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Hoover's Siraki Has Great Time in 1,600 Meters

Track and field: Junior distance runner finally breaks 4:50, also wins 3,200 easily in 10:38.21.


NORWALK — Anita Siraki of Hoover High says she doesn't like to run for time.

Running by "feel" is a much more relaxed way of racing.

Yet the junior entered the girls' 1,600 meters in the Southern Section Masters Meet at Cerritos College on Friday night with a single goal. She wanted to break 4:50.

Siraki and Hoover Coach Greg Switzer planned all season to run only the 3,200 in the Masters Meet. But after Siraki ran a school-record 4:50.24 to win the Division I title in the Southern Section divisional championships at Cerritos last Saturday, she decided to take one last shot at the 4:50 barrier before running the 3,200 in the state championships.

It was a wise decision as Siraki ran a career-best 4:49.71 to win that event before taking the 3,200 in 10:38.21 two hours later.

"I just had to do it," Siraki said of finally breaking 4:50. "That's what I needed to do and that's what I had to do."

Said Switzer: "We're getting out of the 1,600 just in time."

Siraki's effort, which solidified her hold on seventh on the all-time region list, was particularly impressive because she ran her last 800 meters in 2:22.0 after leading the field through the first two laps in 2:27.7.

Siraki won the 3,200 with her fifth-fastest time of the season after taking over the lead with six laps remaining and breaking the race open with four laps remaining.

Jerrick Holmes and Jamil Smith of Palmdale and Oliver Jackson of Royal also won events in the meet in which the top five finishers in each event qualified for the state championships at Cerritos on June 2-3.

Jackson, a senior who placed second in the boys' long jump in the state championships last year, won that event in 24-0 3/4. But he had hoped to top his state-leading 24-5 3/4 set in the Ventura County championships on April 28.

Holmes, the state leader in the boys' high jump at 7 feet, won that event at 6-10 and ran a leg on Palmdale's 400 relay team that finished fifth in a school-record 41.95.

The senior cleared 6-10 on his first attempt, passed at 7-0 and narrowly missed his first two attempts at 7-2.

Smith, a junior, bounded a career-best 47-11 3/4 to win the boys' triple jump and ran on the 400 relay team.

Senior Josh Spiker of Ventura, defending state champion in the boys' 3,200, junior Sierra Hauser-Price of Notre Dame and junior Porchea Carroll of Rio Mesa were multiple qualifiers in a meet that had two unusual twists. First, Riverside North's nation-leading girls' 400 relay team finished eighth after dropping the baton on the first exchange. Second, some of the hurdles in the girls' 100 highs were three inches too high.

Spiker placed second in the 1,600 in a school-record 4:10.32 and second in the 3,200 in a season-best 9:13.35, but said he would run only the 3,200 in the state meet.

Hauser-Price qualified for the state championships for the third consecutive year in the 100 and 200 by running season bests of 11.86 and 24.16 to finish second in those events. She ran the first leg on the Knights' 400 relay team that placed fourth in a season-best 48.03.

Carroll, the state leader in the 100 at 11.60, placed fourth in that event in 11.98, was fifth in the 200 in 24.57 and third in the long jump in 18-7 1/2. She ran the first leg on the Spartans' 400 relay team that finished third in 47.73.

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