Alhambra’s Phillip Benavides and Arcadia’s Johanna Boulat and Chloe Yuan all advance to Masters.
By Keith Lair, Staff Writer
WALNUT – It’s onward and upward for Sam Rockwood and Karen Han in the high jump.
Diamond Bar High School’s Rockwood and Arcadia’s Han both qualified for Friday’s CIF-Southern Section Masters Meet by making the top 12 of all competitors at Saturday’s CIF-SS Toyota Divisional Track and Field Championships at Mt. SAC. Both qualified in Division I.
Also advancing will be Alhambra’s Phillip Benavides, Diamond Bar’s Kyle Warren and Joel Baez, Walnut’s Cordell Allmond and Arcadia’s Johanna Boulat and Chloe Yuan.
The top 12 in the field events and distance events and the top nine in the other running events qualified for Friday’s meet at Cerritos College in Norwalk.
Neither Rockwood or Han were on their best marks Saturday. Rockwood, who has consistently cleared 6 feet, 8 inches this season, barely missed on all three of his attempts. He finished at 6-6. Han, who has consistently gone 5-8, barely made it past 5-4 and finished at 5-6.
Rockwood finished fourth among the boys, and Han finished fourth in the girls competition.
“I’m happy to advance and happy to get my goal,” Rockwood, a junior, said. “I feel relieved, but I did about as well as expected.”
Han took three attempts at 5-4. If she had missed on her final attempt, she would have been out.
“At least I’m in,” she said, “so it’s not like I did horrible.”
A hip injury, which has hampered her all season, was acting up Saturday.
“I might practice once a week, and when it is time for a competition, it’s however it goes,” she said. “I’m in. That’s what counts.”
Benavides wasn’t happy with his 3,200-meter effort despite running a personal best, and was positive he wouldn’t advance. He finished fifth in 9 minutes, 22.80 seconds to take the 11th spot.
“I am disappointed,” he said. “I should have gone faster. My pace was good at the start, but then I was a few seconds off.”
For Diamond Bar’s Warren, it has been an educational two weeks.
The senior dropped his 300 intermediate hurdles time by more than 2 seconds in two weeks. Saturday was the culmination of those two weeks, earning a Masters berth. He finished second to San Gorgonio’s Cameron Stepney, rallying from fourth. Stepney went 37.76 to Warren’s 38.20. Two weeks ago, Warren’s fastest time was 40.75.
“This week, my coach and I worked on starting my sprint earlier,” he said. “I used to not sprint until I got challenged. But he had me sprint with 100 meters left.”
In addition, Warren made the move from the Brahmas’ dirt track to Walnut’s synthetic surface, training with the Mustangs’ Allmond. They were in the same race on Saturday and Allmond finished fourth in 38.25 to also grab a Masters berth.
“I’ve gone a lot faster than I thought I could,” he said.
Almond also finished fifth in the 110 high hurdles, in a non-qualifying 14.69.
Boulat of Arcadia continued her assault on the Apaches’ record books.
She set a school record in the triple jump, going 37-10 to finish fifth and earning the 10th spot in the Masters. She was a late addition in the long jump and finished seventh in a school record 18-2 . She is the first alternate in the event.
“That girl has more spunk than anybody,” Arcadia coach Chris Schultz said.
Yuan finished third at 11-0, as the Apaches scored 17 points and finished 13th.
Baez finished third in the discus with a throw of 162-0 to qualify eighth.
Also competing was Walnut’s Richelle Najera, seventh in the shot put at 37-0; Glendora’s Joey Divizia, eighth in the 1,600 with a 4:23.53; and Diamond Bar’s Sylvester Stewart, eighth in the long jump in 21-0 .