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Capistrano Valley's Haley Herberg posted the top time in California with a 4:52.06 in the 1,600 meters on Saturday at the Trabuco Hills Invitational. (Zach Cavanagh, Contributor)

Capo Valley's Herberg, Northwood's Adler collect impressive wins at Trabuco Hills Invitational

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

MISSION VIEJO – The distance carnival portion of the Trabuco Hills Invitational took place on Friday, but that didn’t stop the fun for county runners in the meet’s longer races on Saturday.

Capistrano Valley’s Haley Herberg posted the state’s season-best time in the mile, Erika Adler of Northwood set a personal record in the 3,200 meters and Mission Viejo’s Whitney Hessler had an explosive second lap to win the 800 at Trabuco Hills High.

In the 1,600, Herberg led wire-to-wire as she pushed the pace from the gun, growing her lead with each lap.

“I knew I was going to be going for the win today, but there’s some other really competitive girls,” Herberg said. “I just didn’t want to get boxed out in the beginning, so I just took it out as fast I could.”

Herberg won with a time of 4:52.06, the top time in California this season and third-best in the country.

“I feel really lucky, and I’m just trying to keep the good streak going,” Herberg said.

Adler opened the meet’s first race by pushing out ahead in the 3,200. Just after the halfway lap, Adler pulled away from the pack.

“Usually pick up the pace on the sixth or seventh lap,” Adler said. “I felt a little sore because I raced last night (in the 1600). I just followed what my coach asked me to do and picked up the pace.”

Adler set a personal record at 11:00.33 and won by 14 seconds.

In the 800, Hessler held back with the group on the first lap, but used a perfectly timed kick in the second lap for a win at 2:15.15.

“I usually get out really hard and try to lead it, but this time I let someone else lead it and rode off them for a little while,” Hessler said. “I felt really good on my kick and took them off one by one.”

In the 300 hurdles, Santa Margarita’s Nikki Merritt won the longer hurdle discipline (44.98 seconds) despite catching a little of the hurdles late.

“I think the race started out really strong, so that’s always a conifidence booster,” Merritt said. “Got a little tired at the end, had a few stumbles, but just have to get through it and get through the line.”

Woodbridge came up with a monster anchor leg to pull out a win in the 4x400 relay at 3:59.16.

Kate Thomas of Santa Margarita won the girls pole vault at 12 feet, 3 inches and a tiebreaker on attempts at 11-9.

El Toro’s Alaysha Green took the girls shotput with a distance of 39-7.

Cole Smith of Newport Harbor was named the boys field athlete of the meet.

Smith was a double-winner with a lifetime-best shotput of 61-8 and a solid 166-9 in the discus.

“I just wanted to get some big marks, and it definitely worked out in shotput,” Smith said.

“Established a really great rhythm in warmups, keep building on it, let the intensity of the competition take over.”

Smith has had a strong start in trying to take over the open mantle as the county’s top thrower and is back on track after an early illness caused him to drop some weight.

“I’m working on just some really small technical aspects of the spin,” Smith said of his shotput form. “As youre throwing farther, it starts to get smaller and smaller pieces of the throw that you want to perfect.”

Aliso Niguel’s Michael Phillippy continued a strong early season with a win in the 400 and a personal record at 48.17 seconds.

“I just went out and executed how I do in practice and how I’m trained,” Phillippy said. “I feel like I’m progressing at a steady rate. My coaches are really pushing me to do my best.”
Sean Lee of Trabuco Hills had a nice performance at his home meet with a high jump win at 6-10.

Upland and Carson had the best days for non-O.C. schools.

Upland took six wins overall with a dominant day in boys hurdles and boys track athlete of the meet Joseph Anderson.

Carson won four events in the girls with an impressive girls sprint performance with girls track athlete of the meet Kaelin Roberts.

Muir’s Micah Fulton took girls field athlete of the meet.


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