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Hitting their Marks
Local Track and Field Athletes Shine in 2008 Postseason
July, 2008 - Issue #45
The Throwers
After Daniel Swarbrick's first two turns at the shot put during last month's CIF-Southern Section Division I track and field finals, the weight of the metal ball he was there to throw must have seemed light - at least by comparison.
After fouling in both attempts, the pressure on the Saugus junior to register a legal throw was much, much heavier.

Throwing events like shot put and discus, as brutal as they are on an athlete's body, can be far more excruciating on the mind. One step slightly left of the mark, one lean too far to the right, one momentary loss of balance in the dance that is shot put and discus, and your throw goes for naught.

The red flag goes up. Your mark is wiped away.

Even at events as prestigious as the CIF Finals, a red flag or two can get into a thrower's head. It can unravel an entire season. Four fouls and you're out. It happened to one of Swarbrick's competitor's that day.

But not to Swarbrick. In his third attempt he took a little off - just enough to register a legal throw and get the monkey off his back. Then came attempt number four. With the weight of the fouls behind him, Swarbrick let it all go.

His toss of 59 feet, 11 A inches was the best in Division I by far that day. It was the best among all divisions.
Swarbrick was a CIF champion.
He wasn't alone.

Fellow Centurion Heather Snyder, after fouling in her first attempt at discus, increased her mark in each of her next three. Her fourth throw landed at 136-04 - just more than six feet better than her nearest competition.

Two events, two CIF titles for Saugus.
Snyder also walked off with a third-place medal in the shot put (39-10 A ), while Swarbrick took home fourth in the discus (160-08), once again hitting his best mark on his last attempt.

Spencer Lloyd from Hart grabbed some shot put hardware as well. The senior's third attempt netted him a mark of 55-09, good enough for a third-place medal in
Division II.

Lloyd went on to place seventh at the CIF-SS Masters Meet the following week. His toss of 56-00.75 put him a quarter of an inch behind Swarbrick in the same event, just inches from advancing to the state prelims.

For Swarbrick, it was the discus, not shot put, that would take him the farthest this spring. His sixth-place finish in the shot put at Masters failed to advance him, but his third-place finish in the discus (171-05) put him in the state meet at Cerritos College in Norwalk, where he would take home a fifth-place medal with a mark of 181-08.

"You can call that a 20-foot personal record," said Saugus coach Christian Standley. "He just found another level."
Snyder also advanced all the way to the state in the discus, finishing fourth at Masters (138-08) and eighth at state with a distance of 136-05.

The Saugus Distance Runners
This year's track postseason was headlined again by the Saugus girls. It's no surprise - the Centurions' stable of distance runners comes from the crop that banded together for a state title in cross country championship in November - the school's second straight.

What was surprising about Saugus' track season, though, was who led them: freshman Kaylin Mahoney.
Mahoney, who established herself as one of Saugus' top three cross-country runners in the fall, vaulted to the lead in the spring.

In the CIF-SS Division I 1,600-meter finals, she raced to a fourth-place finish in 4 minutes, 57.57 seconds - about 4 seconds behind winner Alexandra Dunne from San Clemente.
Saugus junior Anne Randall took seventh in 5:04.20, then cracked a sub five-minute mile a week later, placing tenth at the Masters Meet (4:59.35).
Mahoney, meanwhile, was just getting started.

In the 3,200-meter finals, Mahoney clocked a 10:50.69 to place second - again behind Dunne. A week later, after dropping the 1,600 to focus on the 3,200, Mahoney improved her time to 10:38.05, trailing only Dunne among Southern California's best. Her second-place finish earned her a ticket all the way into the state finals... where the excitement really began.

Mahoney, less than a year removed from junior high, found herself in a star-studded field at state. Mission College Prep junior Jordan Hassay, already a two-time state champion and a national champion, was the favorite.
Senior Laurynne Chetelat of Davis High in San Jose wasn't far behind, having beaten Hassay once already in 2008.

And of course there was Mahoney's Southern California rival, Dunne.
Hassay and Chetelat set a blistering pace to start, and Mahoney stayed with the lead pair for the first 800 meters. She eased back slightly in the third lap, settling into a comfortable position alongside Dunne in a battle for third.

Over the final mile, one might have expected Mahoney to fade. The ninth-grader was running on the biggest stage in her brief prep track career. She could have slipped quietly into the pack behind her and no one would have protested.

But Mahoney found another tank of reserves at the state finals. She found another gear.

She pulled slowly past Dunne heading into the final lap. And when Dunne made her move, Mahoney responded with a move of her own. The pair tested each other down the final stretch.

But Mahoney's kick was better. Her will was a little stronger. The third place medal was hers.

Her time of 10:25.40 set a career best mark and broke the school record held by UCLA Bruin Shannon Murakami. It was also about a third of a second faster than Dunne (10:25.75).

"I could see early in the year that Kaylin had that rare combination of endurance and speed," Standley said. "She can turn it on when she wants to... I think Dunne got caught in no-woman's land trying to keep up with the leaders. She kind of burned herself out and Kaylin was able to catch her."

As for the leaders, Hassay inched out Chetelat less than half a second. Her time of 9:52.13 was the best in the country this year, and both she and Chetelat broke the meet mark with their times.

In other words, Mahoney took third place in the fastest girls 3,200 in state history.

Not bad for a freshman...

Running with Hart
The final spotlight for the 2008 track and field postseason falls on Hart senior Jimmy Kelley.

Kelley, who has been a consistent scorer in the distance events for Hart throughout his career, set a new standard for himself this time around. He did it by shattering a few old ones along the way.

For three successive weeks, Kelley posted personal-best times. His 9:19.92 in the 3,200-meter at the CIF-SS Division II Finals earned him third-place honors and put him in the Masters Meet for the first time in his career.

And he made it count.

His time of 9:12.80 was the sixth best in the field. His ticket to the finals of the state meet was stamped.
Kelley didn't post the time he wanted in the finals. His time of 9:24.84 placed him 21st. But the Hart 3,200-meter record holder reached past himself in the spring of 2008. By peaking at the end, he did what every runner talks about doing all year.
When the level of competition around him rose, he raised his level along with it. So did a handful of his SCV compatriots.

The postseason will do that to you.
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