For track and field athletes, conditions along the Central Coast on Saturday weren’t too conducive to record-setting types of performances.
Adverse elements didn’t stop several locals, though, from leaving Cuesta College satisfied with their performances at one of the area’s premier annual events, the 37th Elks San Luis Obispo County Meet.
“This is always my favorite meet, so it’s kind of a bummer that it’s raining,” San Luis Obispo High star Abrianna Torres said. “I woke up praying it wouldn’t be raining, but unfortunately it was.”
It drizzled on and off from the morning into the afternoon, with gusts of wind occasionally becoming a factor, as well. A customary meet-wide lunch break with a half-hour stoppage in the action was even cancelled in an attempt to beat heavier rain that was expected to arrive by the early evening. Toward the end, intermittent splotches of mud dotted lanes.
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Still, one of those who had a standout day in spite of the circumstances was Torres, the Tigers’ super-versatile senior. Torres, who recently signed with Colorado, won four events and was named the girls Track Athlete of the Meet. She took the 100-meter hurdles in 15.64 seconds, the 100-meter dash in 12.68, the 300 hurdles in 50.18, and the long jump with a mark of 17 feet, 10 1⁄2 inches.
A year ago on a sunny and dry day, Torres set the meet’s all-time record in the latter event, at 18-7 1⁄2. After finishing Saturday, she said she had accumulated a total of 16 medals during her career at the meet.
“I’m happy with what I did in these conditions,” Torres said.
As for the added challenge the weather posed, “You take your sweats and stuff off, and it just hits you and kind of freezes you up even more,” she explained. “That’s kind of frustrating, but it’s doable.” Then, with a reference to Boulder, Colo. in her near future, Torres added with a smile, “and I have to kind of get used to it.”
Arroyo Grande swept the team titles, winning with 182 points on the girls side and 176 for the boys.San Luis Obispo was second in the girls team standings, with 114 points, followed by Nipomo (71.5), Paso Robles (63.5), Morro Bay (28), Mission Prep (14), Atascadero (12) and Templeton (4).
On the boys side, Paso Robles was the team runner-up, with 104 points, followed by Nipomo (58), Atascadero (40), San Luis Obispo and Templeton (38 each), Morro Bay (37) and Mission Prep (1).
In addition to Torres, the Tigers’ girls squad had another competitor win two events, as Mikaylah Williams claimed the 400 in 1:00.46 and the 200 in 27.23 seconds.
Also among familiar names atop the girls individual results were Mission Prep’s Annie Mooney, Paso Robles’ Tess Rountree, San Luis Obispo’s Elena Clarke and Nipomo’s Heather Hawes.
Mooney, who has finished in the top three at the state cross country championships in each of the past four years, won the 1,600 in 5:04.26.
Rountree, the reigning county volleyball player of the year and owner of the Bearcats’ school record in the girls high jump, won that event at 5 feet even, and also placed third in the shot put at 33-4 1/2.
Clarke, a recent UCLA signee, won the pole vault at 12-2, nearly 3 feet ahead of anyone else, to earn girls field-athlete-of-the-meet honors.
Hawes, who recently picked up a scholarship offer from UC Santa Barbara, won the discus throw at 122-10 and was second in the shot put at 36-5 3⁄4.
On the boys side, Paso Robles’ Zander Souza had one of the elite days, winning the 1,600 in a personal-record 4:27.34 — “awesome, considering the conditions,” he said — and the 800 in 2:03.33.
“I wasn’t necessarily thinking about running fast as much as I was running smart,” Souza said with regard to the rain. In terms of confidence for the rest of the season, he said Saturday’s times took on added meaning given the climate.
“It makes you think during the next race you have under good conditions, ‘Well, I did (4:27) in that; I can probably run (4:24) in good conditions.’”
Just as Torres did, Souza ranked the meet as one of his most-awaited of the season because of the massive volume of peers competing all at once at the single venue.
“PRs just fly out,” Souza said. “It’s awesome to see all these schools come together.”
The Bearcats had another multiple-winner on the boys side in Imer Hernandez, who took the 110 hurdles in 16.02 seconds and 300 hurdles in 42.68.
For the Eagles’ championship-winning boys, Uriel Mendoza won the 400 in 51.39 seconds and the 200 in 23.61. Souza and Mendoza shared co-boys Track Athlete of the Meet distinction.
Elsewhere on the boys side, Nipomo’s Tevin Limon, a year after setting the meet’s all-time JV record in the pole vault at 12-7, cleared 12-6 to win at the varsity level.
As expected, the boys’ throwing events were owned by two of the area’s strongest football players. Paso Robles’ Bo Bonnheim, the PAC 7 Defensive Lineman of the Year this past season, won the discus at 148-3 and was the runner-up in the shot put at 49-2. Arroyo Grande’s Garrett Weinreich, a Cal-Hi Sports all-state junior offensive lineman, flip-flopped Bonnheim’s results, winning the shot put at 52-6 and finishing No. 2 in the discus at 143-3.