For almost 12 hours, it was a celebration of prep track as more than 900 athletes from 30 high schools, junior highs and clubs gathered at Brown Stadium for the third-annual Halden Invitational on Saturday.
Brilliant Blue Devil performances were the norm as 800-meter standout Blake Croft set a meet record (covering his distance in 1:57.07), Alex McIntyre doubled in the 200 and 400, Sofia Castiglioni took two distance events while DHS female pole vaulters went 1-3-5 in the pole vault.
“(Alex) has traditionally been a 100-meter, 200-meter runner, but we’ve been toying with the idea of turning him into more of a 400-200 runner,” Devil head coach Spencer Elliott told The Enterprise. “That’s a double he’ll have to get used to.”
Before winning the 400 in 50.96, McIntyre sprinted home in 22.94 to capture the 200 over Pioneer’s Elijah Fields (23.18) and Aidan Tank (23.20) of Elk Grove.
“His 200 time was nice, into a headwind — that’s impressive,” Elliott continued. “His 400 was nice, too. He’s going to run faster later on in the year. I thought it was a good day for him.”
Freshman Castiglioni — another in a long line of assistant coach Bill Gregg’s long-range disciples — wowed the crowed by owning the first and third races of the evening’s Distance Carnival.
After winning at 5:10.90 in the 1,600 meters, Castiglioni came back three hours later to take home the 3,200 in 10:58.50.
As Castiglioni was warming up for her evening encore at a suddenly chilly Brown Stadium on the DHS campus; in Southern California, Blue Devil distance dandy Fiona O’Keeffe was running fifth in the 3,200 at the prestigious Arcadia Invitational.
Gregg accompanied the sophomore, who ran 10:14.60.
“We thought getting under 10:20 was in her wheelhouse,” said Gregg, who also coaches his 1-2 punch of O’Keefee and Castiglioni in cross country. “In Arcadia, it was being billed as perhaps fastest (prep) field for the 3,200 ever. It was a really great race.”
The race was won by Alex Efraimson (Camas, Wash.) in 9:55.92.
Gregg said O’Keeffe sat in a chase pack, “measured and patient,” adding, “from my perspective, it was everything you could have asked for (from O’Keeffe).”
Back in Davis, a confident Croft led the third heat of the 800 wire-to-wire as sophomore teammate Willie Hall’s closing kick put him in second at 2:01.6 Another Devil — Kellen Browning — took third (2:01.24).
While no individual team scores were kept, it was obvious from the day’s early field events that DHS was going to have a successful outing.
In the girls high jump, Caitlin Mazzoleni’s 5-02 led a sweep for the Blue Devils. Amelia Otto-Cutting cleared the bar at 5 feet and Bailey Mknelly (4-10) was third.
Davis took both divisions of the pole vault when Nate Harper cleared 14-6 and Lily Wolfe went 10-6. (Michaela Niva and Danielle Gantar each went 9-6, with Niva third and Gantar fifth.)
In the triple jump, freshman Alyssa Lengtat leaped 35-01 to win that event.
Elliott said he and assistant coach Leo Sacramento are “excited about Alyssa as a jumper. She is an incredible athlete. We’re excited about her because she works really hard … and jumps really far.”
There was a terrific battle in the girls 800 as Blue Devil Jeanne-Marie McPherson and Armijo’s Gabriella Nathan-Funk ran shoulder-to-shoulder down the stretch. Nathan-Funk edged past McPherson to win 2:19.90-2:20.66.
Notes: Campolindo had several top marks on Saturday, including Jack Shurtz winning the discus with a toss of 134-5 and Marcus Harland-Dunaway capturing the boys 330 hurdles in 41.15. Amanda Schnabel (St. Francis) took the girls 300 hurdles in 45.60. … Elk Grove’s girls (3:59.33) won the 4×400 with The Herd’s Jazmine Smith winning the 200 (25.87). … Complete Halden Invitational results can be found in Tuesday’s Enterprise in the Scoreboard section. … Davis-based band Crow Canyon supplied live music during the Distance Carnival. … Elliott thanked the more than 45 volunteers for “helping run a smooth meet.”
— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at email@example.com or 530-320-4456.