Los Angeles Preps: Dynasty Gammage

Southern Section looks to dominate girls' state track finals

June, 2, 2011
The CIF-State girls’ track and field track championships are set for Friday and Saturday at Clovis Buchanan High School, and the Southern Section appears in good position to sweep a majority of the events. Long Beach Poly is the clear-cut favorite in the team race, possibly taking aim at its state-meet record of 80 points compiled in 2004. Here’s a breakdown of the 16 girls’ events.


Barring any dropped batons or lane violations, Long Beach Poly should run away with this meet-opening event and take an early points lead in the team race. Carisma Lyday, Melia Cox, Traci Hicks and Akawkaw Ndipagbor circled the track in a national-leading 45.04 seconds at the Masters Meet on Friday night. The Jackrabbits also have a good shot at breaking the 14-year-old meet record of 44.70. Moreno Valley Rancho Verde is the defending champion in the event and No. 3 qualifier behind Poly and Eastvale Roosevelt.

1,600 METERS

Katherine Delaney of San Juan Capistrano JSerra comes in as the state’s top qualifier after winning in 4:42.95 at the Masters. Delaney, a Cal-bound senior who was sidelined during the postseason a year ago due to illness, figures to be pushed by last season’s state runner-up, Alli Billmeyer of San Diego Torrey Pines, and North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake senior Cami Chapus.


Long Beach Poly figures to add to its team lead with Cox bringing a nation-leading 13.34 qualifying time into the event. She won’t have the race all to herself, however. Trinity Wilson of Berkeley St. Mary’s took first in 13.38 at the North Coast Section Meet of Champions last weekend. Wilson finished runner-up last season in a wind-aided 13.35, while Cox was fifth in 13.91.


Not to be outdone by her teammate, Ndipagbor also produced a nation-leading mark at the Masters, crossing the line in this event in 53.51. Her closest competition figures to come from the Southern Section, as Vanessa Jones of Etiwanda (53.83), Gabrielle Scott of Irvine Woodbridge (53.98) and Azia Walker of Long Beach Poly (54.48) are the next fastest qualifiers and all were on the starting line a year ago.


One of only two running events that does not feature a Southern Section athlete as the top qualifier, this race will likely come down to how well Jenna Prandini of Clovis gets out of the block. Prandini was the top competitor at last season’s state meet, winning the long jump and triple jump and finishing second in the 100. Kylie Price of La Puente Bishop Amat is the third-fastest qualifier.


Amy Weissenbach of Harvard-Westlake shows no signs of giving up her reign as state champion in the 800. She returns as the top qualifier after winning her Masters race in 2:06.18, the second-fastest outdoor time in the nation this season. As a sophomore, she won her state title in the two-lap race in 2:07.52. Last season’s runner up, Savannah Camacho of Templeton, is the No. 2 qualifier at 2:07.65, followed by Long Beach Poly teammates Dynasty Gammage (2:09.38) and Arielle Stevenson (2:10.08).

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Long Beach Poly runs away with girls' Division 1 title

May, 21, 2011
Melia CoxKirby Lee/US PresswireMelia Cox of Long Beach Poly won three events at Saturday's CIF-SS track and field finals.

CERRITOS — Arguably the best girls’ track and field team in state history might finally have some competition.

Long Beach Poly dominated the Southern Section Division 1 finals Saturday at Cerritos College, taking the top two spots in the 200, 400 and 800 meters and winning a handful of other events to run away with the team title.

The Jackrabbits finished with 148 points, far ahead of Eastvale Roosevelt and Rancho Cucamonga Los Osos, who tied for second with 33.

“It’s like our 2004 team,” said Poly coach Don Norford. “A lot of depth, a lot of great athletes, a lot of dedication and hard work. They have all the qualities of a champion.”

The 2004 team finished off its high school season by setting a national record in the 1,600-meter relay to finish with a state meet record 80 points. Shana Woods was the star on that team, winning a state title in the long jump and finishing runner up in the 300 hurdles and fourth in the 100.

This season’s front runner is senior Melia Cox.

She opened the meet by running the second leg on the 400 relay team that won in 45.50 seconds. She then won the 100 hurdles in a nation-leading 13.42, which was also just a hundredth of a second off the Division 1 meet record set by Nichole Denby of Riverside North in 2000.

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LA South: Athletes of the week

November, 9, 2010
Conner Preston, Serra, Sr.

The Southern Methodist-bound quarterback threw for 311 yards and three touchdowns in No. 4 Serra's come-from-behind victory at No. 25 West Hills Chaminade. It wasn't necessarily his best statistical performance of the year, but it was definitely his most important. With the Cavaliers trailing by seven in the fourth quarter, Preston hooked up with top target George Farmer for a game-tying, 63-yard touchdown. He followed that up with a 55-yard heave to Marqise Lee to break the tie. And just like that, Serra (9-0) remained unbeaten.

Dynasty Gammage, Long Beach Poly, Sr.

Gammage won the girls cross country individual Moore League title and led Poly to its seventh straight league crown on Thursday. The senior finished the three-mile course at Heartwell Park (Long Beach) in 18:40 to claim her third straight individual championship.