San Marcos hurdler Allie Jones (above, foreground) and 800-meter standout Erica Schroeder (below) set new records at the Santa Barbara County Championships.
Paul Wellman

Three high school track athletes were hanging out together during the Santa Barbara County Championships. Anthony Manahan, Michael Powers, and Kiasa Salgado had finished one-two-three in the varsity 400-meter run.

Salgado was asked about his unusual first name.

“It’s Kenyan,” he said. “It means ‘One who stands on his own.’”

“That’s a dope name,” declared Manahan​— ​enabling this aged reporter to quote the latest youthful transformation of a word with a formerly bad connotation, like “sick” or “bad” itself, into an affirmative expression.

Manahan then made a call on his mobile phone. “Mom,” he said, “I’m changing my name. I want to be called Kiasa.”

800-meter runner Erica Schroeder sets a new record at the Santa Barbara County Championships.
Paul Wellman

It is one of the salutary aspects of track and field that competitors from different teams ​— ​Manahan from Lompoc, Powers from Santa Maria St. Joseph, and Salgado from Santa Barbara ​— ​can take the time to engage in friendly conversations beyond the perfunctory handshake at the end of an event. The three seniors all pushed themselves to personal records (PRs) in the 400, Manahan winning in 49.37 seconds, followed by Powers (50.37) and Salgado (50.51).

Regardless of where you finish, a PR is like a medal to an athlete. It’s a measure of how hard and how smartly you trained to perform to the best of your ability. There’s no way to fool the stopwatch and tape measure. They’ll tell you if you’re slacking off or reward you with evidence of your improvement.

The County Championships last Saturday, April 22, at Carpinteria High produced some of the best performances in three decades of record-keeping.

San Marcos senior Erica Schroeder lowered her own meet record in the girls’ 800 meters to 2:13.45. Most importantly, she felt good doing it, having overcome the aches and pains that are the enemy of performance. An Achilles tendon problem prompted her to do the wise thing and rest early in the season rather than run relentlessly. “I’ve got to take care of myself,” she said. Schroeder is an elite athlete, heading to the University of Washington, with six sub-2:10 clockings to her credit, including a PR of 2:07.08 in winning the state championship as a sophomore on a night of perfect racing. She was a state finalist again last year, and you know her heart is set on making it there a third time.

Allie Jones, a San Marcos junior, is coming on like gangbusters. She won the 100 hurdles in 14.08, a new school, meet, and stadium record. The aspiring heptathlete also won the 100 meters, took second in the shot put, and anchored the winning 4×400 relay team. Jones gave credit to Santa Barbara’s Natasha Fesh­bach, a freshman at Yale, who won three straight county hurdle titles. “She made me run faster,” Jones said. Now that she’s shattered Feshbach’s record, she added, “I’ll tell her nicely.”

Another three-time champion is Salgado. The Santa Barbara senior ran away in the 300 hurdles despite knocking down the last two barriers. Dos Pueblos had winners in the distance races, Hunter Clark taking the boys’ 1,600 and Christina Rice lapping several girls in the 3,200. Rice is going to UCLA and looks forward to seeing Schroeder and former DP star Addi Zerrenner, who’s at Arizona, in Pac-12 competition.

Anybody who’s attended a meet at San Marcos knows that the school goes all out in track and field. The participation and energy that the Royals put into the sport resulted in their sweeping top team honors in every category at the county meet. Among their other winners were junior sprinter Jenny Nnoli in the girls’ 200 and 400, and her older brother Brian Nnoli, who twice exceeded 46 feet in the triple jump, winning at 46′1¾.

Around the Track

Dos Pueblos graduate Stamatia Scarvelis, who won three consecutive state championships in the girls’ shot put, has transferred from UCLA to Tennessee, where she has broken the Vols’ record in the hammer throw with a heave of 64.86 meters (212′9½). … Barbara Nwaba, the Santa Barbara Track Club’s Olympic heptathlete, is healing from a stress fracture in her left knee. … UCSB junior Jenna Hinkle set a school record of 4:16.62 in the women’s 1,500 at the Stanford Invite. … Jordan Hasay of Arroyo Grande was a phenomenal runner from age 12, when she left adults in the dust in Santa Barbara road races, through her high school years. She had her ups and downs in college and fell short of Olympic qualifying. But last week, at age 25, she seems to have found her bliss in the marathon. She finished third at Boston in 2 hours, 23 minutes, an American women’s record for a marathon debut. … Beverley Lewis, for years one of the most-watched people at a track meet (when she fires the starter’s pistol), has been named the 2017 Southern Cal Female Official of the Year by the California Coaches Association. … Kudos to the Carpinteria High crew that puts on the county meet, the Russell Cup, and the CIF Division 4 prelims every year. One of its diligent workers is Ben Hallock, the school’s football coach, who is retiring after 38 years in education. He also coached at Bishop Diego and Santa Barbara High, his alma mater.

John Zant’s Game of the Week

4/28: Track & Field: Special Olympics More than 300 special education students will represent 35 area schools (elementary to high school) in the ninth annual School Games. The meet will begin with an Olympic-style parade of athletes, followed by running, jumping, and throwing competition. 9am. La Playa Stadium, SBCC, Loma Alta and Shoreline Dr. Free. Call 884-1516 or visit

S.B. Athletic Round Table: Athletes of the Week

Paul Wellman

Hailee Rios, San Marcos softball

The Fresno State recruit pitched a complete game and drove in four runs with a homer and a double in an 8-4 win over Dos Pueblos. In a 5-4 win over Ventura, she had the game-winning RBI and a save.

Paul Wellman

Kiasa Salgado, Santa Barbara track

He won his third title in the varsity 300-meter hurdles at the Santa Barbara County Championships, matching his best time of 39.36 seconds, and placed third in the 400. He is bound for UC San Diego.


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