Scott top Oak Ridge performer at state meet

By: Matt Long
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Things didn’t go exactly as planned for the three Oak Ridge High athletes competing at Friday and Saturday’s state track and field championships in Cerritos. But luckily for Hayley Scott, Samantha Ralstin and Timery Mueller, they all have at least two more chances to get back to the state meet, as Scott and Mueller are sophomores, while Ralstin is only a freshman. Scott had the best day of the three, accomplishing one of her goals by breaking five minutes in the 1,600-meter run. Scott finished seventh in her heat on Friday in 4 minutes, 59.37 seconds. She ended up missing the finals by one position and placed 13th overall, just four-tenths of a second from being one of 12 runners to make the finals. “I was really happy and excited to break five minutes, but I was kind of bummed to not make the finals. I was so close, but I was so tired at the end and I had nothing left. “Now next year I want to be in the finals for sure.” Scott quickly learned that competing at the state meet is not the same as competing in Northern California. “It was a completely different race for me,” Scott said. “I’m used to going out hard, settling in and then kicking it in at the end. In this race everyone went out hard and didn’t slow down. “I stayed with the pack for about two-and-one-half laps and then fell back. I came back and gained on them and passed one on the last lap, but I was so tired at the end I couldn’t catch the last girl which would have put me in the finals.” While Scott said she was really nervous before the race, she said it helped her more than hurt. “I was nervous because there were a lot of people there and I was a bit unsure or myself, but in the end I think it helped to pump me up,” Scott said. “I was happy with the way I raced, and the experience will help me next year.” Scott entered the meet seeded 18th, so in the end she improved her seed by five spots. Ralstin finished her race in the 800 meters in 2:18.52 and placed 21st overall. She didn’t accomplish her goal of a personal-best run and wasn’t entirely pleased with her performance. “I don’t think I did my best,” Ralstin said. “Everybody else was an upperclassmen and has been doing this forever, while I’m not that experienced.” While Ralstin was competing in the biggest race of her life, she wasn’t as nervous as expected. In fact she said she was more nervous at the Masters meet than she was at the state meet. “I had a good race strategy, but in the middle of the race I just didn’t run that well,” Ralstin said. Nevertheless, it was an outstanding first year of track for Ralstin. “I thought it was a lot of fun and I liked going to the state meet,” Ralstin said. “I hope I can go next year.” Ralstin will now start training for cross country, as she and some friends have a goal to run 400 miles before the season beings next school year. Like Ralstin, Mueller didn’t have her best day on Friday. She long jumped 16 feet, 7 ¾ of an inch, well off her goal of 18 feet, which would have also set a school record. “It didn’t go that great,” Mueller admitted. “All through the year I’ve been more of a finals jumper, but I only had three jumps at the state meet and jumped mid-16 in the first two and then scratched on my last jump. “It was a good experience, though, and I’m only a sophomore so I’ve got two more years to get back there.” One positive that Mueller has going for her is that she learned a lesson at the meet. She said she was as nervous as she’s ever been before a meet, and in hindsight, said she shouldn’t have been. “I was nervous because I had high expectations for myself, but this meet should have been more about relaxing,” Mueller said. “It’s good that I understand that and I realize that it’s all about experience. I should have just taken it all in and gone out there with no pressure on myself.” Mueller plans to compete in Saturday’s Golden West Invitational at Folsom High, where she will try one more time this season to long jump 18 feet.