13 compete at league, Block qualifies for Finals

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Jessica Lu, news editor

Track season closed with sophomore pole vaulter Amanda Block qualifying for the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) SS Division 3 Finals, the only competitor of the 13 members who qualified to CIF. Prior to CIF, the boys team finished second at Ocean League finals and the girls took third.

“For the team to be so young and so competitive speaks volumes to their ability to compete and [to] what the coaching staff did this year,” Head Coach Dwayne Washington said.

As for Block’s qualification specifically, Washington said that he was excited, but unsurprised by the outcome.

“We’re proud of her qualifying and we figured she’d qualify. She’s very competitive and we knew she’s at that level,” he said.

“I feel good about it and now I’m focusing on getting a personal record and hopefully [clearing] 12 feet,” she said. Block currently clears 10-6, which tied her for fourth place at CIF.

Senior Will Ezzard, who runs the 1600-meter run, saw great improvement in his performance throughout the season. Ezzard set a personal record at CIF, clocking in at 4:28.

“I had an uncertain start to my season and was running my miles slower than 4:50, way below expectations,” Ezzard said. “But I got a lot better as the season progressed.”

Fellow teammate and senior Aaron Karlin, who competes in the 400-meter dash and 800-meter run, thought Ezzard had a strong showing at league.

“Will had a really good league finals race,” Karlin said. Ezzard set a new personal record “racing against the top Samo guys that we had no chance against during cross-country season.”

Ezzard and Karlin both thought that the team, which is composed mainly of younger runners, had shown great strides.

“[For many of] the younger runners, it was their first year ever running, [and they] set amazing personal records consistently throughout the season and really committed to the time it took to develop themselves from inexperienced runners to league champions,” Ezzard said.

Karlin echoed Ezzard’s thoughts and said this reflected well upon Washington.

“I’m really impressed with how Coach Washington took up the responsibility of such a big, brand new team and how the kids adjusted to the change,” Karlin said. “I’m lucky to have been here at the start of the what’s looking to be a great program.”

Karlin ran with team members Dominic Perlman, Lucas Brito and Max Walder, and took 17th overall at CIF.

Sophomore Sara Neiman, who qualified for CIF in high jump, said that both adjusting to a new coach and an injury made the season tougher, but ultimately, set her up for success.

“I think this season was tough,” she said. “But once I got used to it, it was good. I am coming out to practice every day and training hard.”

At CIF, Neiman, who has a personal record of 4-8 in the high jump, was unable to clear the 4-9 opening height.

Overall, Washington is pleased with the team’s performance during the season.

“I have high expectations and [the performance] matched up to where my expectations were,” he said.

Washington attributed the team’s success to the hard work of the team, which is mostly composed of underclassmen, and of the coaches, most of whom were new to the team.

“To have that response with the new coaches is phenomenal,” he said. “I think they did a great job, and I appreciate the effort they put out this year.”

He said the general goal for next year is to have the boys and girls win league and get through CIF to Masters and State.

“We’re not settling on our success, we want to do better every single year,” he said. “We got some work to do, and we’re going to jump on it.”

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