SCV record: 1:57.34 Alysia Johnson-Montano (Bay Area Track Club) 2010
SCV high school record: 2:07.45 Aly Drake (Valencia HS) 2009
Foothill League Championship record: 2:12.84 Jennifer Owen (WRHS) 2011
2013 Foothill Lg. Best: 2:11.98 Sabrina Janes (Saugus HS)
Don’t be surprised if Sabrina Janes of Saugus High School never loses to another Foothill League female competitor around the oval again.
Janes has enjoyed a stellar prep career ever since she dropped soccer to focus on cross country and track. After an incredible 2013 campaign, which included an 800-meter win at the CIF Southern Section Masters Meet, a Santa Clarita Valley sophomore record over two laps, and a 13th-place finish at the CIF State Cross Country Division 2 Championships, the Saugus High junior is back on the oval with a lot to prove this spring track season.
You could argue Janes has some unfinished business to take care off after a fall cost her an individual championship at the CIF Southern Section Division 2 Finals last May. Based on time, her 2:11.98 all-time best, run at last season’s state track finals, is the top returning mark among Southern California’s best half milers, regardless of division.
At the state level, she’s the third returning 800-meter runner, trailing defending state champion Mikaela Smith of Clovis North (2:08.39) and Piedmont Hill’s Bianca Bryant, fourth at last year’s finals in 2:10.65. Eight of last spring’s 12 state finalists return in 2014, making Janes one of the favorites to win an individual state championship in 2014.
2014 Foothill League Returnees
2:11.98 Sabrina Janes, Saugus, Junior
2:14.49 Marisa Magsarili, West Ranch, Junior
2:17.69 Bailey Pate, Hart, Freshman
2:17.90 Kendall Bietsch, Canyon, Junior
2:18.66 Kristin Uy, Valencia, Senior
2:20.45 Taylor Welker, West Ranch, Senior
2:20.90 Samantha Ortega, Saugus, Junior
2:21.00 Ashley Heys, Saugus, Sophomore
2:21.60 Bianca Tinoco, Golden Valley, Soph.
2:22.60 Megan Fairchild, Hart, Senior
2:23.19 Amelia Pear, Valencia, Junior
2:24.74 Stephany Estrada, West Ranch, Soph.
2:24.90 Abigail Frankian, Saugus, Senior
2:25.23 Kyla Danforth, Canyon, Junior
2:27.90 Jessica Ruiz, Saugus, Junior
Janes might be the best overall cross country/track runner we’ve seen since Shannon Murakami reigned supreme a few years ago, however, she’ll have to beat Marisa Magsarili first.
Magsarili is the West Ranch standout that held off a hard-charging Janes down the final stretch at last year’s Foothill League 800-meter finals. She’ll be looking to win the Wildcat’s fifth consecutive, and her second straight, Foothill League individual championship over 800 meters.
On paper, Magsarili is Janes’ only threat, leaving the third and final spot into the CIF Southern Section post-season wide-open this spring.
There’s several contenders, starting with the Valencia duo of junior Amelia Pear and senior Kristin Uy.
Pear was the junior varsity 800-meter runner-up behind Saugus’ Ashley Heys, who became just the second in Foothill League history to sweep the junior varsity 800, 1,600 and 3,200-meter titles at the 2013 finals, while Uy finished fourth in the varsity finals behind Janes, Magsarili and former teammate Olivia Pear last spring.
Quite possibly the biggest headline in the girl’s 800-meter event is freshman sensation Bailey Pate. The Hart runner made four consecutive appearances at the U.S. Junior Olympics from 2010-13, including a fourth-place finish in last year’s finals, and enters her freshman campaign with an all-time best of 2:17.69, the third fastest mark in the Foothill League only behind Saugus’ Janes (2:11.98) and West Ranch’s Magsarili (2:14.49).
Quick Thought #1 – Janes 2:11.98 best broke Alysia Johnson’s 11-year-old SCV sophomore record of 2:12.30 at the state finals last June. Keep on eye on Janes and the SCV junior record, currently held by Shannon Murakami (2:10.03).
Quick Thought #2 – Whether Golden Valley’s Bianca Tinoco makes an competes or not is an unknown right now. The sophomore ran 2:21.60, #11 SCV freshman all-time, in the only race she ran on the oval last spring, ran 17:48 at Mt. SAC and 18:09 at Woodward Park as a freshman, and has All-CIF Southern Section and all-state awards to her name. She only made a couple race appearances in 2013, due to injuries, but has the talent to make an impact here. Last we heard, the soccer player is done with cross country. As for track, we have no idea…
Quick Thought #3 – With the departure of junior standout Augustina Hansen, Hart’s top returning 800-meter runner is senior Meghan Fairchild. We didn’t know she was related to the Serrano sister standouts, Melissa and Kelly, until recently, plus she has a best of 2:22.60 from 2012. She’s definitely a threat if she can return to form.
Quick Thought #4 – It’s unfortunate Canyon junior Kendall Bietsch hasn’t competed in the two-lap event during the post-season. The defending Foothill League 400-meter champion has only run two or three 800-meter races during her high school career, clocking 2:17.40 in 2012 and 2:17.90 in 2013. Those marks rank #3 and #9 on the SCV freshman and sophomore lists. There’s only two females – Alysia Johnson and Ashley Welker – that appear in the top 10 on all four class lists. A sub-2:17 mark over 800 meters would make Bietsch top 10 all-time on the junior list.
Favorite: Sabrina Janes (Saugus, Junior)
Top Contender(s): Marisa Magsarili (West Ranch, Junior), Bailey Pate (Hart, Freshman)
Dark-horse(s): Bianca Tinoco (Golden Valley, Sophomore)