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Track and Field: Sharks come out on top in invitational

Alex Vejar, Staff Writer
1:16 pm PDT March 25, 2014

It was a record-setting day for the Malibu High School track team in the Marie Smith Malibu Invitational on Saturday, March 20.

Junior Caroline Pietrzyk finished with a time of 5 minutes and 2.93 seconds in the 1,600-meter run. The time not only eclipsed her personal best of about 5:11.00, but also set a new track record.

“I feel pretty good,” Pietrzyk said about her record-breaking time. “I wanted to go a little bit faster, but it’s good for an early-season race and I’m pretty proud of it.”

Head coach John Cary remembered three years ago when Pietrzyk first joined the cross country team.

“When I first saw her, she was a swimmer and she had no running ability,” Cary said of Pietrzyk. “I thought she would last maybe a week or two and then she would quit. And now we have her as one of the top 20 runners in the state in distance runs.”

Pietrzyk also achieved a second-place time of 2:24.11 in the 800-meter run.

The Sharks came away with several wins in Saturday’s meet. In the 100-meter hurdles, junior Michaela Cosentino and sophomore Madeleine Ward finished first and second, respectively. Cosentino clocked in a time of 16.97 seconds, while Ward crossed the finish line in 18.16 seconds.

Cosentino received first place for the varsity girls in the high jump with a height of four feet and 10 inches, and in the triple jump with a mark of 30-01.00.

For the boys, senior Dyer Pettijohn won two jumping events — the long jump with a trajectory of 21 feet and 8.5 inches and the triple jump with 40-09.00.

Freshman Jesse Nikora took top honors in the discus throw, launching 80 feet, 7.5 inches.

Jeff Nikora, coach of the throwing events, was pleased with the efforts of his entire team and feels they have a bright future.

“I’ve got two freshman who have been winning the frosh/soph in most meets in either the discus or the shot put,” Jeff Nikora said. “That tells me we’re going to have a really good team in two years.”

Malibu also had some high finishes in other running events. In the frosh/soph 300 meter hurdles, sophomore Eva Conrad earned second place with a time of 53.96 seconds, only narrowly losing to sophomore Kristen Doyan of Calabasas, who finished with a time of 53.92 seconds.

Freshman Abby Blackwood was less than two seconds shy of a win in the 400-meter dash, finishing with a second-pace time of 1:05.17. In the boys 400-meter relay, Malibu finished second with a time of 56.25 seconds.

Cary has been encouraged by his athletes so far in this young season.

“We are a Division IV school, so we don’t have the best athletes in the world, but we have good athletes,” Cary said. “We have athletes that really enjoy the sport. Right now, they are doing very well.”

Cary believes this year’s track team may be lacking in experience, but makes up for it with enthusiasm.

“We’re down as far as experienced track people, but we’ve got a lot of new people that are really excited about being on the team,” Cary said. “It’s making coaching this year really nice.”