Ladies hurdle to greater heights

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By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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LOOMIS — Caitlin Devitt-Payne got the challenge she expected in the 1500 meter race at the Del Oro Invitational Friday afternoon. But it came from an unexpected source. Placer junior Shannon Harcus led for the majority of the race, but Devitt-Payne made her move with 200 meters left and raced to victory. The sophomore finished in 4 minutes, 59 seconds. Devitt-Payne didn’t get her expected showdown with Woodcreek’s Stephanie Romo, whom she beat in the 1600 at a dual meet earlier this month. Romo did not run Friday, but the duel with Harcus provided one of many highlights for the Del Oro girls on a day they ruled their own event. “I was just waiting to see how it went. I didn’t really know a lot of the girls in this race,” Devitt-Payne said. “I wanted to let them lead. (Shannon) was pushing me along the back stretch.” Sophomore Mackenzie Landry dominated the girls pole vault, clearing 12 feet, 6 inches before missing two attempts at 13-0 in breezy conditions. Landry had a vault of 13-1 at the Arcadia Invitational earlier this month — the second-best mark among prep vaulters in the country this spring. Placer senior Dylan Swisley couldn’t keep pace with Landry in the pole vault, settling for second. But she made up for it with a stellar showing in the 100 hurdles. Swisley ran to a personal record of 15.4 seconds to win the event easily. “I really like this race. Compared to the pole vault, it’s really relaxing,” Swisley said. “Pole vault is really technical, so I definitely have to be focused for that. In the hurdles, I just kind of let loose. It’s relaxing, even though it doesn’t look like it.” The Del Oro girls’ depth shined in the relays. The Golden Eagles cruised to a stellar time of 48.00 in the 4x100 relay. Despite their youth, the Del Oro girls are emerging as one of the favorites for the Sierra Foothill League title. “We’re all really good friends,” Devitt-Payne said. “We hang out a lot outside of track and we’re all really rooting for each other. I think that really helps us.” Full results of the Del Oro Invitational were not available at press time. Check for full results later this week.