Clovis News: Sports

Twin Eagles hurdle, vault way to medals

Alyssa and Anginae Monteverde were quite the sister act Saturday at the CIF State Track and Field Championships.

In the warm-up, Alyssa capped a four-year career that propelled her to a scholarship from college power Oregon with a second straight third-place finish in the 300-meter hurdles at Buchanan's Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Then in the main event, fellow Clovis West High Eagles star and Ducks recruit Anginae soared to the top of the family accomplishment chart by winning the pole vault in a landslide.

"We both came here to do our best," Anginae said of her and her twin sister. "And I felt we did."

And Anginae didn't simply win the pole vault, she did it with the third-best mark in the nation this season, the fifth-best mark in California history and the second-best effort ever from a Central Section competitor at 13 feet, 6 inches. The next closest competitors -- Clairemont-San Diego's McKenzie Johnson, Foothill-Santa Ana's Victoria Rische and Granite Bay's Katie Zingheim -- were well back at 12-4.

"I can't believe it," Anginae said. "This is what I came to state to do. I'm amazed it really happened."

It was no coincidence that Anginae became the only girl out of the 12 in the competition to clear 12-8 on her third attempt -- seconds after watching Alyssa speed past in the 300 hurdles.

"That got me hyped up to keep going," Anginae said.

That she did, clearing 13-3 and eventually 13-6, which moved her ahead of Kingsburg's Melissa Price, who had the second-best mark in section history with a 13-1-3/4 in 1995.

Anginae took three cracks at 13-9, which would have topped the section record of 13-8-1/2 set by Memorial's Kira Costa in 2003, but she couldn't get over that mark.

But it was quite the improvement for a competitor who cleared 9-0 as a first-time vaulter her freshman year, then 10-0 as a sophomore and 12-2 as a junior.

"I never thought I'd get this far," Anginae said. "It's still sinking in."

Alyssa clocked a 42.49 in the 300 hurdles, finishing behind Melia Cox of Long Beach Poly (41.80) and Jordie Munford of Rancho Cucamonga (41.90). Alyssa said she has come a long way, too, since her beginnings at Clovis West.

"I feel like I had a lot of success," Alyssa said. "Now I'm going to the school I wanted to attend. It's more than I anticipated as a freshman."

Big turnaround

Redwood's Lissette Mendivil couldn't have been more disappointed Friday, despite qualifying for the discus finals for the second straight year.

Her qualifying mark of 141-0 was eighth of the nine who moved on, and she was clearly upset at the end of preliminaries. But she improved enough Saturday to earn a third-place medal after unleashing a throw of 147-10.

"I think I had more pressure on myself [Friday] because I had to get here," said Mendivil, who placed seventh as a sophomore.

"Today, there was no pressure. Being on that medal stand is a big accomplishment. I'm really happy with myself."

Clovis West's Nonny Okwelogu also medaled, placing sixth in 137-0.

Stockdale's Alex Collatz, the state leader in the event who has competed all season with a bulky brace as she recovers from a major knee injury in September, had to pass on her final two attempts after slipping badly on her fourth throw. She finished seventh after uncorking a 164-2 in preliminaries -- which don't count in the finals.

Not his day

Lemoore's Kyle Fraley has the state's top mark in the pole vault this season at 16-4, but didn't come close to that in the finals.

After qualifying Friday among a nine-boy group that all came in at 15-3, Fraley failed to clear the opening mark of 14-6.

"That's the way it goes sometimes," said the Sacramento State-bound Fraley. "It's bittersweet, but I'm excited for next year. There's always more to come."

Clovis' Scott Greenman finished in a tie for third at 15-6 (he placed fourth) and Clovis East's Brad Beekman was tied for sixth at 14-6.

Another medal

Redwood's Dillon Root walked away with a second straight long jump medal, placing fourth in 23-3, improving from a sixth-place effort last season.

"My hamstring was really bothering me, but it was my last time so I went all out," Root said. "Fourth is better than last year, so I am not disappointed."

Root had hoped to eclipse the school record of 24-4 set by BB Malone, but went over the board on an attempt that might have traveled that far.

"I could feel it," said Root, who is headed to Fresno State on a football scholarship. "That was my school record down the drain."

Nice debut

Central's Willie Alexander made the most of his first trip to the state meet, placing fourth in the triple jump in 47-9.

"It's not the farthest I've been, but I feel good about what I did," said Alexander, a junior who also competed in the long jump preliminaries. "I'm proud. Hopefully this is not my last time here."