Tuesday, April 24, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 7

Santa Maria Sun / Sports Lead

The following article was posted on May 24th, 2017, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 18, Issue 11 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 18, Issue 11

Lompoc Braves dominates track and field season with solid runners and varied team


While technically a team sport, the success of a track and field squad comes down to the performances of individuals. Besides the events that involve relays, the outcome of a meet is determined by a series of athletes competing independently yet together.

Lompoc High School’s Braves showed the ability to come together and utilize the performances of their elite athletes in 2017’s spring season. In events both individual and team-based, Lompoc was able to turn in some exceptional times and capture the Los Padres League Championship by season’s end.

Anthony Manahan (right) was a jack-of-all-trades for Lompoc High School’s track team at the Los Padres League Finals. The senior competed in the 100-meter, 200-meter, and 400-meter events as an individual as well as being a key cog in the Braves’ 4x100-meter and 4x400-meter relay teams.

“We did have workhorses in the front that always got us first places but it was the second, third, all the way down to eighth place finishers that were the key to our success,” head coach Claudia Terrones said. “You can win a lot of events, but it was the point scorers that finished outside of first place that really helped the team.”

The high school track and field season spans March to May and was only eleven major meets for the Braves. With limited opportunities to display their plethora of track talent, Lompoc made the most of the season, going undefeated in all dual meets.

“We realized how good we could be after our first meet with Santa Ynez,” said senior Anthony Manahan. “They have beat us the last two years, and when we saw that we beat them this year it sparked us and we took off from there.”

Another prime example of the Braves’ exceptional roster came in this year’s edition of the Santa Barbara County Championships, a historically competitive event that draws the best track competition in the area.

The Braves swept the 100-meter, 200-meter, and 400-meter events in the men’s portion of the championships. Lompoc High Junior Shemar Savage took home the 100-meter title with a time of 11.16 and Manahan won the 200 and 400-meter events with times of 22:54 and 49:37 respectively, both personal records for the versatile speedster. The Braves also won the 4x100 Relay over St. Joseph by nearly two tenths of a second.

Senior Isaac Acosta was the top runner for Lompoc in the long distance events (1600-meter and 3200-meter) this season. Acosta recorded his personal record in the 1600-meter at this season’s Los Padres League Finals with a blistering time of 4:30.

The relay races were a source of continual concentration during Lompoc’s practices. Manahan maintains that the team spent much of the time during the season perfecting the intricacies of the relay.

“Half of the practice day is based on the relay work,” he said. “We have to do two perfect handoffs before we can get out of practice.”

A performance worth mentioning came in the 3200-meter race, a brutal event that makes its competitors run roughly 2 miles on the track at a perspiring pace. Lompoc’s long distance ace, senior Isaac Acosta, finished the race in second place with a time of 9:44.

Casual runners need not to do the mile-pace calculations in their head—Acosta’s performance is roughly the equivalent of running back-to-back 4:50 miles on a repetitive racing track.

Although the Braves received other strong showings from senior discus thrower Austin Long (second place with more than 150 feet thrown) and senior jumper Zion Harris (third place and more than 40 feet in the triple jump), Lompoc finished second place to San Marcos. While the Santa Barbara County Championships was far from the only event the Braves competed in as a team, it was arguably their best showing with personal records aplenty.

Shemar Savage was arguably the best the Braves had to offer in the short distance events this year. The junior broke 11 seconds in the 100-meter dash (10.94) at the Santa Barbara Relays and along with Anthony Manahan, Dallas Kanley, and Zion Smith, was a part of a dominant 4x100-meter relay team.

“The Santa Barbara County meet was a big turning point for us. It was on a dirt track so we just didn’t really know what the times were going to be,” coach Terrones said. “We knew that we were fast but we didn’t really know how fast until the county meet. But we showed up and the team was ready to go. The times were phenomenal, and we just went from there.”

But in the County Championship, Lompoc’s steady speedster Acosta was unable to set a personal record in arguably his best event, the 1600 meter. The senior, who is also the Braves’ top cross country runner, set his personal best in the event earlier in the season at the Los Padres League Championship. With a time of 4:30 at the event in mid-March, Acosta was edged out by Nipomo’s Joseph Gocke by mere hundredths of a second in an exciting showdown between the area’s best long distance track and field athletes.

Acosta is far from the only dual sport athlete to contribute to the team totals for Lompoc’s track and field squad. Manahan, Shemar Savage, and junior sprinter Dallas Canley all played on Lompoc’s championship-winning football team this year and all assisted in another championship in the Los Padres League Finals for track and field.

The efforts displayed by these versatile student athletes this season cannot be understated. Balancing a bevy of academic and athletic commitments often proves too tough for many athletes attending high school full time.

Same sport, different school
Senior leaders Anthony Manahan and Isaac Acosta will continue their track and field careers at nearby colleges. Acosta will compete for the Highlanders of UC Riverside in both cross-country and track while Manahan plans to run track for Allan Hancock College next spring.

“I usually go talk to my teachers and try to get a head start on all my schoolwork,” Acosta said. “The days where we have meets and I know I am going to miss class, I go and tell my teachers. I have to schedule my schoolwork around meets or practice.”

It can be hard to stay focused during the springtime when summer is right around the corner, but the Braves were all business coming down the stretch. The success experienced by Manahan, Acosta, and company was the culmination of nearly a year of hard work put into their respective after-school sports.

“I was surprised at how we did because before the season I didn’t think we had anyone,” Acosta said. “But everyone from all parts of the team pulled out the wins and we were able to get the league title.”

Sports contributor Keenan Donath can be reached through Managing Editor Joe Payne at jpayne@santamariasun.com.

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