Five from track and field go to CIF

Samyuktha Vellaiyan, Staff Writer

The  Diamond Bar High School track and field team has crossed the finish line with five players advancing to CIF preliminaries last Saturday at Trabuco Hills High School in Mission Viejo.

Initially, five Brahmas qualified for CIF prelims. However due to an injury, Etania Cheng was unable to compete.

Samantha Blazek competed in shot put and discus while sophomore Kailen Smith, junior Leonardo Lervold and senior Justin Ofori competed in the high jump.

“This is definitely an improvement from last year,” head coach Malinalli Cooke said. “Last year we only had two players move on to CIF.”

At CIF prelims, the qualifiers were able to set themselves on the DBHS school records list. Blazek set a new school record for discus, with the distance of 107 feet, and placed fourth on the records list for shot put. Ofori set his personal record for 300 meter hurdles, with 41.29 seconds, and places fourth on the records list. Lervold ranked fourth on the DBHS school records list for high jump, following Smith in third.

Previously, the team competed in league finals at Claremont on May 3 against five schools. The boys finished sixth with 29 points while the Lady Brahmas placed fifth with 33 points.

Some of the Brahmas broke their personal records at league finals. Blazek placed second in shot put, setting her personal record, while senior Cheng set a new school record holder for pole vault with the height of nine feet and six inches.

“It felt great breaking the school record,” Cheng said. “I finally accomplished my goal this season and got to leave my mark in my high school career. I was able to PR 9’6″ compared to my PR at 7 feet last year. Hopefully at CIF, I can go over 10 feet before I graduate.”

Throughout the season, Cooke had to lead an inexperienced coaching staff. Facing the challenges of this season, Cooke did not expect the success of this year.

“I had a very low expectation for this season because this is my first year on the staff. With all the previous coaches gone as well, we had a brand new staff who were unfamiliar with the kids,” Cooke said. “So coming from a low expectation to having five of our kids move on to CIF was quite exciting.”

With the offseason on the horizon, Cooke continues to look out for more coaches and is considering cutting the number of Brahmas on the team.