Canyon Track Gets Hot Start, Beats Hart
The Canyon Cowboys Athletics continued their hot start into 2023 on Thursday when the team won a dual foothill league meeting over the visiting Hart Indians.
The Canyon Boys won 104-27 and the Cowboy Girls won 111-21, both going undefeated in the league.
The girls team was led by junior Briana Bartone, who won individual victories in the 100 and 200 meters, and also helped Canyon take the 4×100 and 4×400 meters relay.
The 4×400 team missed the top four mark in California (47.87 seconds), but still won the race in 48.39 seconds.
According to Cowboys head coach George Velarde, Bartone is the backbone of the women’s relay teams.
“She is the link in this women’s sprint team,” Velarde said in a phone interview. “If there is a girl who has improved since last year, it is her. She deserves all the praise in the world, she worked very hard.”
Barton was joined in the relays, but not in the sprint, by her teammate Mikaela Warr. Warr did not compete in Thursday’s individual sprints but has led the season this season with top three finishes in the state in the 100m and 200m heats.
Freshman Alia Edwards won the girls’ triple jump with a jump of 31 feet 5 inches. Velarde is looking forward to the next three seasons with Edwards on the team.
“Aliya has a background in gymnastics, so a lot of her training translates into her talent for athletics,” Velarde said. “She is another woman who is not afraid to work. We are very excited about her future.”
Canyon junior Cynthia Herrera also didn’t beat her best time in the foothill league in the 3200m, but still won the race in 12:15.98 minutes.
Hart’s Laura Brennan achieved a new personal best in the shot put, throwing 40′ 5.75″ and finishing fourth in the state. The mark was only inches away from her CIF winning shot last season.
Brennan also won the discus throw throwing 96 feet 8.5 inches.
Among boys, Cowboys junior Jeremiah Taylor won the 200m and 400m. Taylor topped the 200 with 22.59 seconds.
“Jeremiah has really started to gain strength,” Velarde said. “At the start of the season, he slowed down a bit due to minor injuries, but now he is getting a lot stronger. His timing shows what he will be capable of over the next few weeks.”
Canyon junior George Stansell won the discus throw and shot put competitions. Stansell hit the target at 49 feet 1 inch and set a new personal best in the discus throw of 150 feet 4.75 inches.
“George is the heart and soul of our throwing program,” Velarde said. “Last year he made it to the CIF final. For most kids, reaching the CIF finals as a sophomore might have thought it would be a highlight, but it left a bad taste in their mouths. Boy, he’s competitive. He wants to be the best thrower in the school’s history.”
Cowboys sophomore Jorden Gammidge won both hurdles and is closing in on the state’s best record in the 110m hurdles. Gummage won 110 points in 15.88, a few notches short of his personal best. The sophomore also helped Kanyon take the boys’ 4×100 with Keyshon Wooten, Josh Kambaliza and Naveen Srinivasian in 43.84 seconds.
Hart Jr. Indiana Dunlap won the boys’ long jump, surpassing his previous best in the league with a new personal best of 20 feet 6.5 inches.
Indians sophomore Eli Achten won the 3200 meters in 10 minutes and 1.32 seconds, while Canyon’s Eric Leal won the 1600 meters in 4 minutes and 32.47 seconds.
It doesn’t mention the many seniors for the Canyon, but Velarde is proud to see his young returnees paving the way for his even younger newcomers.
“The hull we had from last year was showing newcomers how to work,” Velarde said. “They showed them how to do what needed to improve. This leadership experience helped us a lot to show our young talented runners how to work.”
While the Canyon athletes have received universal acclaim, Velarde this year has seen to it that his coaching staff will be integral to Cowboy’s potential return to the top of athletics.
“I want to praise our coaching staff,” said Velarde. “We are very proud of where we are now. We have room to move, but we understand that we have a good team. We’re just trying to keep them on the right path to get them where they want to be. I am very proud of our coaching staff.”
Hart heads to West Ranch for Thursday’s double encounter while Kanyon gets a week-long league break before returning to Golden Valley on March 30.
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