Canyon Cowboys track and field continued its hot start in 2023 on Thursday, when the team won its dual-Foothill League meet over the visiting Hart Indians.
Canyon’s boys won 104-27, while the Cowboy girls won 111-21, to both remain undefeated in league.
The girls’ team was led by junior Briana Bartone, who picked up individual wins in the 100- and 200-meter dash races, while also helping Canyon take both 4×100 and 4×400-meter relays.
The 4×400 team didn’t crack its top-four mark in California of 47.87 seconds but still won the event with a 48.39-second finish.
According to Cowboys head coach George Velarde, Bartone is the foundation for the girls’ relay teams.
“She’s the glue to that girls’ sprint team,” Velarde said in a phone interview. “If there’s a girl that has improved from last year, it’s her. She deserves all the credit in the world, she’s been working extremely hard.”
Bartone was joined in the relays but not in the sprints by teammate Mikaela Warr. Warr did not compete in Thursday’s individual sprints but has led the way this season with top-three marks in the state in the 100 and 200.
Freshman Aaliyah Edwards won the girls’ triple jump with a 31-foot, 5-inch leap. Velarde is excited for the next three seasons with Edwards on the squad.
“Aaliyah has a gymnastics background so a lot of her training is carrying over into her talent for track,” Velarde said. “She’s another one who isn’t afraid to put the work in. We’re very excited for her future.”
Canyon junior Cynthia Herrera also didn’t crack her Foothill League-leading time in the 3200-meter run but still won the event in 12:15.98 minutes.
Hart’s Laura Brennan reached a new personal best in shot put, with a 40-foot, 5.75-inch throw to reach the fourth-best mark in the state. The mark was just centimeters away from her CIF-winning throw last season.
Brennan also won the discus event with a 96-foot and 8.5-inch toss.
On the boys’ side, Cowboys junior Jeremiah Taylor won the 200- and 400-meter dash. Taylor topped the 200 with a 22.59-second finish.
“Jeremiah’s really started to come on strong,” Velarde said. “He came on a little slow in the beginning of the season, dealing with some minor injuries, but he’s getting a lot stronger. His times are showing what he’s going to be capable of doing over the next several weeks.”
Canyon junior George Stansell won both discus and shot put events. Stansell hit a 49-foot, 1-inch mark in shot, while hitting a new personal best of 150-foot, 4.75 inch throw in discus.
“George is the heart and soul of our throws program,” Velarde said. “He made it to the CIF Finals last year. For most kids to make it to the CIF Finals as a sophomore, you’d think that’d be a highlight, but it left a bad taste in this mouth. Boy is he competitive. He wants to be the best thrower in school history.”
Cowboys sophomore Jordehn Gammage won both hurdle events, and is inching toward a top time in the state with 110-meter hurdles. Gammage won the 110 in 15.88, a few ticks off his personal best. The sophomore also helped Canyon take the boys’ 4×100, along with Keyshawn Wooten, Josh Cambaliza and Navin Srinivasian, with a 43.84-second finish.
Hart junior Indiana Dunlap won the boys’ long jump, soaring past his previous best mark in league with a new personal record of 20 feet and 6.5 inches.
Indians’ sophomore Eli Ahten won the 3200 in 10 minutes and 1.32 seconds while Canyon’s Erick Leal won the 1600-meter run in 4 minutes and 32.47 seconds.
Not a ton of seniors are mentioned here for Canyon, but Velarde is proud of his young returners leading the way for his even younger newcomers.
“The corps that we had from last year, they’ve been showing the new kids how to work,” Velarde said. “They’ve been showing them how to do the things that are necessary to improve. It’s been very helpful to have that leadership experience, to show our young talented runners how to put in the work.”
While Canyon’s athletes have getting all the recognition, Velarde made sure to shout-out his coaching staff this year, who will be integral to Cowboy track and field’s potential return to the top.
“I want to praise our coaching staff,” Velarde said. “We are very proud of where we’re at right now. We have a ways to go but we understand we have a good team. We’re just trying to keep them on the right path to get them where they want them to be. I’m extremely proud of our coaching staff.”
Hart heads to West Ranch for a dual meet on Thursday while Canyon will get the week off from league action before returning on March 30 at Golden Valley.