Southridge sweeps past Sunset in their league-opening track meet
by: JONATHAN HOUSE, SKYHAWK STARS — Southridge sprinters Tom Farinacci (above left) and David Smith led their team to an 87-58 victory over Sunset last week.

CEDAR MILL - For some, it was a chance to burst onto the Metro track scene. For others, an opportunity to re-establish their place among the league's best.

Ultimately, last Wednesday's Metro opening track meet between Sunset and Southridge was the Skyhawks' first occasion to showcase their speed, strength and depth on both sides. Southridge won the boys meet 87-58 and the girls 84-61 against a quality Apollo squad at Sunset High School.

Boys meet

The Skyhawk boys used wins in both relay and hurdles races and a sweep of the first-place points in the throws to pace an attack that won 11 of 17 events.

Southridge senior David Oppat took first in the shot put with a heave of 45-8 and the discus with a throw of 152-9 - the No. 2 Class 6A mark this season, according to

Senior teammate Michael Thompson produced the state's top 2007 mark in the javelin with a huge toss of 200-8 to win by more than 50 feet.

Senior Marcus Mathews led a 1-2-3 finish for the Skyhawks in the 110 high hurdles, winning in 15.41 followed by freshman Luke Leddige and senior Andrew Anderson. Mathews (41.49) and Leddige also went 1-2 in the 300 intermediate hurdles.

Southridge sophomore Kurtis Semph won the 800 in 2:08.50, while senior teammate Jordan Brock came from behind to take the 1500 in 4:25.08. A pair of Sunset runners led a tight group through the first three laps before Brock, who normally runs the 3000, and junior Jace Green burst in front with 300 meters left to earn the 1-2 Skyhawk finish.

'If they're that close together it's not hard to pick it up at the end,' Brock said . 'I had no idea what I was doing since I hadn't done the race since I was a sophomore. But I knew (my kick) would come from somewhere.'

Southridge also picked up first-place points from Sha Harvey (high jump at 6-4) and senior Tony Dalton (pole vault at 12-0).

Junior Ryan Meyer and Garrett Sim each earned two of Sunset's six victories. Sim went 43-8 in the triple jump and 21-2½ in the long jump for his wins.

Meyer led the Apollos first-place sprint sweep by winning the 200 in 23.03 and the 400 in 52.22. Senior teammate Ishmael Tholley burst ahead of a strong contingency of Skyhawk sprinters to win the 100 in a personal-best 11.23.

'I worked hard in practice for that,' said Tholley, who credited a new approach including a healthier diet for his emergence. 'I want to go to state and I want to win. That's all I want and I think it's possible.'

Sophomore Arslan Quraishi also won on the track for the Apollos, crossing first in the 3000 with a time of 9:47.24.

Girls meet

Southridge's girls team one-upped the boys with 12 victories, taking the top spot in each of the three sprints and throws to highlight an effort that included a 1-2-3 Skyhawk finish in the 100 meters, 100 high hurdles, discus and javelin.

Southridge got an early boost on the track when senior Falissa Smith (12.83 seconds) and sophomores Kelsay Hones (12.99) and Trinna Miranda (13.33) swept the top three places in the 100. The Skyhawks duplicated the feat later with junior Alyssa Rife (17.30) and seniors Casey Finney (17.62) and Courtney Tuma (18.07) doing likewise in the high hurdles.

Southridge's Megan Schaefer did her fair share of damage in the field, winning the shot put (38 feet, 1 inch) and discus (112-10) by sizable margins. The senior, who was a standout pitcher for the Skyhawks the past three seasons and accepted a scholarship to play for Sacramento State next year, took a tip from her mother and elected to give track a shot this spring.

'I wanted to try something different and had nothing to lose,' Schaefer said. 'Everyone finds it crazy. It's fun definitely, though I do miss the atmosphere of softball.'

But she's been thriving in a different throwing circle, having already set the school record in the shot at her first meet. Next up is Southridge's top mark in the discus of 119-plus feet.

'I was pretty surprised at first. Now I'm disappointed when I don't get my mark,' Schaefer said. 'I have the strength. I just need the form.'

Schaefer's sister Kayde, a junior, also made a successful switch from softball, winning the javelin (105-0) in Wednesday's meet.

Other winners for the Skyhawk girls included Hones (200 in 26.60), sophomore Chloe Steinbeck (400 in 1:00.33), senior Breanne Whitlock (3000 in 11:48.00), Rife (300 low hurdles in 47.42) and Miranda (35-9 ½ in the triple jump). Hones and Rife also ran legs on Southridge's victorious 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams.

Sunset piled up a good portion of its points in the jumps, including a 1-2-3 finish in pole vault and the high jump. Senior Mallory Ramsey cleared a personal-best 10-6 on her first attempt in the pole vault, establishing one of the state's top heights in 2007 and closing in on the school record of 11-3.

'I felt good today,' said Ramsey, who has been vaulting for 15 months and attributed a gymnastics background to her quick success. 'I think I can do better. I'd really like to jump higher than 11-3.'

Freshman Iris Craig led a Sunset sweep of the top three places in the high jump, clearing 5-0 as did junior teammate Erin O'Brien. Sophomore Laura took third at 4-10 and also won the long jump at 16-5½. Senior Rosalyn Huard (800 in 2:22.09) and sophomore Audrey Botti (1500 in 5:01.19) earned the Apollos' victories on the track.

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