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Vista Murrieta track and field dominates Inland Empire Championships

04/13/2019, 9:30pm PDT

MURRIETA >> The consistency of Vista Murrieta’s track and field program is such that the Broncos continue to succeed, even when success isn’t always expected.

Vista Murrieta on Saturday dominated the Inland Empire Championships track meet, held at their own school. With one event left to be officially scored, the Broncos had clinched the boys title with 105.33 points to second-place King’s 45. The girls also won in a closer contest, tallying 67.5 points to Rancho Cucamonga’s 50.

The Broncos won with an exclamation point, too, running away to win the 1,600-relay at the end of the meet, as Tucker Moore, Jason Robinson, Michael Holland and Willie Coleman won by eight seconds in a time of 3 minutes, 24,26 seconds.

Vista Murrieta just competed against Great Oak in a Southwestern League dual meet Thursday night — always one of the top duals in the state, if not the country — with the boys tying 68-68 and the girls winning 78-58.

“It is tiring running these fast meets, especially in a two-day spectrum,” Robinson said, “but you just got to get it done — that’s how it is.”

Overall, Broncos athletes counted seven victories (both sides), though no double winners — sophomore Darius Hill got close, winning the high jump at 6-foot-5 and placing second in the long jump to Heritage’s Deondre Ruth (23-4) at 23-2.

Hill was particularly impressive shuttling — often running — from one end of the track to the other while competing in the long jump and the high jump at the same time.

“The long jump ended being late,” Hill said. “I’m not going to lie; I was really nervous having to go back and forth. I thought I wasn’t going to be able to make it. ..

“It was hectic,” he added, “but I had a lot of fun.”

So did Murrieta Mesa senior Chioma Okonkwo, who had the day’s other dominating performance.

Okonkwo, whose brother was a big part of the Rams’ state title in boys track a year ago, was the only triple-event winner.

In the day’s closest finish, Okonkwo edged Corona junior Egbe Ndipagbor by .006 seconds in the 400 meters, setting a new personal best of 55.201 seconds in the process. Earlier, she ran the second leg of the Rams’ winning 400-relay team (47.82), and later she won the 200 in 24.19, a meet record.

In the 400, her strategy was to close fast, which she did in overtaking Ndipaghor in the final 50 meters. In the 200, she focused on the beginning of the race, and it paid off.

“I think this race executed a pretty good start,” she said.

Three other athletes were double-winners Saturday. King senior Reyte Rash won both the 110 (14.54) and 300 hurdles (38.25), while Elsinore senior Soley Limon won the shot put (39-1 ¾) and discus (119-0).

Rancho Cucamonga senior Mark Perry outraced a field that included three of the top-25 marks in the state to win the 100 in 10.73. He also anchored the Cougars’ winning 400-relay team, which won in 41.32.

Perry, who ranked No. 8 in the 100 in the state entering Saturday, stayed in control in winning the 100.

“I feel like once you get out of the blocks, you kind of got to set the pace for the race,” Perry said. “You’ve got to maintain it. At the beginning, I wasn’t really out far ahead — we were all kind of in the same spot. Once I hit like 40 meters or so, I opened up my stride, and that’s when I started taking over.”

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