REGION TRACK: Vashti Cunningham leaps to two wins

Bishop Gorman freshman Vashti Cunningham didn’t even know the Sunset Region long jump finals were being held on Wednesday at Silverado.

But that didn’t stop her from winning the event, her second of the day.

Cunningham set a Zone/Region record in the high jump, clearing 5 feet, 10 inches. Cunningham, who has the nation’s best mark this season of 6-0¼, was not particularly happy about having the high jump and the long jump on the same day.

“I did OK with (the high jump),” she said. “It will get better. I was thinking the long jump was Friday.”

Cunningham won the Sunset long jump with a meet-best leap of 17 feet, 8 inches, making her the only double winner the first day of regional competition, which featured mostly preliminaries in the running events.

Only two running finals were contested Wednesday, but both Centennial teams got off to flying starts. The girls finished first in the 3,200-meter relay, and the boys went 1-2-3 in the 3,200.

After the first three legs of the girls 3,200 relay, Palo Verde led Centennial by about 60 meters, 20 seconds on the clock, with Desert Oasis in third another 10 seconds back.

But Centennial anchor runner Sydney Badger caught the Palo Verde anchor with 300 meters to go and won in 9 minutes, 53.16 seconds. The Panthers were second in 9:58.02.

“(Centennial coach) Roy (Session) told me to run relaxed,” said Badger, who ran an unofficial 2:13. “I knew at the 200 I was OK. I just reeled her in.”

The Sunrise girls 3,200 relay was even faster, but it wasn’t much of a race, with Coronado winning in 9:44.95, just more than a second off the Sunrise record.

“One more second and I would have been happy with it,” runner Sara Dort said. “(But) I’m happy for our team.”

Centennial’s distance trio of Dajour Braxton, Jackson Carter and George Espino went 1-2-3 in Sunset boys 3,200, while Liberty’s Martin Ponce outraced Alan Ekanger of Coronado and Brian Marshall of Foothill in winning the Sunrise regional.

“The race was mine when I took off. I felt confident from the start,” Ponce said. “It was nice to get the 3,200 out of the way. I’m looking forward to the mile.”

Among other winners were two Liberty athletes, Reno Tuufuli, who won the Sunrise boys shot put (54-2¾ inches, and Ashlie Blake, winner of the Sunrise girls discus (157-0).

“I was happy to get (the win). It was a (personal record),” said Tuufuli. “Conditions were good for throwing today. Our team is looking good. We got first and third (shot put).”

Said Blake: “When I threw the discus, the wind kind of carried it today. But that was my best throw ever. I’m looking forward to the shot put on Friday”

Green Valley’s Austin Tilley won the Sunrise pole vault (15 feet, 2 inches), while Centennial’s Nico Fonzi was the Sunset winner (14 feet, 9 inches).


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