NORWALK — Thousand Oaks’ Luigi Colella finally cleared a barrier reserved for only the elite high school pole vaulters.
Ventura’s Jake David then reminded Colella he still has some company in that rarefied air.
Colella produced the best vault in the history of the Southern Section track and field finals by clearing 17 feet, 3/4 inches on his first attempt to win the Division II title Saturday at Cerritos College.
David then followed by winning the Division I championship with a clearance of 17-1 — ahead of Burroughs’ Matt Schwartz (15-3) — setting the stage for two thrilling battles at the Masters meet and state championship.
“It’s about time (I cleared it). It was magical,” Colella said. “When I cleared 16-10, the pole gave me a good pop, so I just wanted to keep going from there. It’s an accomplishment. It’s a great feeling, but there’s still more work to do. I’m satisfied with my performance, but now it’s time to go higher.”
Colella had three opportunities to clear 17-2, producing two near misses.
Agoura freshman Tara Davis enjoyed a big day in qualifying for the Masters meet in the triple jump (39-9 1/2) and long jump (19-3) after taking second in both events in Division II.
Simi Valley’s Madisen Richards also secured a spot in the Masters girls long jump after taking third in Division II behind Redlands’ Margaux Jones (20-3) and Davis.
Eastside’s Whitney Knox became the first champion in program history by winning the girls 100 in Division II in 12.03. She also took third in the 200 in 24.92. Howard Shelley placed second for the Lions in the 300 hurdles in 38.20, with Westlake’s Sean O’Bryan fourth (38.87).
Simi Valley’s Alex Billing captured the Division II title in the 110 hurdles in 14.18.
West Ranch’s Nathan Bultman won the Division I shot put with a mark of 60-1 1/4 and was seventh in the discus (160-6).
Camarillo’s Ahmed Obed won the 100 in Division I in 10.73 and took second in the 200 in 21.07. Zaria Francis was third in the girls 100 (11.87) and fourth in the 200 (24.30) for the Scorpions. Justin Warren also qualified for Masters for Camarillo with a fourth-place effort in the long jump (22-8 1/2).
Agoura’s Idrees Bernard tied for the Division II triple jump crown with a leap of 48-4 3/4 and was fourth in the long jump (23-1/2).
Newbury Park’s Kendall Mader won the Division I girls discus title with a throw of 145-7. She finished second in the shot put (45-1/2).
Highland’s Jamire Jordan enjoyed a big day, winning the Division I long jump (24-2 3/4) and contributing to the Bulldogs’ victory in the 4 x 100 (41.58), as well as finishing sixth in the 110 hurdles (14.20).
Saugus’ Brian Zabilski took second in the boys 3,200 in Division II in 9:11.18, with Westlake’s Mikey Giguere placing fourth (9:17.68). Crescenta Valley’s Gabe Collison was sixth in Division I (9:15.34).
Canyon’s Natalie Rodriguez qualified for Masters by finishing third in Division II in 10:45.95, with Crescenta Valley’s Megan Melnyk taking third in the Division I girls 800 (2:13.71). Canyon’s Brett Molster was second in the Division II boys high jump (6-7) and Jeremy Kimmer placing fourth in the pole vault (14-3).
Quartz Hill’s Shamaya Flanagan was third in the Division I 400 in 55.37.
Although Burbank’s Candela Fernandez was seventh in the 1,600 in Division I, she still qualified for the Masters meet with a program-record 4:57.59. Fernandez ran 10:49.60 in the 3,200, but just missed the Masters cutoff.
Westlake’s Ryan Finch took second in the 400 (47.92) in Division II, with Eastside’s Josh Cummings fourth in 48.58, in addition to his fourth-place effort in the 200 (21.80). Finch also helped Westlake take second in the 4 x 400 (3:19.0).
Valencia’s Briana Pica took fifth in the Division I pole vault (11-3) to move on to Masters. Golden Valley’s Nikaela Harris also advanced by finishing third in the shot put in Division II (41-7 1/2), with teammate Samiyah Hawkins placing fourth in the discus (123-1), just behind Thousand Oaks’ Alexa Coubal (125-8).
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