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HIGH SCHOOL TRACK AND FIELD

Babcock, others go the distance

June 01, 2008|Dan Arritt | Times Staff Writer

They went the distance Saturday at the CIF state track and field championships at Cerritos College, and then some.

In what likely will be remembered for years to come, four runners combined for the greatest distance performances in the history of the meet.

Christine Babcock of Irvine Woodbridge wrote the first chapter, lowering her National Federation of High School Assns. record in the girls' 1,600 meters. One race later, German Fernandez of Riverbank broke the state meet record in the boys' 1,600 and also recorded the third-fastest time in NFHS history in the event.

Those were warmup runs compared to what would happen later in the 3,200.

Jordan Hasay of San Luis Obispo Mission Prep and Laurynne Chetelat of Davis locked up in a thrilling eight-lap race, with Hasay holding on to win by less than half a second. Both finished better than the previous girls' state meet record.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday, June 05, 2008 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 42 words Type of Material: Correction
High school track and field: An article in Sunday's Sports section on the CIF state track and field championships mentioned 2004 Olympian Alan Webb and said he is from South Lakes, Va. He is from South Lakes High School in Reston, Va.

Fernandez completed the night with a dazzling performance in the boys' 3,200, racing away from the field to win in 8 minutes 34.23 seconds, smashing the NFHS record by nearly eight seconds.

Babcock, a senior who signed with Washington, broke her NFHS record of 4:35.57 established eight days earlier at the Southern Section-Toyota Masters meet by finishing in 4:33.82. On Saturday, she sped through the first lap in 65.07, hit the halfway point in 2:16.05, and came through 1,200 meters in 3:27.05.

"I thought I started out the first lap too fast. I thought I was in trouble at that point," said Babcock, who won her third consecutive state title in the event. "I felt tired on the last lap, but I knew I had to push through."

In the boys' 1,600, Oklahoma State-bound Fernandez was on pace to match the NFHS record of 3:59.51, set seven years ago by 2004 Olympian Alan Webb of South Lakes, Va. He crossed the halfway point in 2:00.44, then ran even faster during the second half, crossing the finish line in 4:00.29.

"After watching Babcock run, I figured it was my turn," he said.

Later in the girls' 3,200, Chetelat drafted Hasay the entire race, forcing the junior to run the final four laps in 4:48, which would have been fast enough to finish second in the 1,600.

Hasay, who won state titles in the 3,200 as a freshman and sophomore, finished in 9:52.13, bettering the previous state record of 9:52.80 set in 1996 by Kim Mortensen of Thousand Oaks. Chetelat, a senior who didn't take up running until her junior year, finished in 9:52.51.

Not to be outdone, Fernandez's performance in the boys' 3,200 looked effortless as he won by 24 seconds.

The Long Beach Poly girls' team won its third consecutive team title behind a one-two finish in the 400 by freshman Akawkaw Ndipagbor (53.35) and junior Jasmine Joseph (53.54), a victory by sophomore Tara Richmond in the high jump (5-11) and a first-place finish in the meet-ending 1,600 relay (3:40.87).

The Jackrabbits scored 39 points, followed by San Jose Mt. Pleasant with 30. Vashti Thomas earned all of Mt. Pleasant's points, winning the long jump, triple jump and 100 hurdles to become only the fourth girl to win three titles in the same state meet.

Compton Dominguez won its first boys' state title with 36 points -- the clinching points coming with a victory in the 1,600 relay, during which the Dons lowered their nation-leading time to 3:09.59.

--

dan.arritt@latimes.com

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