Saugus High School is know throughout California as one of the best distance program California has ever seen. However, while Saugus distance creates magic sometimes it rubs off into other running events. For instance, Abbey Bryant and her talent of running hurdles. Abbey is a Senior going into this season and currently holds the 5nd All-Time Mark 100mH History and is 2nd All-Time Mark in the 300mH for Saugus High School. Yet she isn't done. Last year during Foothill League Finals she came up just short of winning her first ever hurdle title in the 100mH. It came all the way down to the last hurdle were Canyon's Seanna Nalbandyan was able to create some room and win by .12 seconds. With the graduation of Seanna nobody in league can challenge her except in the 300m hurdle race. Hart's Junior Kendall Delavega will give Abbey a run for her money to claim her first title in the hurdle events. It should be an interesting match-up that will go all the way down to League Finals. When her Senior season is over she has the chance of being Saugus's All-Time 100mH School Record holder and will definitely be in the 300mH Top 10 in Santa Clarita History.
Abbey Bryant Career Highlights
PR 100mH: 15.64 @ Foothill League FinalsPR 300mH: 46.30 @ Foothill League Finals 2nd All-Time in Saugus 300mH History
The last time a female Hart hurdler made it to C.I.F Prelims was back in 2013 by Lindsey Estrada. Since then no female competitors have been able to make it. Many have tried to qualified through Foothill League Finals, but have come up short. Until Kendall Delavega came and has shown promise that can resurrect the female indians.
Her first year showed her taking down the the JV Record helped by her former teammate, Kassie Matthews at League Finals back in 2014. She then doubled up and was league champion in the 300mH and 400 JV Division. Her second year was riddle with hamstring, and ankle problems; all though, she was able to still to qualify for C.I.F Prelims.
C.I.F Prelims she was only .01 from tying her personal best in the 300-meter-hurdles event; however, did not qualify for finals. Although personal records or qualifying would have been nice it was all about the experience to go against the best of the best in your division and eventually State.
Photo from Hart Track & Field Facebook
This upcoming season will test Kendall through her health on the track. With last season not going as planned it should be interesting to see if her body will cooperate with her.
When it comes to league the 300mH title is up in the air for anybody to take. With Canyon's prize hurdler Seanna graduated no one is a sure definite to win it all; except for Hart's Kendall Delavega and Saugus's Abbey Bryant.
Kendall Delavega Career Highlights
PR 300mH: 47.97 @ 2016 Foothill League Prelims PR 400m: 60.97 @ 2016 Foothill League finals 2016 Foothill League JV 400m Champion 2016 Foothill League JV 300mH Champion (JV Record)
It isn't easy being a Hart High Indian, especially a Hart Hurdler when it comes to living up to the shadows of legends past. Last year we wrote about how Cole Shirakata was the one to beat with only having ran two 110mH races in his entire career. Guess what, we hit it on the dot. Not only was he the one to beat, but he was the first Sophomore since 1992 to win a Varsity Foothill League Title in the 110mH. Last one to do so was another Hart Hurdle legend, Jason Medearis. We aren't saying that Cole is the next Jason, but being mentioned in the same company is an accomplishment on its own.
Ending his Sophomore campaign on a high note by posting a personal best of 15.73 at C.I.F Division 2 Prelims. Cole said in a recent interview that, "last year I was overjoyed to have made it to prelims but I wasn't quite ready to face the other amazing runners there. I left with a hunger for more. I go into this year with my mind set on running straight through prelims into finals." That experience alone puts him in line to do even better and has him focused.
In order for Cole to start climbing this ladder of greatness he will have to first realize and prove that his name will be mentioned with the greats. Once he does that he will have to surpass Number 10 All-Time in Hart's 110mH History Kelly Miller's time of 15.24c set in 1977. At the current moment Cole's personal best is .49 from matching Kelly's time all time best. Still tying the 10th best mark won't get him on the list. He will have to surpass it, but once he does that the road gets easier with the next 3 runners all being within .23 of each other. However, being able to surpass all these greats will not only be his only challenge of the season. Climbing the ladder with greats require challenges that Cole will face this season.
Cole Shirakata Career
PR 110mH:15.73 @ C.I.F Division 2 Prelims PR 300mH: 41.73 @ Foothill League Finals 2017 Foothill League 110mH Champion 2017 Hart High School Track Most Valuable Athlete
Photo from Hart Track & Field Facebook
Their are a few challenges that Cole will face this season and each one will be extremely difficult for his 2018 campaign.
One challenge is a weak foothill league and the departure of the 2014 class still having its affect. Since the 2014 class left, the foothill league has not been able to produce any sub 15 hurdlers or sub 39 hurdlers to grace the SCV landscape. Also most hurdlers at the current moment are floating in the 17's and only a few in the 16's. With a weak foothill league Cole will be playing a mental game until he graduates. The lack of competition will have to drive Cole to be the best by setting new personal bests for himself. In addition, he will have to take advantage of any meets that have high level talent to go up against.
The next is working on his weaknesses. It is no secret Cole's weakness is his block start. His blocks starts alone put him at a disadvantage; however, because of how smooth he is going over the hurdles he makes up for it without the untrained eye noticing. If he can fix this his time alone will drop by a second. The 2018 Season will prove a challenge to Cole Shirakata; however, it should be interesting season to watch or follow Cole in what he accomplishes during his Junior Season. Good Luck Cole on your journey.