And then there were three …

Three Santa Ynez High School track & field athletes are moving on to the CIF Southern Section Finals after strong showings at the CIF-SS Division 4 Prelims Saturday at Carpinteria High School.

Neta Ofiaeli, Quincy Valle and Alaynna Garza are practicing this week, getting ready for Saturday’s Finals at Torrance’s El Camino College.

Ofiaeli qualified in two events — the triple jump and the 100 meter dash.

Valle will compete in the shot put and Garza in the discus.

“We haven’t had anyone qualify for the 100 meter in the Finals, boys or girls, in over a decade,” said Santa Ynez head coach Ashley Coehlo. “Neta ran a 12.81 and qualified fifth.”

The big surprise came in the triple jump.

The talented freshman is in only her third week of practice for the event and jumped to a career-best 37 feet, 8.50 inches, to qualify second behind Los Angeles Wildwood senior Asha Fletcher, who jumped 38-1.25. Ofiaeli easily broke the old Santa Ynez High record (36-02).

“Neta didn’t want to run in the 4x100 so I asked her what other event she’d like to try,” said Coehlo. “Her results have blown everyone away. In three weeks, she’s become the fifth-ranked triple jumper in the Southern Section and she’s in the top 20 in the state. I think she’s just as surprised at her results as any of us. I don’t think she realizes the positive momentum she’s created. It’s just been a whirlwind of fun.”

Ofiaeli also had a chance to advance in the 200. She set a personal record at 26.61, but it wasn’t enough to move into the Finals.

“She still did great,” said Coehlo. “Given that she competed in three events and she had to go right from the 200 to the triple jump, I think her results were amazing.”

Valle competed in both the shot put and pole vault, moving to the finals in the shot.

“They held both events at the same time,” said Coehlo. “Quincy had to run back and forth between them. That was really stressful. But I’m happy she made it in the shot put. That’s her best event.”

Garza competed in the shot and discus, earning a spot in the discus finals and an alternate in the shot.

“She threw the discus over 100 feet — 103.6 — she knows she can throw further. The finals will give her that second chance,” said Coehlo.

The CIF Finals bring together all four Southern Section divisions. The top six in each division win medals. The top 12 combined among all divisions advance to the Masters Meet.

“We’re looking at three kids that all have a chance of walking away with a medal,” said Coehlo. “All three have to believe they have a shot at the Masters — I know I believe it.”

Hanni Richter (1600, 3200), Madison Holbrook (high jump), Jasper Kadlec (100, 200, long jump, triple jump) and Samuel Villa (discus, shot) also competed at the Prelims but failed to advance to the Finals.

“Hanni had a career PR in the 3200 and a season PR is the 1600," said Coehlo. "She did very well. Hanni placed significantly higher than was expected. Her performance was excellent. I’m pleased that she moved up in the rankings.

“It’s Madison’s first year in track and the experience may have been a bit overwhelming. All the girls had to clear 4 feet, 6 inches on their first jump and there were so many girls, she waited over an hour before she got to make her second. Still, the experience will be a huge bonus for her heading into next year.

“Sam struggled in his first couple of throws but hit the last one for a little better than 42 feet. He’s an incredibly hard worker who finished on a positive note. Just getting to the Prelims was huge because of all the powerhouse throwers at Lompoc, Dos Pueblos and San Marcos.

“And Jasper had the busiest day of everybody. He qualified in four events, had a career PR in the 200 and just missed moving to the Finals." 

Swimming

RIVERSIDE — Santa Ynez High swimmers Keller Haws, Jake Healey, Max Pecile and Henry Allen set a school record in the boys 200 freestyle relay for the fourth time this season Saturday at Riverside College but it fell just short of the time needed to qualify for the state championships .

“The last four times the boys competed, they kept getting faster and faster,” said Santa Ynez head coach Jake Kalkowski. “It was really impressive. They kept dropping time. It was exciting to see that.”

The quarter finished 12th in 1:29.30 in the Division 2 race of the CIF-SS Prelims.

“It was a consideration time but the time was not accepted,” said Kalkowski. “They finished off a great season but it ended Saturday.”

The same four swam a school record 3:16.62, a school record, in the 400 free relay semifinals and a 3:17.01 in the finals to finish 18th.

“Division 2 is the highest level we’ve been able to compete at,” said Kalkowski. "It’s quite a big deal for our team. Overall, it was a good trip to Riverside College.” 

Softball

Woodland Hills — The Santa Ynez Pirates (16-7-2) dropped a 5-0 decision to the Woodland Hills Louisville Royals (12-9-2) in the first round of the CIF-SS Division 5 softball plays.

“They scored all of their runs in the fourth and fifth innings,” said Santa Ynez head coach Benny Garcia. “It was a close game but we made too many errors. They probably should have had only one run but the bottom line is we didn’t score and you can’t win if you don’t score.”

Junior starter Armani Garcia had 10 strikeouts but the Pirates weren’t able to overcome the middle inning scores.

“We hit the ball well — Maggie Usher hit one off the top of the center field wall that bounced back in — but we just couldn’t string any hits together,” said Garcia. “Their pitcher was strong. I’d put her up against the best we’ve seen. We had a good run. I’m happy with our season.”

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