The San Luis Obispo High boys track and field team had the talent to repeat as champions at Thursday’s PAC 7 title meet at Atascadero.
A little bit of luck helped seal the deal.
Nate Greenelsh and Raymond Smith swept their individual events, and the 4x100 relay team got a fortuitous bounce to help the Tigers edge Arroyo Grande 133-97.5 for their second straight boys championship.
The Eagles also won the girls title for the second year in a row, topping San Luis Obispo 175-126.
“It’s nice when you have kids that good and you’re able to spread them around,” Arroyo Grande coach James Brown said. “It feels really good to have somebody everywhere. It’s like a chess game, you’ve got to have all the pieces.”
The Tigers quest for a repeat nearly got off to a treacherous start in the boys 4x100 relay. After leadoff runner Andrew Toh put San Luis Obispo in front of the pack, the handoff between Greenelsh and third-leg runner Cole Bradley was botched, with the baton hitting off Bradley’s left thigh and falling to the track.
But in a moment of either sheer luck or divine intervention, the baton bounced right back into Bradley’s hand, and the senior was able to continue the race.
“It was sick. I didn’t even think that was possible,” Greenelsh said. “(Bradley) thought we were done, but he still just ran it out anyways.”
Smith, the anchor, held off Paso Robles to win the relay in 44.21 seconds.
Smith went on to win the 400 in 50.94 and the 300 hurdles in 41.21. Greenelsh took care of the 100 and 200, winning in 10.94 and 22.07, respectively.
“I was trying to get 21-something but that is a personal best,” Greenelsh said. “I think if I can just get my start better, I’ll get in the 21s.”
Youth led the way on the track for the Eagles girls, as sophomore Angela Gemignani won the 800 and freshman Talley Hill took the 1,600 in a commanding 5:05.24.
Unbeknownst to Gemignani after finishing, her winning time of 2:14.62 broke the league record by more than two seconds.
“Oh, I did?” she said between deep breaths. “I just felt good today, I don’t really know why. Last week was really hot, but today’s weather was great.”
Angelica Gagliano won the girls discus with a throw of 121 feet, 5 inches for the Eagles, and teammate Jamie Walsh took first in the girls high jump by clearing 5-0. Josephine Graeber’s jump of 17-41⁄2 in the girls long jump gave Arroyo Grande another first-place finish.
Paso Robles owned the 3,200, with senior Ethan Serpa blowing through the final lap to win the boys race in a meet-record 9:30. Teammate Zach Chamberlain took second.
Sophomore Ashley Davis won the girls race in 11:37.
Another varsity record fell in the boys 1,600, where San Luis Obispo’s William Ernst lead from start to finish to cross the line at 4:18.71, almost two seconds faster than Brian Medigovich’s 2005 mark of 4:20.07.
“During the race, I wasn’t really thinking of (the record). I just wanted to break (4):20,” Ernst, a junior, said. “My PR is 4:17, so trying to match or beat that was my ultimate goal.”
Ernst said the team took a lot of pride in defending last year’s championship.
“This year, we’ve had the most amount of enthusiasm toward our team as a whole,” he said. “We may have less than other schools, but we have quality where we don’t have quantity.”
The Paso Robles boys finished third with 96 points, followed by Atascadero (79.5) in fourth.
The Bearcats also took third in the girls race with 121.5 points. The Greyhounds came in fourth with 64.5.
Paso Robles’ Samantha Anderson dominated the girls sprints in her final league championship. The senior won the 100 in 12.30 before winning the 200 by a sizable margin in 25.34.
The Tigers team of Lexi Johnson, Cassidy Block, Emma Hollister and Kelly McGuire won the girls 4x100 relay in 48.96. Teammate Kelsey Shetler held off Atascadero’s Angelica Cusworth to win the girls 400 in 59.4. Cusworth came back to win the 300 hurdles in 45.45, and teammate Sarah Stafford won the girls shot put with a throw of 39-8.
Shetler, Block, McGuire and Shaina Morris ended the meet by winning the 4x400 relay in 4:04.49. The Tigers’ Elizabeth Willey cleared 10 feet to win the girls pole vault.
San Luis Obispo senior Grace Torres won the girls triple jump in 37-6 1⁄2. Torres, who broke the county meet record earlier in the year at 37-9, is hoping to catch her sister’s school record of 39-6.
“The goal is pretty much to make it to Masters and beat my sister’s record at the school,” Torres said. “I need to keep practicing with my dad and just go for it.”
Paso Robles junior Marcos Condit won the boys triple jump with a distance of 43-61⁄2, teammate Jonah Cole took the discus at 153-1, and Arroyo Grande sophomore Isaiah Hughes launched himself 20-9 to win the boys long jump. The Eagles’ John Nichols won the 800 in 1:57.25, and Nick DeRose powered his way to a win in the 110 hurdles in 15.99 for the Greyhounds.
In his first year throwing, Atascadero’s Ethan Hicks won the shot put with a throw of 48-5. “I played baseball my first two years and I didn’t really enjoy it, so I just figured I’d try out and have some fun,” said Hicks, who entered the final round of throws in third place. “I enjoyed it right away, so I just figured I’d keep with it.”
Four Greyhounds placed in the top five in the shot put, and Hicks said that daily competition greatly influenced his new personal best.
“Most of the meets, we’re always competing for first and second,” he said. “Guys are throwing 46 or 47, so I know I have to push myself to get better. I don’t want to be left in the dust by them.”