On a day of impressive and improbable performances, Antelope High School's Robert Ellis delivered one of the biggest wins of all in the Sac-Joaquin Section Track and Field Masters Championships on Friday night at Elk Grove High School.
Ellis defeated favored Austin Mitsch of Jesuit by running a personal-best 21.32 seconds in the boys 200 meters, moving him to fifth in the state.
Mitsch ran 21.48, his second-fastest of the season, as both qualified for next weekend's CIF State Championship in Clovis.
The thrilling 200 came shortly after Mitsch recovered from a poor start to nip Ellis in the 100. Mitsch ran a 10.76; Ellis finished second in 10.82.
Even though Ellis was the defending 200 Masters champion, he admitted to being an underdog going into the race.
Mitsch, state-ranked No. 8 going into the meet with a 21.4, had to scratch from the event last year because of injury.
"Austin Mitsch, he's a great runner," Ellis said. "I know some people thought I won that race last year because Austin was injured. But tonight, he got me in the 100 and I just pushed through and got him in the 200."
Ellis now can claim sprint bragging rights in his household with two Masters titles.
His father, also named Robert, won the 400 in 1985, competing for Highlands.
Field rankings improve
Ponderosa pole vaulter Kylee Trageser and River Valley long jumper Mackenzie Arnold had impressive finals that moved them higher into the state and national rankings.
On her last attempt, Trageser cleared a personal-best and school-record 13 feet, then broke down sobbing for joy and was quick to acknowledge the cheers from the crowd.
The senior then went for a Masters record 13-3 but, still overcome with emotion, never got off the ground in her three attempts to better the standing mark of 13-1 held by Granite Bay's Katie Zingheim (now at Stanford) in 2011.
Trageser may have earned a scholarship with her vault, which now ranks No. 4 in the state and No. 13 nationally.
"I've been told by BYU coaches that if I clear 13 feet, they'll give me a scholarship," Trageser said. "We'll see. But I'm excited."
Arnold, a sophomore, leaped 19-11 3/4 on her first jump, which is the fourth-best in the state and sixth-best nationally this season.
"My form was together, and it just happened," Arnold said matter-of-factly. "Just getting it right off bat took some pressure off."
Granite Bay relay stuns
Granite Bay senior anchor Colin Brown summed up his team's stunning upset in the boys 4x100 relay: "We didn't expect to finish first at all," Brown said. "Honestly, I thought that was another team."
The Grizzlies' team of Brown, sophomores Tyler Brendel and Lucas Baiocchi and junior Tony Ellison ran a section-best 42.04. The Grizzlies came as the No. 7 seed with a 42.84.
Brown and Ellison were members of Granite Bay's State Bowl champion football team.
"We're excited," Brown said. "To be going to the state meet in track and having the opportunity to play in a State Bowl game last fall, I feel very blessed. I couldn't ask for a better senior year."
In other meet highlights:
Cordova's Nia Dorner dominated in repeating as 400 and 200 champion. Dorner bettered her state-leading mark in the 400 with a time of 54.05, moving to 12th nationally. She won the 200 in 24.36. "I felt good tonight, but I can run faster," she said.
Bee All-Metro basketball standout Daijah Joe-Smith of Florin won the girls 100 (12.27) and placed second in the 200 (25.22). "Sprinting is a lot harder than basketball," she said. "There's no margin for error."
Vista del Lago's Madeleine Ankhelyi (10:28.21) and Clare Carroll (10:35.45) went 1-2 in the girls 3,200, the fourth- and sixth-fastest times in the state.
Cal-bound senior Trent Brendel of Granite Bay won the boys 1,600 (4:13.94) with a strong finish.
Davis' Paul Mohr won the boys 800 (1:53.98) and teammate Nick Denton won the boys shot put (56-9 1/2).
Call The Bee's Bill Paterson, (916) 326-5506.