Sunday, June 5, 2011
Harvard-Westlake's Weissenbach sets national record in 800 meters
By Dan Arritt
Potential national records and repeat performances were the talk heading into the CIF state track and field finals, just not the national record and repeat performance that everybody ended up talking about.
The athlete who stole the show and rewrote the record books Saturday night at Clovis Buchanan High School turned out to be North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake junior Amy Weissenbach, whose performance in the girls’ 800 meters ranks as the all-time best in U.S. high school competition.
Weissenbach defended her title in 2 minutes 2.04 seconds, breaking the previous best National Federation High School time of 2:02.90, set three years ago by Chanelle Price of Easton Area, Pa. Weissenbach also obliterated the state meet record of 2:04.91, which had stood since 1984.
Despite the soggy conditions caused by steady rain earlier in the day, Weissenbach set herself up for the record by turning a 57.5-second opening lap. With a five-second lead over her nearest competitor, Weissenbach was forced to race against the clock over the final 200 meters.
"When I saw 57.5, it was definitely a surprise. I didn't expect that," Weissenbach told reporters. "The last 200, I started to tighten up a little, but I was able to do it. It's just unbelievable."
Weissenbach’s teammate, junior Cami Chapus, also posted one of the more surprising results of the meet, out-lasting last year’s runner-up in the girls’ 1600, senior Alli Billmeyer of San Diego Torrey Pines, to win in 4:40.88. The top qualifier, Katherine Delaney of San Juan Capistrano JSerra, finished fourth in 4:47.20.
Until the rains came Saturday, much of the anticipation of a possible new national record was focused on the boys’ 110 hurdles. Jonathan Cabral of Agoura had been inching closer to the 21-year-old national record of 13.30, but the unstable footing hindered his start and he finished first in 13.79.
The conditions also prevented two-time defending champion Remontay McClain of Covina from breaking the meet record (10.30) in the 100, but he still managed to run an impressive 10.39 en route to defending both sprint titles.
The Long Beach Poly girls’ team didn’t have its best day but still performed well enough to win its fourth straight team title with 72 points, eight short of their meet record of 80 set 2004. The Jackrabbits also took home the boys’ championship, marking the third time the school has swept the team titles.
The Poly girls’ 400 relay team of Carisma Lyday, Melia Cox, Traci Hicks and Akawkaw Ndipagbor won the meet-opening race in 45.70 and never looked back. Defending champion Moreno Valley Rancho Verde was second in 46.25, joined by fellow Inland Empire teams Eastvale Roosevelt and Rancho Cucamonga Los Osos in the top five.
Cox came into the 100 hurdles with the nation’s No. 1 time this season (13.34) but she couldn’t reel in Trinity Wilson of Berkeley St. Mary’s for the second consecutive year. Wilson won in 13.41, followed by Cox in 13.57.
Ndipagbor had no problem winning her second state title in the 400. She hit the tape in a season-best 53.38, followed by Vanessa Jones of Etiwanda in 54.49. Ndipagbor came back to finish second to the meet’s top medalist for the second consecutive year, Jenna Prandini of Clovis, who also won the 100 and long jump.