By now, Savannah Camacho and Abrianna Torres won’t be overwhelmed by the bright lights, the hordes of fans or the droves of attention. They know what to expect at the CIF State Track and Field Championships.
Camacho and Torres are repeat qualifiers for the meet, which will start with prelims at 3 p.m. today at Buchanan High’s Veterans Memorial Stadium in Clovis. Saturday’s finals at the same site will follow at 3:30 p.m.
Competitors who finish in the top nine of their respective events today will advance to Saturday.
Another Camacho-Amy Weissenbach showdown could loom Camacho, a Templeton junior, has the highest seed of six San Luis Obispo County athletes who made it to Clovis — No. 2 in the girls 800-meter run, thanks to a time of 2 minutes, 7.65 seconds that she clocked at last week’s Southern Section Masters Meet at Cerritos College in Norwalk.
This is Camacho’s third trip to the state championships.
“I try to convince myself that it’s just another meet, but when I see all the people, my nerves just escalate,” Camacho said. “Ever since masters, I’ve been kind of mentally preparing.”
Camacho’s time last week ranks as the fifth-best in the nation during this outdoor season, according to DyeStat.com.
The only girl in California with a better one is the No. 1 seed at the CIF meet, a fellow junior, Weissenbach from Harvard-Westlake of North Hollywood.
Camacho and Weissenbach have a great deal of history together already. Weissenbach’s 2:06.18 at Masters edged Camacho, but the primary source of a friendly rivalry between the two came from last year’s state race in Clovis.
A year ago, Weissenbach won the state title in a thrilling finish, getting past Camacho by 0.21 seconds.
“Off the track we’re friends,” Camacho said, “but on the track, we’re just so competitive. We just want to win so badly, we put the friendship aside for the race and just focus on winning. Off the track we can kind of relate to each other.”
As a freshman at the state meet, Camacho ran in the 1,600, finishing ninth in 4:57.41. She also qualified to run in the 1,600 as a sophomore and again this year, but both times elected to put all her training and focus into the 800.
“My freshman year, I was new to everything, basically,” said Camacho, who is drawing recruiting interest from Pac-12 schools. “I was really intimidated, but now it’s like I’m the person everyone is gearing toward beating, along with Amy.”
Torres to compete in three events
Torres, a San Luis Obispo senior, accomplished the rare feat of advancing to the state meet in three events.
She’s seeded fourth in the girls long jump (at 19 feet, 0 3⁄4 inches), 10th in the triple jump (38-9 1⁄4) and 20th in the 100 hurdles (14.76). In 2010, Torres debuted at the state meet with a fourth-place finish in the long jump, at 19-4.
“Last year I was just wondering what it was going to be like,” Torres said. “For the past three weeks I’ve been competing with girls (only) from the Southern Section, and it’s a really good group of girls, but now everyone’s here.
“It feels really nice to go back,” she added. “Now that I’ve made it back again, it’s like last year wasn’t a fluke; I’m supposed to be here.”
Torres is also ranked in the top 10 nationally in her premier event. Her personal-best long jump mark of 19-11 1⁄2 that she posted at the divisional championships two weeks ago is the third-best non-wind aided distance in the country this season, tops in the state.
The top seed, however, is UCLA-bound Bishop Amat of La Puente senior Kylie Price, at 19-7 1⁄2.
“I’ve been looking forward to it all year long,” Torres said, “since the first meet at the beginning of the season, thinking ‘State meet — that’s the goal. That’s what I’m working toward.’ ”
While she isn’t seeded nearly as highly in the 100 hurdles, Torres, who signed with Colorado as a heptathlete, said she stayed in the event in part to prepare for the National Junior Outdoor Championships, which will be held June 23-26 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.
Four other county standouts, all in their state meet debuts, are also hoping to advance to Saturday’s finals:
San Luis Obispo senior Elena Clarke is tied for the girls pole vault’s fourth seed with three others, with a mark of 12-3. Katie Zingheim, a senior from Granite Bay who’s headed to Stanford, is the top seed at 13-1.
Clarke has signed with UCLA and recently helped lead the Tigers to a runner-up team finish at the Division 3 finals. Her personal best, set earlier this season, is 12-8.
Paso Robles senior Tess Rountree is tied with seven others for the No. 7 seed in the girls high jump, at 5-5.
Rountree, also The Tribune’s County Volleyball Player of the Year this past season, established a career best at 5-7 1⁄2 earlier this year. Three girls cleared 5-7 at Masters level last week to share the No. 1 seed today.
Arroyo Grande junior Garrett Weinreich is tied with one peer for the 10th-best entry mark in the boys shot put, at 56-11 1⁄2.
The 6-foot-6, 290-pound Weinreich is also a star lineman for the Eagles in football, and reportedly has football scholarship offers from Arizona, Colorado, Oregon State and Washington State, among others.
His personal best, set two weeks ago, is 59-6 1⁄4.
Nipomo senior Heather Hawes is seeded 14th in the girls discus with a mark of 132-7.
The personal-best performance came despite coming into the Masters meet seeded 12th.