Sunday, May 5, 2024

Ventura County Youth Track Conference Varsity Finals and a Wedding

Saturday, May 4, 2024
We geared up for a special day of Camarillo Cosmos track at Camarillo H.S.

How special was it? 

Quite special as it was the VCYTC's
Varsity Finals Meet

In every event, at every age level for both Boys and Girls, only the nine athletes with the best marks would be competing today for County Championships.

Last year, in Jacob's first year of running track for the Cosmos, he did not qualify for this meet in any event.

This year he is the only Cosmos Boy in his age group to qualify for the Varsity Finals in five events.

Today, Jacob would be busy competing, in order, in the 4 x 100 Meters Relay, the Long Jump, the 400 Meters Dash, the 200 Meters Dash and the 4 x 400 Meters Relay.

While Jacob has competed in all five of these events all season, today would be much more challenging.

First there was the high level of competition meaning there would be no easy events in which to cruise today.

Secondly, with only one race for each of the events for Boys and Girls by age group instead of the usual endless heats, the time for recovery between events would be much shorter.

Another stress point today was next week's Super Varsity Meet with either the Santa Barbara Youth Track Conference or the San Fernando Valley Youth Track Conference, we are not sure which. Both of these Conferences were holding their Varsity Finals today also.

Regardless of whichever conference it actually is, there were two ways to make it to the Super Varsity Meet next Saturday at Thousand Oaks H.S.

The first way was to finish in the top three of an event at their respective Varsity Finals today. After those six athletes earned their automatic bids, the next three best marks from today's two Varsity meets would round out the field of nine in next week's Super Varsity Meet, the last one of the Spring.

Finally, it was time for Jacob to compete and for us to cheer.

It started with the 4 x 100 Meters Relay . . .

Jacob on his normal Third Leg of
the Relay running the Curve

He ran an excellent leg

The Boys ran a Season Best 57.27

They beat their previous best by 0.96 seconds which earned them the Fifth Place Medal.

The team will have a tall order to make to next week's meet having come in fifth today.
Up next was the Long Jump

This may be Jacob's favorite event but his jumps have been inconsistent the last few meets.

Getting to top speed

Taking off


Solid air time


Sticking the landing

Jacob with his Fourth Place
Long Jump Medal

His best jump today and in the last few weeks was 13'-7" which initially tied him for Third Place.

When a tie occurs in this event, it is broken by seeing which athlete had the better second best mark today.

Unfortunately, Jacob lost both the tie-breaker and the automatic bid to the Super Varsity Meet. I think that he has a good chance to be in the group of three next best marks that also go to next week's meet.

Time for the grueling 400 Meters Dash

Jacob and the Thousand Oaks Flyers runner in green have been the top two runners in this event all season with the T.O. athlete having the better time.

Jacob's only loss in this event was to this Flyer in a race that saw both of them attain PRs.

They were at it again today

The Curve was critical

The Flyer took the lead


Amazingly all eight runners
achieved PRs in this race!

Jacob's time of 65.43 was 0.87 seconds faster than he had ever run before. His second place finish also guaranteed him a spot in the Super Varsity Meet next Saturday.

Two friendly competitors
before claiming their medals

The three Medal Winners on the
blue stand will all be competing
at the Super Varsity Meet

Three events, three medals. Life is GOOD!

Time for some rest, nourishment
and Marine Biology reading
before his next event

Michael going over Jacob's
strategy in his last two races

The 200 Meters Dash

Jacob qualified ninth in this event. His initial goal here was simple, beat at least one runner.

He got out of the blocks well

The form was looking good

Making up the stagger

He is actually ahead of both
of these competitors


Driving to the Finish Line

Still feeling the effects of his 400 Meters PR, Jacob struggled with his form towards the end of this race.

His time of 30.25 was good for Sixth Place. He did not earn a medal but he moved up from his ninth seed as was his goal.

He will probably not make Super Varsity in the 200 Meters Dash.

He only had one more event to run, but it was a tough one, as the Anchor Leg of the 4 x 400 Meters Relay.

This event is my favorite and is always the last running event of each and every track meet. First, it requires athletes with courage to run another grueling sprint at the end of a long day.

A close finish in a 4 x 400 is as exciting as it gets in a track meet if you ask me.

By this time of a meet, many families are long gone for the day and several athletes are glad to have departed with their parents and not to have run in this event that is not for the faint of heart.

Not Jacob.

Running the 4 x 400 has become a badge of honor for him.

Part of it maybe that this race is legendary in his family's lore.

The story has often been retold of his father, Michael, winning his only Ventura County Youth Track Conference Varsity Final Gold Medal as a member of the 1987 Camarillo Cosmos 4 x 400 Meters team.

Michael would eventually run legs on a total of three Cosmos 4 x 400 Meters teams that would go on to win VCYTC Varsity Finals Gold Medals during his youth track career.

Let's see if history would repeat itself today.


Another reason that I love this race is that it requires FOUR athletes with the courage needed to win working in harmony.

The Cosmos first runner, seen here, opened up with a great leg handing off the baton with about a 15 meter lead on the pack.

Staying far ahead of the Oxnard Stars team was a must if the Gold was the goal.

Fighting through the pain

Another excellent leg was needed and this young man delivered.

When he handed off the baton, the Cosmos had expanded their lead to approximately 25 meters.

The scheduled third runner had opted to go home with his parents about two hours before this relay.

The Cosmos found a willing runner to plug in. God bless his sizable heart!

The Cosmos Third Leg was battling
one of Oxnard's best 400 Meter runners

The Cosmos runner battled all the way but was passed by the Stars sprinter about 60 meters from the handoff zone.

Still a courageous leg by our young man to be sure!

Jacob received the baton about five meters behind the Stars anchor.

Now the excitement was building.

Jacob closed the gap quickly
in the back stretch

Would he have anything left?

Making his move on the Curve . . .

. . . even . . .

. . . and PASSING!

GO JACOB . . .

. . . GO!

Jacob had plenty left in the homestretch and crossed the finish line about ten meters ahead of the Oxnard Stars runner.

Clink on this link to watch Jacob's Anchor Leg via Facebook:

AWESOME WIN to end the day!

The Contreras Family now had two Gold Medals in this race at
this same age group, just 37 years apart.

The team's time of 4:42.18 was their Seasonal Best, a whopping 4.19 seconds faster than their previous best time.

They'll run again at the Super Varsity Finals.

Michael was ecstatic about the
way the day unfolded

The Cosmos Four with their
Gold Medals on the Podium

Jacob's family were all so
incredibly proud of his efforts

So were we.

Five events, four medals, yeoman's work today by our youngster.

We know that Jacob will compete in the Super Varsity Finals in the 400 Meters Dash and 4 x 400 Meters Relay for sure.

Now we all wait to see if any of his marks in the 4 x 100 Meters Relay, Long Jump and/or 200 Meters Dash will be good enough to earn more spots in the season's last youth track meet.

We received this photo of a
passed out Jacob at about 6:00 p.m.

Our day was not over, we still had a wedding to attend.

Our Rio Mesa H.S. colleagues, Rick and Linda Torres', daughter Chianne was getting married to her long time beau, Kyle Sullivan.

Kyle and Chianne about to
exchange rings

Chianne's daughter, Callie, is gleefully watching on the left.

The wedding was held at the Strathern Historical Park in Simi Valley which is a fine spot for a fun ceremony.

We reconnected with several Rio
Mesa H.S. friends at the reception
under this man's watchful eye

It is a Historical Park, you know.

It was a fun, high caloric way to end a wonderful day on many levels!

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