Track and Field: Three City athletes come up just short in state finals
By Joey Gulino
CLOVIS – A runner, a thrower and a jumper from the City all went into Saturday’s state finals in search of a championship.
None of them got it. But their seasons were anything but failures.
University’s Bridget Blum finished 10th in the girls 1,600-meter race, while Lincoln’s Collin Luu wound up ninth in the discus finals and St. Ignatius’ Michellie McDonald-O’Brien no-heighted in the high jump finals.
Like the rest of the 1,600 field, Blum tried to stay close to Harvard-Westlake senior and Stanford commit Cami Chapus, who was the defending state champion in the event. Chapus, however, ran out of gas over the final 100 meters and four runners passed her.
Blum wasn’t one of them, as she had sagged toward the back as the runners separated. But she still finished the race in 5 minutes, 3.69 seconds and was a state finalist for the first time in her career.
Blum made her state meet debut last season, finishing 12th in her heat and 24th overall in 5:06.62. The 1,600 state champion was Aptos’ Nikki Hiltz, who won with a time of 4:42.45.
Luu, who qualified for the finals by eclipsing his seed mark in the discus by more than 13 feet at Friday’s prelims, finished ninth on Saturday with a mark of 160 feet, 7 inches, which he reached on both his fourth and fifth throws. Luu threw his top mark of 175-6 on two separate throws on Friday as well. The state champion was Newport Harbor’s Ethan Cochran, who threw a mark of 196-4 on his last attempt.
Like Blum, Luu was returning to the state meet. He had represented the San Francisco Section the past two seasons, finishing 22nd at the 2011 prelims with a mark of 150-9 and 25th at the 2010 prelims at 132-8.
McDonald-O’Brien had three attempts to make the opening height of 5-5, but she couldn’t clear the bar on any of them. South Pasadena’s Claire Kieffer-Wright was the only girl to clear 5-10 and won the state championship.
Last season, McDonald-O’Brien made her state meet debut in the high jump and finished eighth after clearing 5-2.
Blum, Luu and McDonald-O’Brien are all seniors and wrapped up their high school careers on Saturday.