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ABOVE & BEYOND

Mayfield, Whitlock hurdle the competition to become area’s best

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ABOVE & BEYOND

Sierra High hurdler Courtney Whitlock and Weston Ranch hurdler Angell Mayfield are the 2009 Manteca Bulletin All-Area Track Athletes of the Year.

Photos by JONAMAR JACINTO and BRANDON PETERSEN/The Bulletin


POSTED June 25, 2009 2:29 a.m.
It’s hard to look back on everything the 2009 Bulletin All-Area Track Athletes of the Year, Sierra High hurdler Courtney Whitlock and Weston Ranch hurdler Angell Mayfield, were able to accomplish over the course of the season and not be thoroughly impressed.

Heading into the year, Whitlock made it her goal to break her own Sierra High record in the 300-meter hurdles and qualify for the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Championships in an individual event.

Done and done (and then some).

For Mayfield, the goals were less defined, but in the end, the results were remarkable, as the junior finished sixth in the state of California in the 110-meter hurdles.

Sierra head coach Anthony Chapman called Whitlock the “workhorse” of the Timberwolves highly-touted girls squad, because the UCLA-bound senior not only competed in the 300 and 110 hurdles, but also the 4x100 and 4x400 relay events.
“The hard thing was I had four events, more than anyone on the team,” Whitlock said. “You can’t let it get it to you though, because if you tell yourself you’re tired, you’re going to run that way.”

Although the stress of participating in so many events was difficult to deal with mentally, it also came with a sense of pride.
“Being a captain, I felt like a leader,” she said. “It makes you got out to practice every day wanting to do your best.”

On May 2 at Hughes Stadium in Sacramento, Whitlock made history for the second time in her career when she bested her own Sierra record in the 300 hurdles, turning in a 47.66-second finish, nearly half a second better than her previous mark.

Whitlock also finished first in every hurdle event she ran during the Valley Oak League season, save for one, a split-second runner-up finish to Oakdale’s Taya Sebring in the 110.

At divisionals, Whitlock finished fourth overall in the 300 and fifth in the 110 – beating Sebring in both events – to qualify for the Masters in each. Whitlock’s 4x100 relay squad also qualified for the Masters, finishing third with a 51.16-second finish.

“I just want to thank my coaches. They’re amazing,” she said. “The last four years with them has been a life-changing experience. If anyone out there wants to play a sport, go run track, because it’s great.”

“Great” is a word that Mayfield is becoming more and more accustomed to hearing about himself.

After Weston Ranch head coach Rick Cuevas brought in coach Alvin Pickettay to school Mayfield in the 300 and 110 this season, both went straight to work in taking the junior hurdler to unprecedented heights.

Mayfield, who will compete at the University of Oregon this weekend as part of the U.S. Junior Nationals, became only the third Manteca Unified School District track athlete ever to medal at the California Interscholastic Federation State Championships, June 6 in Clovis.

Mayfield, who broke his personal record at state trials a day earlier with a 14.15-second finish, took sixth overall at finals, finishing in 14.32 seconds.

“That was crazy, that was crazy,” Mayfield said with a smile. “There were a lot of fast people there. I got off (the blocks) fairly well, but I was making up ground during the race. Over the last hurdle, instead of focusing on the race, I looked to the side and I lost a couple of spots.”

Mayfield ran most of the race in third position and came within two hundredths of a second from finishing fourth overall.

“We knew Angell was good,” Cuevas said. “But we didn’t know how good he was going to be. But after taking him to Skyline, and seeing him run a great race there, I knew he was going to do well this season.”

Mayfield suffered a hamstring injury towards the end of the season, forcing him to concentrate solely on the 110. But once the injury started to heal, the times started to drop in a hurry.

“He was shocking all of us,” Cuevas said. “If we expected a 14.8, he would run a 14.5. If we expected a 14.4, he would run a 14.2. Then he ran a 14.15 at state.

“It was just amazing.”

Mayfield says his goal next season is to break 14 seconds in the 110 and work his way into the low 36s in the 300, as well as pick up where he left off at the state meet.

“With the talent he’s got, the sky’s the limit,” Cuevas said.
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