On a day when some of the PAC 7 track and field athletes took advantage of a tailwind, Arroyo Grande High’s Jade Fuller created a breeze of her own by whizzing past the competition to set a league record in the 800-meter run.
Fuller, who finished in 2 minutes, 16.71 seconds, and teammates Elizabeth Heyde, at 2:18.08, and Angela Gemignani, a t2:18.17, finished first, second and third to help Arroyo Grande (214 points) pull out a dominant victory in the girls team race as San Luis Obispo (163) finished second and Atascadero (69) finished third.
But as the San Luis Obispo girls had a six-year title streak snapped, the Tigers boys team won its first PAC 7 title since 2004, according to coach David Gomes.
The Tigers placed first with 146 points, while Paso Robles and Arroyo Grande finished second and third, respectively, with 94 and 84 points.
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San Luis Obispo’s Connor Hall won the 300 hurdles in 39.20, and followed up with a narrow victory on the pole vault about 8 p.m., one of the day’s final events, finishing at 15 feet, 6 inches. Joey Reeves also cleared 15-6, but Hall won on misses.
Hall has cleared 16-2 this year, making him among the best in the state, and he’ll compete in track at Duke next year.
“Last year, it was hot and I had a tailwind,” Hall said. “Tonight, it was cold, one of the last events of the day, and no wind (in the evening). Surprisingly, I felt pretty good, though. It has been a great season.”
Besides Fuller, some of the stars in the girls events included San Luis Obispo’s Ariel Becker, who reached 18-3 in long jump for first, clearing 18 feet twice in the competition for the first time this season; Arroyo Grande’s Madison Jacobs dominated the shot put with a 45-8 throw, more than 10 feet farther than teammate Angelica Gagliano, who was second at 35-6.
“It’s a really nice day out here,” Jacobs said. “It can be a little hot. Today, the breeze makes it perfect. I’m very happy with my shot put throw, because it’s a new personal record for me.
My previous best was 44-10.”
Jacobs also repeated in the discus at 148-10. She was the state runner-up in that event last year.
Paso Robles’ Samantha Anderson won the 100-meter dash at 12.28 and the 200-meter dash at 25.54, continuing her dominant season as the league’s best sprinter. The 100-meter time was a personal best and a school record.
“I’ve been working on my starts quite a bit because that’s my biggest challenge,” Anderson said. “I thought I got off OK, but I had a strong finish in the 100 and I’m happy to get the PR and be going to CIF on a high note.”
Another North County sprinter who appeared to be shot out of a cannon was Atascadero sophomore Angelica Cusworth, who won the 300 hurdles with a 45.45 time and the 400-meter dash at 57.98.
In the girls 1,600 relay, Cusworth closed a huge margin and nearly beat the San Luis Obispo team as one of her coaches timed her at 56 seconds, which would have smashed a personal record in the individual races.
“That 400 (individual race) was one of the first times I’ve been pushed all year,” Cusworth said. “I really had to run hard in that one. That’s great because the competition will help me for CIF (prelims will take place May 11).”
In the boys events, San Luis Obispo sophomore Nate Greenelsh was the last leg of a 400 relay team that ran a school-record 43.32 to beat second place Righetti. His teammates were Cole Bradley, Andrew Toh and Raymond Smith.
“I have shin splints, but the win feels nice,” Greenelsh said. “I really tried to kick at the end and just give it all I had.”
Arroyo Grande’s Elijah Holt ran his second-best time in winning the 110-meter hurdles at 14.22, blowing away the second-place runner, Adrian Vera of Pioneer Valley, who ran 15.08. With an aerodynamic mohawk haircut, Holt was all smiles after the race.
“I got all my nerves out on the false start,” Holt said. “My goal recently has been to get faster between the hurdles, so really I’ve just been practicing sprint speed.”
Heading off to UC San Diego next year to compete in track and field, Paso Robles’ Ben Nagengast celebrated his final PAC 7 championship by winning the discus with a 156-10 toss, two feet better than his runner-up opponent.
“I’ve gained 25 pounds since January,” Nagengast said. “I’m not at 230. I eat everything. I’ve just been trying to focus on speed and power and not worry about the graceful thing when I throw.”