TRK: San Marcos claims overall title at a windy County Championships

Santa Barbara High junior Natasha Feshbach won 100 hurdles 300 hurdles and long jump at the County Championships.

Santa Barbara High junior Natasha Feshbach won three events at the County Championships. (File photo)


A late spring storm changed the approach of several athletes at Saturday’s Santa Barbara County Track and Field Championships.

Instead of shooting for county records and personal bests, it was “all about grinding these events for place,” San Marcos coach Marilyn Hantgin said. “The conditions aren’t perfect, but it it is what it is. It becomes all about placing.”

The athletes had to deal with rain and windy conditions at Carpinteria Valley Memorial Stadium. Despite the conditions, the day featured several exciting events.


The Dos Pueblos boys 4×100 meter team set the tone early, capturing the victory with a time of 44.26. The Chargers would go on to win the boys team title, five points ahead of San Marcos (90-85). Santa Barbara High came in third.

San Marcos won the varsity girls title (157 points) and both frosh/soph titles to claim the  team sweepstakes championship.

The finish of the boys 1600 was wild and crazy as the weather. In a race that featured three lead changes in the final 600 meters, Brian Illes from Santa Ynez came out on top with a time of 4.28. Illes kicked with 300 meters left and chased down Righetti’s Alec DeLeon, setting up a photo finish. Illes edged Deleon by .27 seconds.

“I just kept my focus on the finish line,” Illes said. “I kept big arms like my coaches told me.”

Illes was part of a strong performance by Santa Ynez. Johnny Jimenez and Grehson Smith both set personal bests during the race, finishing third and fifth, respectively.

“It was a big race for everyone,” Illes added.

DeLeon would avenge his loss in the 800 meters, running a time of 2:03 to take the win.

Tyson Miller of San Marcos took first in the boys 400 meters. Keeping his focus on the finishing line, Miller used the crowd to his advantage. “I gauged the crowd’s reaction to see if anyone was close to me,” Miller said.

Miller ran 51.77 despite a punishing headwind on the backstretch. “I turned the corner and the win hit me like a fist,” he said. “But it hit everyone else, too.”

San Marcos' Matt Turk equaled a county record in the pole vault.

San Marcos’ Matt Turk equaled a county record in the pole vault.

Santa Barbara High multi-event standout Natasha Feshbach had a big day, winning three events. Her best performance came early on in the meet in the 100-meter hurdles. Feshbach’s time of 14.53 broke the previous meet record of 14.68.

Feshbach overcame a late-race slip-up to squeak out a win in the 300-meter hurdles in 46.04.

The third event of Feshbach’s triple crown was the long jump, which she won with an effort of 17-9.

Feshbach finished second in the 200 to Santa Ynez standout Jackie Chandler.

The boys long jump turned into a shootout, with four athletes soaring over 20 feet. The battle for first place started to heat up during the third round, with Cameron Shinn of San Marcos jumping a lifetime best 21-1/4 feet to take the lead. Shinn highlighted his recent speed work in helping his improvement.

“Running form has been a big part recently,” he said. “Opening up my strides and keeping good form has helped out a lot.”

Cate’s Joel Serugo overtook Shinn on his next jump, leaping 21-3. DJ Sharpe of Dos Pueblos entered the fray on his final attempt with a mark of 20-8, which pushed him up to fourth place.

Serugo held on to win the event, with Shinn taking second place and Cabrillo’s Zack Morson finishing third.

The Serugo-Shinn rivalry continued in the triple jump. The event featured a heavy tailwind that led to five athletes going over 40 feet.

On his second attempt, Serugo took the lead at 43-11. Shinn answered with a mark of 44-9.75. Serugo rose to the occasion on the very next jump but came half an inch short of Shinn with a 44-9.25.

With the attention of half the stadium, Shinn solidified his victory with a personal best of 44-11.25 on his final attempt.

Shinn maintained that his main competitor is himself. “More often than not, I’m competing against myself,” he said. “I try not to worry about other competitors.”

Dan Nofrey of Dos Pueblos won the county title in the high jump (6 feet) and lead a Dos Pueblos sweep in the event.

Matt Turk of San Marcos and Steven French of Cabrillo dueled in the pole vault. Both athletes tied the county record of 15 feet before bowing out after strong attempts at 15-6.

Erica Schroeder of San Marcos won the girls 800 in 2:20. Although the race featured a punishing headwind on the backstretch, Schroeder approached the race with admirable toughness.

“My coaches just told me to keep my head down and fight through it,” she said. “There’s not much you can do about it, and everyone’s going through it.”

Schroeder had a busy day. She also finished second in the 400 and the 1600. Her San Marcos teammate Adilene Aldapa won the 1600 (5:17.25) and 3200 (11.38.41).

Bishop Diego football standout AV Bennett is getting it done in track. The junior won both the 100 and 200. The Cardinals defensive back clocked 10.95 in the 100.

Bennett, who headlined a strong-yet-small Bishop contingent, described using pre-race jitters to his advantage. “There were a lot of nerves before the race, but I just used that to run faster,” he said.

Other Bishop football stars that participated in the meet included Abel Gonzalez and freshman phenom John Harris. Harris leaped a respectable 19-5 in the long jump.

Two exciting 4×400 relays capped the meet. In the girls race, Chandler (the 200 and 400 county champion) made up a 20-meter deficit on the final leg to give Santa Ynez an improbable victory.

Not to be outdone, the boys race delivered an equally heart-stopping finish. Santa Barbra and Pioneer Valley stood neck-and-neck for the first three legs, in a battle that would decide third place overall between the two schools.

With 100 meters to go, Santa Barbara’s Will Pritchard dug deep and fought off the Pioneer Valley anchor leg to win the race in a photo finish.

Pritchard said he was unaware of how close the race was. “I just ran my own race,” he said. “I didn’t even know he was there.”

Other local event winners included Carmen Villarruel of Dos Pueblos in girls pole vault (10-6) and Kiasa Salgado of Santa Barbara in the 300 hurdles (43.32).

Dos Pueblos' Hunter Clark set meet records in the frosh-sops division.

Dos Pueblos’ Hunter Clark set meet records in the frosh-sops division.

In the frosh/soph competition Dos Pueblos sophomore Hunter Clark broke records in the 1600 in the morning with a time of 4:29.28 and the 3200 record in the afternoon with a 9:53.77. His time in the F/S 1600 would have placed third in the varsity event and his time in F/S 3200 would have won the varsity 3200.

Both records broken where held by former Charger runners. The 1600 record by Bryan Fernandez, a sophomore on the track team at the University of Oregon. The 3200 frosh-soph record was held by Charger senior Chris Wasjutin who ran the boys varsity 3200.

Santa Ynez throws coach Ken Gruendyk echoed the words of other coaches, saying the meet is a great tune-up for CIF competition.

“This meet has some of the best competition in the Central Coast,” he said. “This is a prerequisite before CIF prelims start in two weeks.”

Hantgin spoke of the great atmosphere at the County Championships. “It’s small enough so that it’s comfortable, but it’s also very competitive. It’s great to see the kids out here winning, and getting medals.”


  1. Barbara Nofrey says

    Disappointing write up. You didn’t even mention the Dos Pueblos sweep of the high jump. Since this poorly written article didn’t bother to cover it, Dos Pueblos took first, second, third and tied for fourth in the high jump. I may be wrong, but I think that’s the first time that’s ever happened for any school.