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By Zach Cavanagh
San Clemente track and field athletes benefited from familiar surroundings in the Triton Invitational on Saturday, March 19, at San Clemente High School.
Senior sprinter Caroline Hawkes, senior vaulter Aidan Bennett and junior jumper Griffin Schwab each posted victories in their respective top events and were among several strong Triton performances that earned podium positions.
Hawkes posted a pair of personal records in her two top sprints to maintain her spot as one of the county’s premier runners.
Hawkes posted a wind-aided time of 24.66 seconds to win the girls 200-meter race by nearly a full second. She was the county leader in the 200 entering the weekend. Hawkes also took second in the 100-meter sprint with a time of 12.16 seconds, just 0.19 seconds behind Elizabeth Hatton of Sage Creek.
The top five runners in the 100 each set a personal record, and five of the top six finishers in the 200 also set personal marks.
Schwab was a county leader entering the weekend in the boys high jump. While he didn’t hit his best personal mark, Schwab still won the high jump with a clearance of 6 feet, 2 inches to beat the field by two inches. Schwab also finished fourth in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 16.37 seconds.
Bennett edged out the field in the boys pole vault. The top four vaulters all cleared 13 feet, 9 inches, but Bennett did so in fewer attempts to take the win.
On the girls side, three other Tritons took podium positions.
Senior Portia Kipper took second in the high jump with a clearance of 5 feet, which tied the top mark by Hannah Wons of Orange Lutheran. However, Wons won with fewer attempts.
Junior Kylan Brown was fourth in the triple jump with a leap of 31 feet, 2 inches. Sophomore Chloe Waters also took fourth in the 300-meter hurdles with a personal record time of 49.3 seconds.
On the boys side, there were five podium finishes.
Senior Brennan Dougherty took two of those finishes in the triple jump and the high jump. Dougherty finished third in the triple jump with a personal record at 40 feet, 5 inches. He also tied for fifth in the high jump with a clearance of 5 feet, 8 inches.
Senior Brendan Byrne finished second in the long jump with a personal-record mark of 21 feet, 5.5 inches. Marcus Harris of Vista won the event at 21 feet, 9 inches.
In the 800-meter race, junior Taj Clark and sophomore Jackson Brownell finished third and fourth, respectively. Clark posted a personal record of 2:04.5, and Brownell was clocked at 2:05.3.
San Clemente baseball is on a hot streak. The Tritons (8-4, 2-0) opened last week with wins in their first two Sea View League games over Aliso Niguel, 11-5 and 3-2. San Clemente rolled those wins into tournament play with six straight victories, including a 20-3 romp over Summit of Fontana on Tuesday, March 22. The Tritons return to league play on Friday, March 25, at home against San Juan Hills.
San Clemente softball will look to bounce back in league play this week. The Tritons (6-7, 0-1) lost their league opener against Capistrano Valley, 6-3, at home on Thursday, March 17. San Clemente next hosts Trabuco Hills on Thursday, March 24, and doesn’t play again until the following Thursday, March 31, at home against El Toro.
San Clemente girls lacrosse remains unbeaten into league play. The Tritons (7-0, 1-0) opened the South Coast League with a 10-3 win at San Juan Hills on Tuesday, March 22. San Clemente has scored 10 or more goals in every game this season and has yet to allow more than nine goals. The Tritons, ranked No. 7 in the combined CIF-SS Division 1/2 poll, face their strongest test yet on the road at No. 1-ranked Foothill on Thursday, March 24. San Clemente hosts Aliso Niguel in league play on Tuesday, March 29.
San Clemente boys lacrosse opens South Coast League play on Thursday, March 24. The Tritons (4-4) begin at home against Tesoro. San Clemente is coming off back-to-back, one-goal, 13-12 losses against Aliso Niguel and Yorba Linda last week. The Tritons play perennial power Corona del Mar on the road on Saturday, March 26, and return to league play to host Trabuco Hills on Wednesday, March 30.
Zach Cavanagh is the sports editor for Picket Fence Media. Zach is multiple California Journalism Award winner and has covered sports in Orange County since 2013. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @ZachCav and follow our sports coverage on Twitter @SouthOCSports. Email at firstname.lastname@example.org.