Moore League Track Finals 5-5-17 -34.JPG

Long Beach Poly won a 23rd consecutive boys track and field Moore League title and an eighth straight girls title this year, but as expected Friday’s league finals at Veterans Memorial Stadium featured competitive racing and individual titles for a number of schools.

It was Poly’s day as the Jackrabbits won 15 of the 20 races, including both 4x100 relays to start the day.

“I’m very proud of the total team effort we saw today, we had two to three kids qualify for CIF in each event,” said Poly coach Crystal Irving. About the only thing that broke against Poly was a hamstring injury to football star and top sprinter Aaron Shampklin, who hurt himself warming up for a 100 meter race that he was the top qualifier for. Shampklin has a full academic scholarship to Harvard for the fall.

The Jackrabbits got double-event wins from Melissa Tanaka, who won her seventh total individual league titles by taking the 1600 and the 800. Tanaka won the mile all four years she was in high school.

“I feel so old being here now,” she laughed. “I’m glad I could go out right in my last league meet.”

Poly’s Jack Raymond also doubled, winning the mile and the two mile. Zion Bowens won the 200 (21.42) and the 400 (49.01) as expected. Bowens was a state finalist in the 400 last year and wants to make state in both races this year.

Star sprinter Ariyonna Augustine, a recent commit to Oregon, won the 100 and 200 for the Poly girls team—she won both events at the CIF Southern Section championships last year.

“I felt slow in prelims and I was happy with my times today,” said Augustine, who ran an 11.61 and a 23.60. “Now it’s CIF time.”

Jordan got individual race wins for the boys and girls as Maesean Misher took the 100 title in 10.69 and A’Lena Chaney won the 100 hurdles, an emotional race for Chaney as she’d been told by a prior coach that her eyesight was too poor to run the hurdles.

“I guess not,” she said.

Wilson got one of the most dominant wins of the day from Kennedy Meyer, who won the two mile in 11.18, a full 41 seconds faster than teammate Sabrina Del Bello and 42 seconds faster than Poly’s Lauren Fillipow, the closest non-Bruin. Meyer barely broke a sweat during the race and wasn’t even breathing hard after crossing the finish line.

“I’m going to UCLA next year and I’m not going to run so I really wanted to leave it all out there,” said Meyer.

Chris Hall won the 800 in 1:56 to give Wilson its other individual title on the track.

The Bruins boys also won the 4x400 relay to end the night, as the quartet of Kav Maroney, Steven Comacho, Emari Bennet, and Ian Issa went around in 3:20.

Millikan didn’t win any races but the Rams were dominant in the field events, as the city’s best throws program produced several league titles. Nanati Alailefaleula and Noah Holm won the shot put, while Alaina English and Imhotep Pryor won the discus.

Poly’s Zhane Smith won the long jump and triple jump while Jermel Jones won the boys triple and Jamil Douglas won the long jump.

Millikan’s Jose Sepulveda and Wilson’s Malaysia Gilbert won the high jump. Jordan had the only two entrants in the pole vault, with Malakai Casillas winning with a vault of eight feet.

CIF-SS prelims will take place next weekend at Trabcuo Hills with the CIF-SS championships to follow the next Saturday at Cerritos College.

Sports Guy Mike Guardabascio has been writing professionally for a decade, with his work published in dozens of Southern California magazines and newspapers. He's won numerous awards and is the author of the historical book "Football in Long Beach."

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