Guy finishes 3rd in hurdles race, relays falter; Warren, Duffy both win medals
Heading into the CIF State Championship Track & Field Meet on Saturday, St. Mary’s head coach Jay Lawson said everything would have to go perfectly for the his boys to take home a state team championship. With entries in just four final events, the Panthers didn’t have much room for error.
Well, things didn’t go perfectly, and Lawson’s squad ended up in a tie with Cleveland for third place with 18 points despite some heroic performances in the day’s final race. The Panthers finished fourth in both relays, and the school’s two triple jumpers both had foul trouble and finished lower than expected. Arroyo Grande took first placewith 28 points, and Granite Hills second with 25.
The bright spot on the day for the boys was Halihl Guy’s third-place finish in the 300-meter low hurdles, coming in at a school-recond and personal-best 36.26 seconds. Both of the runners who beat Guy, Granite Hills’ Jeff Hunter and J.W. North’s Jeff Garrison, ran times that were in the top five performances in the nation this season.
“I wanted to get first, but I was going up against some elite athletes,” said Guy, who will likely sign with Washington State this week. “I just ran my best. There was nothing else I could do.”
Lawson said he needed to get points from both of his triple jumpers, Asokah Muhammed and Solomon Welch, if the Panthers were to have a chance for the team title. But both jumpers had foul trouble, with Muhammed getting off just three legal jumps and just one from Welch. Muhammed ended up fourth with his best effort of 47-09.25, and Welch finished last among the nine finalists with a jump of 45-08.50, which effectively ended any title hopes.
The St. Mary’s relay team was also a bit of a disappointment, finishing fourth in both the 4x100 and 4x400, but the trouble in those races was an injury to one of the team’s stars. Chris Dunbar pulled his hamstring four weeks ago, and clearly wasn’t 100 percent on Saturday. He gamely went out and ran in both relay races, but his sprints were clearly slow, especially in the 4x400. Running the opening leg, he fell behind the other teams and handed off after 51 seconds, nearly three full seconds slower than his usual 400-meter time. Although Guy, Courtney Brown and Muhammed all ran very fast times, they weren’t able to make up more than three places, finishing in 3:18.27 with Muhammed just beating Santa Margarita to the finish line.
“We would have won if I was healthy, there’s no doubt in my mind,” Dunbar said after the final race. “My teammates all showed up and I didn’t, that’s all there is to it.”
But that’s not how his teammates saw it. They each praised Dunbar for even attempting to race on Saturday when it was obvious that he was hurting.
“Chris poured all his heart into the relays today,” Guy said. “It made me want to run even faster, seeing him giving us everything he had today.”
Despite duplicating last season’s third-place finish at the state meet, the Panthers clearly considered Saturday a disappointment. But Lawson pointed out that a Division IV school finishing third in the state is still very impressive.
“Today was like a roller-coaster ride. We came in with such high expectations, we have to remember that we did very well, and represented our school very well,” he said. “A little school just finished third up here with the big boys.”
Two St. Mary’s girls also finished the season with medal-winning performances. Kamaiya Warren finished third in the shot put with a throw of 44-03.50, and Bridget Duffy came in fourth in the 1,600-meter in 4:56.98. The future looks bright for both juniors, as Duffy was beaten by three seniors and Warren one.
“It’s nice to know that I can come back next year and not have those girls out there,” Duffy said of her older competition. “I was looking to medal, and I did, but it’s hard knowing those girls are a bunch faster.”
Warren said she plans to train harder than ever this summer to have a strong senior year.
“This is going to be a serious summer for me. I’m going to work really hard,” she said. “I want to come out and win both the shot put and discus next year.”