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GIRLS TRACK: All eyes on Cunningham as she wins two Sunset Region events

Bishop Gorman’s Vashti Cunningham concedes she used to get nervous when people cheered for her at big events.

Now she’s learned to tune everything out.

Cunningham, before a crowd of spectators and video cameras, easily won two events at the Sunset Region track meet Saturday to become the day’s only two-event winner.

The second day of both the Sunset and Sunrise Region meets is May 9 at Del Sol.

“I used to get really nervous when people would cheer,” Cunningham said. “Now, I kind of tune everyone out because I don’t really like all the eyes on me. I’m not really an attention person.”

Cunningham, a junior, broke her own high jump meet record from last season by a foot after clearing 6 feet, 4 inches. She also was first in the long jump with a mark of 17-5.

“My dad just prepared me really well,” said Cunningham, the daughter of former NFL quarterback Randall Cunningham. “He basically just tells me what I’m doing right, wrong and what I need to change. He really boosts my confidence, even if I don’t do as well.”

Cunningham, who owns the national prep record in the high jump at 6-4¼, attempted to clear 6-5 but missed on all three of her attempts.

She will have one more opportunity this season — at state — to break the record mark she set on April 18 at the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif.

“Everyone’s sort of keeping a close eye now,” Cunningham said. “(Today) I was just thinking, ‘Oh, I already the broke new meet record, so now I can chill.’ But everyone still wants me to jump higher.”

In the long jump, Cunningham hit 17-5 on her first jump. She passed on the next five attempts, but won by 3½ inches over Palo Verde’s Cydnee Bush.

Green Valley’s Maddie Thurlow cleared 5-1 to take the Sunrise high jump.

Yamilei Rodriguez was first in the long jump (16-9) for the Gators.

“It feels really amazing,” Rodriguez said. “I was just expecting to make it to the finals and at least get second or third, but I got first. … I can’t look at it like a stagnant, standing point. I got 16-9, now I have to get 17.”

Silverado’s Monet Salazar easily took the discus in the Sunrise meet, with a mark of 131-0. Liberty’s Litia Ortquist was second (112-0).

Desert Oasis’ Tawny Rodriguez won the Sunset discus by throwing 126-7.

Centennial, which is looking for its eighth consecutive region title, leads the Sunset with 23½ points. Silverado is first in the Sunrise with 30.2 points.

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