seconds placed 20th out of 27 teams.
“I was just happy that they got to go,” Edwards said.