State Predictions & Article

Published Friday, June 1, 2001, in the San Jose Mercury News


Barrientos wants to silence her doubters at state meet

Mercury News

It has been one year since Alejandra Barrientos suffered a stress fracture at the state track and field championships, ending her bid for consecutive titles in the 1,600 meters.

Now the San Lorenzo Valley senior has one more chance. Barrientos, who is headed to UCLA on a track scholarship, says she is ready to challenge for the state title again.

Barrientos may need every ounce of strength she has.

The girls 1,600 final is one of the premier races at the state track and field championships this weekend at Hughes Stadium in Sacramento. The field in the girls 1,600 is loaded: Two of the athletes have once held national-best times, two have won the state title and three are ranked among the top five milers in the nation.

``I've never gone into a race with this much competition,'' said Barrientos, who won the state title as a sophomore. ``It's going to be great.''

The field's status improved drastically last weekend when Amber Steen of Newport Harbor-Newport Beach won the Southern Section title in 4:44.75, the best time in the nation. Sara Bei of Montgomery finished second at the state meet the previous two years. Steen, Barrientos and Bei are ranked third, fourth and fifth nationally in the mile, respectively.

``I think as far as it goes between us, it will be a tossup,'' Barrientos said. ``All of us are so capable. Maybe Amber's time will have a play in the outcome this week. But I kind of want to pretend it never happened and expect a really fast time from everyone.''

Barrientos set national-leading times in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 as a junior and was favored to repeat as the state champion.

But she suffered a leg injury before her qualifying heat at the state meet. She tried to run with the pain, but fell to her knees after one lap.

``The year after, you have people wondering if you're going to continue what you've started,'' Barrientos said. ``And I think if I wouldn't have gotten injured I would have continued. But because of that I think it raised a lot of doubt.

``I'm looking for the state meet to prove myself again.''

Barrientos hasn't run against a fast field since the Arcadia Invitational on April 14, when she clocked a 4:47.88. She cruised in each of the two Central Coast Section qualifying rounds, and held a 50-meter lead for most of the race in the CCS final en route to a 4:51.20. She hopes to run 4:43 or faster this weekend, improving upon her personal best of 4:45.02.

``I've been craving this kind of race,'' Barrientos said. ``I've been going over it in my mind and preparing and remembering the really competitive races I've run. . .

``There's no holding back anymore.''

Rowbury's run

Sacred Heart Cathedral junior Shannon Rowbury hopes two years of experience will do the trick.

Rowbury, currently the state leader in the 800 at 2:08.78, is making her third trip to the state meet, having placed fifth last year. She won her third section title last Friday and owns the fourth best time in the nation.

``Now I have a lot of experience,'' Rowbury said. ``Just one year makes so much of a difference. I've gained more confidence, so going into it I'm not quite as nervous.''

Aptos duo

Aptos' Brett Gotcher and Scott McConville finished 1-2 at the CCS finals in the 3,200. Now both are looking to take home state medals.

Big Bear's Ryan Hall, the state leader in the 3,200, scratched from the event. Yong-Sung Leal of Arroyo has the field's best time this year at 9:02.32; Gotcher's best is 9:05.51.

Contact Mark Gomez at [email protected] or (408) 920-5814.


Published Friday, June 1, 2001, in the San Jose Mercury News



Top Central Coast Section and state qualifying times in the 83rd California Interscholastic Federation track and field championships today and Saturday at Hughes Stadium at Sacramento City College. Nine in each event advance to the final Saturday. There are no trials in the 3,200. Qualifying field events start today at 2 p.m.; running events at 5 p.m. Field events start Saturday at 4 p.m.; running events at 6 p.m.
4x100 relay
CCS: Los Gatos 48.59
Wilson-Long Beach, 45.56
Meet record:
St. Bernard, Playa del Rey, 1997
Wilson (45.10), North-Riverside (45.36) and Long Beach Poly (45.57) own the top three times in the state and should provide the crowd with a great race. Los Gatos, not ranked among the state's top 20, will be hard pressed to advance to the final.
4x400 relay

CCS: Los Gatos 3:56.73
Wilson-Long Beach, 3:37.48
Meet record:
Wilson-Long Beach, 3:36.32, 1998
Just like the 4x100, Wilson, Poly and North are 1-2-3 in the state. Much like the 4x100 relay, Los Gatos is not among the state's top 20 and will have a hard time making the final.

CCS: Erin Curtis, Mitty, 12.26
State: Alyson Felix, L.A. Baptist, 11.53
Meet record: Marion Jones, Thousand Oaks, 11.14, 1992
Nine athletes ran under 12 seconds to qualify for state, including two from Long Beach Poly. Angel Perkins of Gahr-Cerritos has the fastest time this season with a 11.45.
CCS: Christina Hardeman, Wilcox, 25.09
State: Angel Perkins, Gahr-Cerritos, 23.14
Meet record: Marion Jones, Thousand Oaks, 22.83, 1992
Comment: Perkins could sweep the hurdles if she comes close to her state-leading times. But Monique Henderson of Morse-San Diego has run a 23.16.
CCS: Christina Hardeman, Wilcox, 55.86
State: Monique Henderson, Morse-San Diego, 52.51
Meet record: Monique Henderson, Morse-San Diego, 50.74, 2000
Comment: Henderson is the state leader and defending champion, having qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials last season with her time of 50.74 seconds, a national high school record.
CCS and state: Shannon Rowbury, Sacred Heart Cathedral, 2:08.78
Meet record: Trena Hull, Compton, 2:04.91, 1984
Comment: Rowbury and Los Gatos' Ashley Caldwell finished with the top two qualifying times and, overall, have the two best times in state this season. Will they finish 1-2 at the state meet?
CCS: Alejandra Barrientos, San Lorenzo Valley, 4:51.20
State: Amber Steen, Newport Harbor-Newport Beach, 4:43.75
Meet record: Polly Plumer, University-Irvine, 4:39.92, 1982
Comment: Steen and Hoover's Anita Siraki ran the two fastest times in the nation at the Southern Section Masters meet last weekend. Siraki, who was second in 4:44.75, scratched from the 1,600. But Breen, coupled with Barrientos and Sara Bei of Montgomery-Santa Rosa (4:46.17), could provide the best race of the weekend.
CCS: Ruth Graham, Gunn, 10:50.89
State: Anita Siraki, Hoover, 10:16.95
Meet record: Kim Mortensen, Thousand Oaks, 9:52.80, 1996
Comment: Siraki, Steen and Bei should all battle for the first. Bei is the state leader with a hand-timed 10:14.6.
100 hurdles
CCS and state: Undine Becker, Mt. Pleasant, 13.74
Meet record: Nicole Denby, J.W. North-Riverside, 13.20, 2000
Comment: Becker could walk away with three medals, including both hurdles and the long jump. She owns the state's second-best time with a 13.61. The state leader is Lashinda Demus of Wilson-Long Beach, with a 13.61.
300 hurdles
CCS: Undine Becker, Mt. Pleasant, 43.63
State: Tunisia Johnson, Long Beach Poly, 42.32
Meet record: Janeene Vickers, Pomona, 40.26, 1987
Comment: Lashinda Demus, the national record-holder, did not finish the race at her sectional qualifying and is not in the field. Becker's 43.63 is eighth-best in the state.
High jump
and state: Jenna Grimaldi, St. Ignatius, 6-0
Meet record: Latrese Johnson, Clovis, 6-2, 1985
Comment: Grimaldi is the national leader, having cleared six feet on her final attempt at last Friday's CCS finals. St. Ignatius is sending four athletes to the state meet in the high jump.
Long jump
CCS and state: Elzunia Wojcicka-Lamb, Hollister, 20-1 3/4
Meet record: Marion Jones, Thousand Oaks, 22- 1/2, 1993
Comment: Wojcicka-Lamb and Mt. Pleasant's Undine Becker have the top two marks in the state this season. The two put on a fantastic show at the CCS finals and could be poised for a 1-2 finish at the state meet. Michelle Sanford of Woodbridge-Irvine owns the state's third-leading mark with 19-9 3/4.
Triple jump
Undine Becker, Mt. Pleasant, 39-1 3/4
State: Candice Bauchman, Long Beach Poly, 42-2 1/4
Meet record: Juliana Yendork, Walnut, 43-11 1/2, 1991
Comment: Becker and Wojcicka-Lamb, who finished 1-2 at the CCS finals, both scratched from this event. Sanford and Bauchman both qualified by jumping over 41 feet.
Pole vault
Chelsea Connolly, Soquel, 11-6
State: Shayla Ballentine, Morro Bay, 13-0
Meet record: Tracey O'Hara, Rancho Bernardo-San Diego, 12-8, 1998
Comment: Ballentine and two others have cleared 13 feet this season, but Ballentine was the only one to qualify at that mark. Connolly may need to match her personal record of 12 feet to medal.
Shot put
Sabrina Kirkwood, Mercy-San Francisco, 43-11 1/2
State: Karen Freberg, San Luis Obispo, 51-2 1/2
Meet record: Kristin Heaston, Ignacio Valley, 52-11 1/2, 1993
Comment: Freberg seems poised to run away with this event. She owns a state-leading mark of 53-7 1/2; the next best mark is 46-10 1/4. Kirkwood owns the eighth best mark in the state.
Molly Clarke, Aptos, 134-6
Gennessa Guzman, Charter Oak-Covina, 163-3
Meet record:
Stephanie Brown, Arroyo Grande, 181-3, 1998
Comment: Guzman leads three athletes that have gone over 160 feet this season. Michelle Pequignot of Arroyo Grande (162-3) and Katie McKeever of Woodland (162-3) should challenge Guzman. Clarke's season best of 141-9 is 11th in the state.
4x100 relay
CCS: Leigh 41.97
State: Taft-Woodland Hills, 41.21
Meet record: Muir-Pasadena, 40.35, 1997
Comment: Leigh's team of Julio Ponce, Antwon Guidry, Paul Cooper and Byron Taplin will need their best race to qualify for the finals. Leigh owns the 12th-best time in the state.
4x400 relay

CCS: Serra 3:21.48
State: Long Beach Poly, 3:14.63
Meet record: Muir-Pasadena, 3:08.66, 1996
Comment: Once again this race will be dominated by Southern California schools.

CCS: Antwon Guidry, Leigh, 10.61
State: Phillip Francis, Fairfax-L.A., 10.58
Meet record: Riley Washington, Southwest-San Diego, 10.30, 1992
Comment: Guidry had been anticipating the state meet all season; Guidry did not get past the qualifying round in either the 100 or 200 last year. He owns the third-best time in the state, improving his times in each event over the past two weekends.
CCS: Antwon Guidry, Leigh, 21.39
State: Seth Amoo, Highland-Palmdale, 21.00
Meet record: Kareem Kelly, Long Beach Poly, 20.76, 1998
Comment: Guidry will attempt to medal in both sprints. Amoo is the only athlete in California to run under 21 seconds.
CCS: Brian Edwards, Los Gatos, 48.69
State: Mario Bassani, Irvine, 47.01
Meet record: Calvin Harrison, North Salinas, 45.25, 1993
Comment: Edwards scratched from all his events for the state meet. Seven runners have been times under 48 seconds this season; nobody from the CCS is among the state's top 20.
CCS and state: Matt Bates, Los Gatos, 1:52.35
Meet record: Michael Granville, Bell Gardens, 1:46.45, 1996
Comment: Bates is dropping the 1,600 to concentrate on this race. He owns the state's third-fastest time this season. Big Bear's Ryan Hall, who owns the fastest times in the state in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200, is dropping the 800 and 3,200. Look for Bates and Raphael Asafo-Agyei of Don Lugo-Chino (1:51.76) to be among the medalists.
CCS: Matt Bates, Los Gatos, 4:15.75
State: Ryan Hall, Big Bear, 4:04.24
Meet record: Michael Stember, Jesuit-Carmichael, 4:04.00, 1995
Comment: Hall cruised to a victory last year in the 3,200. Now he's aiming for a title in the 1,600. Could Hall be poised for a sub-four minute mile, following Alan Webb of Reston, Va., the nation's top high-school miler ever?
Brett Gotcher, Aptos, 9:15.27
State: Yong-Sung Leal, Arroyo, 9:02.32
Meet record: Eric Hulst, Laguna Beach, 8:44.9h, 1975
Comment: Gotcher owns the state's third-fastest time, but with Hall not running, could contend for the state title. Leal has the state's second-best time of 9:02.15. Aptos' Scott McConville (personal best 9:10.00) should challenge for a medal.
110 high hurdles
CCS: Ian Kenworthy, St. Francis, 14.68
State: Chris Morgan, Taft-Woodland Hills, 13.89
Meet record: Steve Kerho, Mission Viejo, 13.41, 1982
Comment: Morgan leads three athletes who have been timed under 14 seconds, including Jeff Garrison (North-Riverside) and Jeff Hunter (Granite Hills-El Cajon). Kenworthy's converted time is 11th best in the state.
300 intermediate hurdles
CCS: Timi Wusu, Palo Alto, 38.39
State: Jeff Garrison, North-Riverside, 36.36
Meet record: George Porter, Cabrillo-Lompoc, 35.50, 1985
Comment: Jeff Hunter of Granite Hill-El Cajon and Garrison are the only runners to go under 37 seconds this season. Wusu owns 15th-best time in the state.
High jump
Alexi Sevastopoulos, Saratoga 6-5
State: Mark Brummit, Mt. Whitney, 6-10
Meet record: Lee Balkin, Glendale, 7-3 1/4, 1979
Comment: If Wusu can top his personal record of 6-8 he could challenge for a medal. Marbley and Chico's Teak Wilburn have both cleared 6-11 this season.
Long jump
CCS: Derek Jones, Alvarez, 23-4
State: Aaron Williams, Diamond Ranch, 24-3 1/2
Meet record: James Stallworth, Tulare, 26-4 3/4, 1989
Comment: Jones has the seventh-best qualifying mark, but may need to match his personal best (23-10) to challenge for a top-three medal. Williams, Bakersfield's Gemayel Alexander and Walnut's Ronald Hill all qualified with jumps over 24 feet.
Triple jump
Derek Jones, Alvarez, 47-8 1/2
State: Jamil Smith, Palmdale, 48-4 1/2
Meet record: Ken Frazier, Mission-San Francisco, 52-4 3/4, 1981
Comment: Two CCS athletes could walk away with medals. Jones owns the fifth-best qualifying mark at state, joined by Piedmont Hills' Patrick Grogan, who has seventh-best mark. However, both may need repeat performances from last weekend's CCS finals.
Pole vault
Kyle Williams, St. Francis, 15-0
State: Levi Walker, Hemet, 15-7 1/2
Meet record: Anthony Curran, Crespi-Encino, 17- 1/2, 1978
Comment: Williams is bunched with two others with the fourth-best qualifying mark of 15 feet. Two others qualified by clearing 15-3.
Shot put
Brian Laupua, Jefferson, 56-6 3/4
State: Jake Knight, Rubidoux, 62-6 3/4
Meet record: Brent Noon, Fallbrook, 74-4 3/4, 1990
Comment: Four athletes qualified with throws of 61 feet or better. If Shields comes close to his state-leading mark of 64-1 1/4 he should be looking at a first-place finish. Laupua is ranked 18th in the state.
Adam Tafralis, Mills, 171-4
Sean Shields, Arroyo Grande, 196-10
Meet record:
Brian Bluetrich, Capistrano Valley-Mission Viejo, 203-4, 1985
Rob Powell, Redwood, 203-4, 1990
Comment: After finishing third in both the shot put and discus, Shields could be looking at sweeping those events. Shields is the state leader with a 209-9. Tafralis ranks 12th in the state.