Steele Canyon track team gets off to fast start

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The Steele Canyon Cougars and Helix Highlanders each proved they are worthy contenders for this year’s Grossmont Hills League track and field championship title when they met on the oval last Thursday, March 21, at Helix High School.

The Steele Canyon Cougars and Helix Highlanders each proved they are worthy contenders for this year’s Grossmont Hills League track and field championship title when they met on the oval last Thursday, March 21, at Helix High School.

The defending league champion Cougars took first-place finishes in 10 of the 16 events in the boys half of the high profile dual meet encounter while Steele Canyon captured 11 top marks in the girls meet.
Cougars coach Gary Stathas admitted the road to this year’s championship may take several turns before the season is over.

“There are some other teams, such as Helix and Granite Hills, that look very strong this season,” Stathas said. “We’ll know more over the next three weeks.”
Steele Canyon follows with another high profile dual meet at Granite Hills on Thursday, April 4.
Event winners for the Cougars in the boys dual against the Highlanders included senior Jeremy Davis in the 200-meter dash (22.5), senior Brandon Howard in the 400 dash (50.0) and 300 intermediate hurdles (39.4), junior Cody Rhodes in the 800 run (1:59.6), sophomore Vincent Paradise in the 3,200 run (10:17.3), senior Daniel Hernandez in the 110 high hurdles (16.3), senior Bryce Eulitt in the high jump (6-2), senior Eduardo Arellano in the pole vault (12-6) and junior Alex Wiley in the long jump (20-9).
The men of Steele also came away victorious in the meet-concluding 4×400 relay (3:23.8).
Event winners for Helix in the boys dual included senior Marquis Powell in the 100 dash (11.0), senior Shelby Hernandez in the 1,600 run (4:33), senior William Milo in the shot put (49-10), junior Kordell Hampton in the discus throw (136-11) and sophomore Jesiah Stamp in the triple jump (43-0).
The Highlanders won the meet-opening 4×100 relay in 43.2.

In the girls dual, Steele Canyon seniors Angelique Carrillo and Monique Van combined to put on an individual clinic.
Van, the county leader in the girls triple jump at 36-8, sped to first-place finishes in the 100 low hurdles (15.4) and 300 low hurdles (46.5) besides recording a winning triple jump of 35-11.
Meanwhile, Carrillo won the 100 dash (12.8), 200 dash (26.5) and 400 dash (59.9).
Also for the Cougars, sophomore Sabrina Dozier chipped in with the top marks in both the shot put (36-4) and discus throw (115-10) while senior Alexis Ramos cleared 4-6 in the high jump, sophomore Katy Lynch cleared 9-0 in the pole vault and sophomore Natalie Cadell recorded a mark of 13-10 in the long jump.
Helix event winners in the girls encounter included senior Elaine Ribeiro in the 800 run (2:31.0) and 3,200 run (11:36.77) and senior Samantha Bojorquez in the 1,600 run (5:38.0). The Highlanders swept both relay events, winning the 4×100 in 51.1 and the 4×400 in 4:18.27.
Van has aspirations of competing in the 2016 Olympic Games. “She can do anything,” Stathas said of Van. “We put her wherever we need her.” Stathas is in his 13th season as coach at Steele Canyon. Highlights include a runner-up finish in the CIF championship meet in 2007 and team titles in 2008 (Division I) and 2009 (Division II).
Though the Cougars might not be in the running to capture this year’s CIF team title, they still remain a very talented team and should be counted among the challengers to claim this year’s league title.
“We have some holes where we haven’t had them in the past,” Stathas explained. “We’re weaker in places where we were strong and stronger in places where we were weak, so it balances out.”
Steele Canyon will rely on its depth as the largest team in the section. Stathas was greeted with a turnout of 400 student-athletes; he said the Cougars are currently carrying more than 300 student-athletes on their roster.
East County leaders
In statistics compiled on Athletic.net, Valhalla senior Nehemiah Brown topped the section in the boys 100 dash (10.76) while ranking second in the 200 dash (22.13).
Returning state meet qualifiers Jacob James of Granite Hills and Brenden Song of West Hills both counted themselves among the section leaders.
James ranked second in the section in the boys 110 high hurdles (14.45) while ranking third in the boys 300 intermediate hurdles (39.12) behind Steele Canyon’s Howard (39.10), the section runner-up.
Song had the top mark in the boys discus throw (188-5).
West Hills sophomore Melissa Mongiovi, another returning state meet qualifier, ranked second in the section in the girls 200 dash (25.05) and 400 dash (57.54)
Also on the girls side, Mt. Miguel junior Talisha Dozier had the top long jump mark of 18-0.25) while Valhalla senior Sarah Vanderhoff ranked second in the high jump (5-3) and Helix senior Jashell Smith had the second-ranked discus mark of 121-8.

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