DHS hosts annual Halden Invitational, thousands of athletes compete

Davis High athletes gather around the Blue Devil tent on the infield during the annual Halden Invitational. (Photo: J. Moddelmog)

By Meghan Bobrowsky, Bailey MkNelly, Jamie Moddelmog, Annie Cui & Annabelle Zhou,
BlueDevilHUB.com Staff–

The Davis High track and field team hosted its annual Halden Invitational on April 22, attracting nearly 2,000 athletes from across Northern California. Winners of each event received backpacks, and the top three finishers in each heat were awarded water bottles.

At the end of the day, head coach Spencer Elliott declared this year’s invitational “the first perfect meet we’ve had,” meaning none of the cameras malfunctioned during any of the races.


The field events, shot put and discus, promptly at 10 a.m.; however, due to traffic, some athletes did not make it to the meet, according to junior Tazio Rosenberg.

“There are a lot of guys who can throw 50 feet, which is a really good mark for high school and only one of them came,” Rosenberg said.

Regardless of the competition, the junior placed third in varsity men’s shot put with a personal best of 46-03. Senior Wesley Romer placed ninth in 40-06 and senior Bobby Scott placed 14th with a mark of 36-07.25.

Scott explains how shot put works and how to warm up:

In varsity women’s shot put, junior Isabella Campos placed eighth with 26-04. Seniors Hannah Herrgesell and Jaz Brayton threw 23-11.75 and 23-11.50, respectively.

Rosenberg also took third in the varsity men’s discus with a throw of 145-06.5. And although Herrgesell claims her worst event is discus, she placed fifth in the varsity women’s discus with a throw of 85-04.

She describes a typical day at practice:


At the same time throwing events started, the track events kicked off with the varsity women’s 4×100 relay team finishing in second in 50.26 after St. Francis. The Davis team consisted of seniors Abby McIntyre, Tessa Malone, Julia Curtis and junior Brooke Rubinstein anchoring.

“It went well. We had some blips with some of our handoffs but most of them went really well. Everyone on the team ran a super fast leg so I think it says something good about our future races that if we just fix that one little problem, we can be super fast,” McIntyre said.

The men did not compete in the 4×100. However, several male athletes competed in the varsity men’s 110-meter hurdles.

Senior Andrew Roessler came in sixth at 16.67, and the remaining three Blue Devils finished within half a second of each, junior Hao-Ju Chen rounding it out at 17.97. Senior Mimi Miyamoto was the sole 110-meter hurdler for the women’s team. She finished third in 16.41, about a second after the winner finished in 15.34.

“I clipped a hurdle at the beginning and because of that I did four steps in between instead of three steps. Three steps is the ideal amount of steps for optimum speed, and I did four steps because of that,” senior Brandon Hein said.

The varsity 400 meter dash yielded a single Davis competitor for men’s and women’s races, each finishing around the middle of the pack. Junior Delaney Seward finished 13th with a time of 1:05.33 and junior Jeremy Falk finished ninth in 53.52.

Three of the 4×100 team members returned to race individually in the 100-meter dash, led by Rubinstein in third (12.64). The men were led by junior Jack Hoal, who finished in 13th (12.01).

Senior Lilja Jelks and junior Claire Deamer raced each other in the third heat of the varsity women’s 300-meter hurdles, with Jelks finishing a few seconds faster at 51.74. Roessler repeated his sixth-place title (42.71), this time behind junior Andrew Vallero (42.66).

Rubinstein (25.92), Malone (26.01) and Curtis (27.29) also ran in the varsity women’s 200-meter race. The sole runner in the men’s varsity 200-meter race was junior Jubilee Emojong, who finished 23rd in 25.55.

Finally, Rubinstein returned to race for a fourth time as a member of the winning women’s 4×400 team, along with seniors Julia Curtis, Bailey MkNelly and Alyssa Lengtat. They finished in 4:08.34, several seconds ahead of second place.

The men’s 4×400 team, consisting of seniors Simon Ford and Andrew Roessler, junior Jeremy Falk and sophomore Juan Zarate-Sanchez, were unable to match the women’s finish, landing in fifth in 3:46.09.


Sophomore Will Ewens warms up for pole vault. He competed in the Frosh/Soph division. No Blue Devils competed in the men’s varsity division. (Photo: M. Bobrowsky)

No Blue Devils competed in the varsity men’s pole vault; however, two DHS women did: seniors Emily Meyer and Kate Miller. Meyer won by a margin of six inches, finishing at 11-06. Miller placed third in 10-0.

Miller described pole vault as “basically high jump with a stick except you’re supposed to go over the bar stomach side instead of on your back.” Other than that, the event runs the same way: three attempts at each height, she said. “Miss three in a row, and you’re out.”


Lybbert’s extreme arch over the bar earns her first place in the varsity women’s high jump. (Photo: B. MkNelly)

The varsity women’s high jump left all of its athletes with season bests.

Sophomore Hannah Lybbert placed first with a jump of 5-01. Mknelly and junior Laura Young placed third and fourth respectively with jumps at 4-11, a three inch personal record for Young. Lybbert’s success in the high jump left her was optimistic about the rest of her season.

“Now that I’m able to jump 5-01 I think it can just go up from here and just get better towards the end of the season,” she said.

The varsity men’s high jump wasn’t quite as successful; however, sophomore Aidan Doms neared his personal record with a 5-09 clearance earning him fifth place overall.

Long jump resulted in more impressive jumps from the men’s side rather than the women’s side.

Junior Jack Hoal sits in midair and prepares to end his long jump. (Photo: A. Cui)

Junior Jack Hoal placed second with a jump of 20-01. Juniors Ty Wilkinson and Tommy Aquino both set personal records.

On his first attempt, Aquino scratched an 18-foot jump and was disappointed, fearing he would be unable to jump that far again. But on his last jump, he surpassed 18 feet with a jump of 18-02, breaking his past record by over a foot.

Junior Annie Cui approached her record placing eighth in the varsity women’s long jump in 15-10.5.

Cui and senior Aaron Moore both placed fourth in the triple jump.


As the meet wound down for the sprinters and field events, the Halden Distance Carnival began. From 4:40 p.m. until the invitational ended at 8:40 p.m., the track was dominated by nonstop distance races. The four hours saw multiple heats for both men and women of the 1600, 800 and 3200-meter races.

“We want to have a lot of pride and do a really good job in hosting this meet,” distance head coach Bill Gregg said, “And I think it went very well.”

Gregg and other distance coaches with the help of Davis volunteers made sure the carnival operated as smoothly and quickly as it could, getting the next race going as soon as the prior race ended.

The Blue Devils showcased their own talented distance program at the meet, with many runners racing their best times. Top Davis runner and Stanford commit Michael Vernau won the 800-meter race in 1:56, with teammate senior Nicholas Leacox coming in close behind for fourth place in 2:01.

The 3200-meter was an interesting race for returning race champion Vernau, due to a burst of energy from competitor Omar Maklaf in the second-to-last lap of the race.

“I was scared,” Vernau said. “I thought he was a sprinter or something and I was totally going to have haul for the last 400.”

Vernau was relieved when Maklaf abruptly stopped at the finish line, believing it to be the last lap. Vernau went on to win the race easily in 9:29.

The Davis runners also achieved numerous personal records in the 1600-meter race with freshman Zeno Castiglioni, sophomore Tristan Sturm and senior Kyle Tran all running their first sub-five minute mile.

Juniors Sam Blakewell and James Brunette, along with sophomores Bryce Gregg and Kyle Henricson, also all ran the best times of their high school careers.

On the women’s side, junior Olivia O’Keeffe captured victory in the 800-meter race with a season record of 2:18. Freshman Auden Marsh-Armstrong ran a personal record of 2:30.

O’Keeffe, coming off an injury, also ran well in the 1600-meter race, coming in fourth at 5:05, one second behind third-place finisher senior Sofia Castiglioni.

Senior Abbey Fisk and sophomores Sophie Lodigiani and Annie and Ruthie Mitchell dominated the final and fastest varsity women’s 3200-meter race. Fisk and Lodigiani took third and fourth while the Annie and Ruthie took seventh and ninth, respectively.

The team’s success at the meet after racing three days earlier against Monterey Trail has Gregg feeling confident about the future.

“We saw some really good stuff today,” he said. “I think we’re really in the spot we need to be in to make some noise at the League Championships.”

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