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Track meet a big success
It was a huge undertaking that required lots of work and lots of teamwork, but it all paid off on Saturday, as Barstow High School’s First Annual Track and Field Festival was a big success, for the athletes, coaches, and fans alike.
The sprawling event was a first for most in attendance. It was the brainchild of Barstow track and football coach Mike Esposito, who came up with the idea of doing something special to herald the start of the high school track season.
“I wanted to do something early and free,” was the way the coach put it as the event unfolded around him on Saturday. “Since it was free to any school that wanted to participate, I thought we’d get a nice turnout.”
That turned out to be the case, as the boys and girls track teams from 10 schools showed up to take part: The Academy for Academic Excellence (Apple Valley), Big Bear High School, Boron High School, California City High School, Excelsior Academy (San Diego), Granite Hills High School, Hesperia Christian School, Notre Dame-Riverside, Silver Valley High School, and Victor Valley Christian School.
All those schools have Barstow to thank for the effort it took to make the day run so smoothly. Though it was coach Esposito’s idea, pulling it off took a lot of work from a lot of people who all volunteered their time.
“Everyone pitched in, the athletic director, the principal, the superintendant. They’re all from here, they competed here, and they all helped out,” said Esposito. “The football staff is here, the track staff, and the cross country staff. Yesterday, 250 students helped set everything up; we put down 700 tons of clay gravel on the track. The way everyone pitched in has been amazing.”
The weather also did its part, as the day was sunny and breezy, absent the strong winds that blew through town for most of the week.
It was a complete track and field event, featuring not only races of various distances, but the long and high jump, pole vault, discus and shot put. The scale of the undertaking and how smoothly it went impressed the coaches and athletes alike.
“I’m having a great time. Barstow put on a wonderful event, and I can’t complain about the price,” joked Hesperia Christian coach Audrey Longshore. “It’s so nice of them to do this. I’m in awe of what they did, and for free. It’s a great day for the kids and we’ve had some good success.”
Barstow’s Maxine Cooks had some of that success, getting a ribbon for second place in the 100m dash. The sophomore also competed in the long and high jumps.
“It’s a lot of fun, and everyone is doing well. I don’t think there’s a school that hasn’t gotten a ribbon,” said Cooks. “And there’s been a lot of those for Barstow, I might add.”
“It’s pretty cool, you get to see some different competition,” added Barstow’s Kameron Proctor. “It’s fun, with all the different schools coming together and meeting new people.”
Both sophomores said they’d definitely take part again if the Festival does indeed become an annual event.
Such big events sometimes have a habit of getting backed up and running late, but everything went according to schedule on Saturday, which added to the success.
There were several first-place finishes for Barstow, including the girls 400m relay team of Cooks, Proctor, Bianca Goodson and Presley Hood. Hood was also first in the girls 200m, with a time of 30.72. In that event, Kayla Brooks of Silver Valley was second at 31.00.
In the boys 1600m relay, the Barstow team of Odom, Smith, Pittman and Thompson was first at 3.52. The Aztecs’ Bobby Alvarez took first in boys shot put at 46.01. In the boys 800m, finishing first was Barstow’s Karlan Smith at 2.0700.
The Aztecs won the pole vault, with Rolando Anderson tops among boys at 8.6, followed by Sultan Handam at 8.0. Brianna Thompson was first among girls at 6.6.
Bianca Goodson was first in girls 300 LH at 0.5124. Barstow’s Autumn Hazlett won the girls triple jump at 29.085.
Other fine performances were given by the Aztecs’ Vasa Alefaio, who was second in girls shot put at 30.06. in girls discus, Ashley Lawrence of Silver Valley was second at 85.10, while Barstow’s Vanessa Robinson was third at 85.03.
In the girls 100m, the Aztecs’ Maxine Cooks was second at 12.06, while in the boys event, Barstow’s Chris Johnson was third at 11.68.
In the boys 200m, Silver Valley’s Trayvon Fayson was third at 25.81, followed by Anthony Aguilera at 26.04. Barstow’s Kyle Pittman was second in 400m at 0.5711, with Silver Valley’s Richard Lobel third at 0.5797. In the 1600m, Karlan Smith was second at 4.45.
In the girls 400m, Goodson was third at 1.083, with Silver Valley’s Melissa Weber fourth at 1.0927. In the 3200m, Silver Valley’s Taylor Thompson was 14.31, with Barstow’s Maria Miranda third at 16.05, and Clorinda Ochoa fourth at 16.27.
Barstow’s Joey Lane was second in the boys 110 HH at 18.50, with teammate Neil Navarro fourth at 19.33.