By Keith Lair
Player of the year: Walnut’s Alan Tantiwassakran
The question is where would Alan Tantiwassadakran have his true breakout race?The Walnut High School senior had been dabbling with the state’s best 110-meter high hurdlers throughout the season. He had several victories and was fourth in the Arcadia Invitational.
That noticeable breakout time came at the most important time of the season: the CIF State meet.
The San Gabriel Valley Tribune boys track and field athlete of the year ran a personal-best time of 14.05 seconds to win the first preliminary heat race in the 110-meter high hurdles. He did even better in the finals on the next day, improving his time by .02 seconds, to 14.03, to finish a surprising third.
“My training went really well,” he said. “Before I just did not execute where I wanted to execute. But it was OK. I did not care about anything but state.”
Tantiwassadakran advanced as far as the state preliminaries his junior year, finishing 13th. He had a season-best time of 14.28 heading into postseason competition this year. He placed third in the CIF Southern Section finals in 14.08, with a tailwind of 4.2 meters per second and then took fifth in the CIF-SS Masters (14.39) to advance to state.
“No one knows me,” he said. “They just knew I was some guy with a long last name. Getting third was just a blessing. There are no words to put to it, but I feel I truly deserve it. The only people who always believed in me were my mom and my coaches, I always envisioned No. 1 and why would you not envision No. 1. You dream that high and your ambitions literally take you to the top.”
In state, he was facing some of the nation’s best: Koty Burton (second-best in the state) of La Quinta and Joseph Anderson of Upland, who was second in state in 2015, and returning state finalist Jasher Foster of St. Francis. Burton jumped the start in his heat race and was eliminated. Anderson had a near-flawless race in winning the finals in 13.59 and Tantiwassadakran was edged by Deion Lightfoot-Shelton of Kimball for second place in a wind-legal time.
“It felt pretty good, but I should have gotten second in my mind,” he said. “I had just beaten that guy (in my heat race). I am not complaining. That is just my competitive nature.
“This season was all heart. I wanted to win so badly.”
Tantiwassadakran said he is considering competing for UC Irvine or Cal State Fullerton next season.
COACH: MICHAEL WILLIAMS, DAMIEN
It can be tough for Damien High School to hold up its end of the Baseline League. The league has Upland and Rancho Cucamonga, two of better teams in CIF State competition.
The Spartans, thanks to San Gabriel Valley Tribune coach Michael Williams, held their own. They won four league titles and Alex Perez won a CIF Southern Section Division 3 title and advanced to the state finals the 400, finishing fifth in 47.95.
Zach Shinnick won league titles in the 200 and 400 and would have been a favorite to advance to CIF State in both events. But an injury at the Arcadia Invitational slowed him down and it was sufficient enough that he withdrew from the CIF-SS finals. Tim Corvese (800) and Colin Cavanaugh both advanced to the CIF-SS Masters meet.
Dillon Beckum, Bonita, jumior (800)
Salvador Captetillo, Baldwin Park, senior (1,600)
Colin Cavanaugh, Damien, senior (HJ)
Tim Corvese, Damien, senior (800)
B.J. McLaurin Bonita, senior (TJ)
Alex Perez, Damien, senior (400)
Caleb Roberson, Bishop Amat, freshman (300 hurdles, LJ)
Daniel Salazar, Covina (1,600)
Anthony Garcia, Edgewood (SP, DT)
Jerry Zheng, Rowland, senior (TJ)
Adrian Diaz, Bishop Amat, senior 3,200)
Dominic Gonzales, Walnut, senior (800)
Kane Jajieh, Diamond Ranch, senior (TJ)
Kenaan Romney, Nogales, senior (100 hurdles)
Zach Shinnick, Damien, junior (200, 400)
Robbie Santoyo, Bishop Amat, senior (1,600)
Caleb Stanton, Bonita, senior (110, 300 hurdles)
Daniel Stokes, Diamond Ranch, senior (100, 200)
Tyler Vaughns, Bishop Amat, senior (HJ, LJ)
Hakim Williams Covina, senior (110 hurdles)
Top reported marks for 2016
100: Zack Shinnick, Damien, 10.53
200 (wind-legal): Zack Shinnick, Damien, 21.57
200 (wind-aided): Zack Shinnick, Damien, 21.19
400: Alex Perez, Damien, 47.71
800: Dillon Beckum, Bonita, 1:53.47
1,600: Daniel Salazar, Covina, 4:17.19
3,200: Salvador Capetillo, Baldwin Park, 9:01.77
110H: Alan Tantiwassadakran, Walnut, 14.03
300H: Caleb Roberson, Bishop Amat, 38.35
4×100 relay: Damien 41.3H
4×400 relay: Damien, 3:23.14
HJ: Colin Cavanaugh, Damien, 6-6
LJ (wind-legal): Brandon Carlin, Damien, 21-7¾
LJ (wind-aided): Caleb Roberson, Bishop Amat, 22-3¼
PV: Korbin Amber, Rowland, 13-6
SP: Anthony Garcia, Edgewood, 54-9 1/2
TJ: B.J. McLaurin, Bonita, 47-10¼
DT: Anthony Garcia, Edgewood, 172-4