SACRAMENTO — What doesn’t this kid do well?
The eldest of Sierra High’s senior twin wunderkinds, Courtney Whitlock, took center stage Saturday at Hughes Stadium, the site of the 2009 Meet of Champions.
The highly prestigious event brings together the crème de la crème of the Sac-Joaquin Section track world annually, and Whitlock was one of just a handful of Timberwolves to receive an invite.
Whitlock was seeded 18th heading into her first race of the day, the 110-meter hurdles, and finished in 16.47 seconds, good for 12th place overall.
Whitlock had only received an alternate invitation to the 300-meter race, and headed into it not knowing if she would even have a chance to compete.
When she did receive the green light, she was placed in Lane 9 of the first heat.
“It was the fastest heat,” Whitlock said. “I got up there and started looking around at all of these awesome runners, and it was a little intimidating. But at the same time, it pushes you and makes you want to compete even harder.”
Heading into the meet, Whitlock and Sierra head coach Anthony Chapman practiced getting off to a fast start in the first 150 meters.
“Coach worked with me on getting out as fast as I can. The whole idea is, if you want it bad enough, you’re going to finish strong,” Whitlock said.
Whitlock was expecting to three-step maybe two hurdles during the race, but ended up three-stepping eight.
“That was huge,” she said. “I just kept going. You get into a really cool rhythm with the three-step.”
The results were undeniable, as Whitlock finished in 47.66 seconds in the wind and rain, nearly half a second faster than her 48.08-second performance at last season’s sun-drenched division finals.
The senior’s time was good for eighth overall.
“If it would’ve been better conditions, she would’ve run it even faster,” Chapman said. “I’m proud of Courtney, both her and her sister (Becca) work very hard.”
Chapman was especially pleased that Whitlock was able to get off to a fast start, something the hurdler says she will continue to do from here on out.
“She’s really coming around. Her technique is good,” Chapman said. “For her to three-step eight hurdles was awesome. There’s a lot left for her achieve (this season).”
Whitlock wasn’t alone in Sacramento, however.
Adam Bennett finished seventh in the frosh-soph boys discus with a toss of 122-feet, 8-inches.
Cristina Westover was sixth in the varsity girls shot put, turning in a throw of 106-09.
“I’m happy for our throwers,” Chapman said. “Cristina has been working threw a nagging injury, and Adam was just an alternate heading in. That says a lot.”
Sierra will now gear up for the Valley Oak League Championships Saturday at Oakdale High.
— Brandon Petersen