Who knew that Manny Silva would be an elite hurdler?
Rob Stauffer did.
After seeing Silva train for a pentathlon, Kodiak’s longtime track coach knew the 110-meter and 300 hurdles were the events for Silva. Quite the leap for the junior who spent his first two years in the program as a sprinter and jumper.
But when you know, you know.
Silva made Stauffer look like a genius scout by qualifying for the Division I State Track and Field Championships in both events. In doing so, he is now on the school’s all-time top 10 list in the 110 and 300 hurdles.
Not bad for a rookie. Just imagine what another year of experience will look like.
Silva was practicing the 300 hurdles at the beginning of the season to participate in the pentathlon at the Big C Relays. He ended up not competing in that event. When that happened, Stauffer told Silva that the hurdles would be his new event.
“At the beginning, I was really shocked,” Silva said. “To me, it was funny. But when I started competing for it, it was a little bit scary, especially for the 110 hurdles. The height of the 110 hurdles really intimidated me a lot.”
Silva quickly conquered the fear of the high hurdles and enters today’s state meet at Palmer High School ranked third in the 300 hurdles (42.10 seconds) and fourth in the 110 hurdles (16.31 seconds). Those times place him fourth on Kodiak’s all-time 300 hurdle list and fifth in the 110 hurdles.
“At first, I could go over it because my vertical is pretty high. I could finesse the hurdle as much as I could, but that was just like bunny hopping,” Silva said. “Having Stauffer put me through drills and really getting the form down for it really helped get me faster with the hurdles. Now instead of hopping over, I’m soaring over it and just flying right through the hurdle.”
Silva relates clearing hurdles to everyday life.
“For me, no matter how bad the first hurdle was, if you keep going, it is going to get a lot easier. You can put that in life, too. No matter how big of a thing you’re going through. … You just keep pushing through, and it will get a lot easier,” he said.
Silva will be joined in the hurdle events by junior teammate Matthew Macapugay, who is seventh in the 110 hurdles (16.81) and 10th in the 300 hurdles (43.38). His 110 hurdle time is seventh best in school history.
Silva said he looks up to Macapugay, who has been hurdling for a few years.
“We do feed off each other, and our energy is pretty competitive,” Silva said. “It’s sportsmanship-like.”
Silva has played out in his mind how the hurdle events will go at the state meet.
“What I really want is him (Matthew) to have a photo finish with me,” Silva said. “It would be so cool.”
CLIMBING THE BOARD
Macapugay and Silva are not the only ones who climbed the school’s top 10 lists.
Junior Jisselle Blanco is sixth in the 100 hurdles (17.06), eighth in the 300 hurdles (50.00) and triple jump (31-6.5).
Senior John Ticman is 10th in the triple jump (39-8) and will also be competing at state.”
“It’s a combination of athletes who are really excellent at technical events that have put a lot of time and effort into their fitness,” Kodiak coach Ashley Mortenson said.
Kodiak will be well represented in the boys’ four longest individual races — the 400, 800, 1,600 and 3,200.
Sophomore Miles Grimes advanced to state in the 400, 800 and 1,600 — a rarely-seen triple at the state meet. Mortenson doesn’t recall seeing a Kodiak runner attempt those three distances at a state meet in a long time.
And she still might not see it, as Grimes was undecided earlier in the week if he would try.
Junior Elias Litzow qualified in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200, but like Grimes, wasn’t sure if he would do all three. Senior Jacob Sarnowski advanced in the 800.
Mortenson sees Grimes and Litzow dropping times at state.
“We catered their training to peak at state, not regions,” Mortenson said. “The A-list performances at regions were still on heavy training.”
Kodiak has one entrant into the girls’ field, but that lady will be extremely busy.
Blanco is the first Kodiak girl since Zoe Bigley in 2015 to compete at state in three events. Blanco will be in the triple jump and the 100 and 300 hurdles. She is primed to make the finals in all three events.
What is her best event?
“It’s hard to say,” Mortenson said. “Last year, the 100 hurdles was her best event. This year she has rounded out her 300 endurance so much so that she has placed higher than she has in the 100 hurdles.”
Junior Kent Maramba entered last weekend’s Region III Championships having a season-best toss of 109-8 in the discus.
He needed to eclipse that mark to qualify for state. And he did with a monster fling of 119-6, which placed him fifth and earned him a spot at the state meet.
“He just put it all together at the right time,” Mortenson said. “For being a rookie discus thrower and to nearly throw 120 is just fantastic.”
Maramba will not be the only thrower at the state meet. Senior Aron Bautista and freshman Tino Timu will be in the shot put. Bautista’s best mark this season is 44-1, while Timu has a toss of 40-10.
Kodiak unified athlete Deegan Canavan qualfied in the boys’ shot put and long jump.
He will team with Gian Saliva in the long jup and Tino Timu in the shot put.
Mortenson said there is a lot of positive energy surrounding the team heading into state. She noted that this has been an “amazing team in terms of personality and morale.”
“We are hoping to just outdo ourselves. I think our region performances were above rankings in a lot of areas,” Mortenson said. “As a team, I think that is what Kodiak is known for. We are hoping to double down on that same reputation at state.”
400 — Miles Grimes, 52.49.
800 — Jacob Sarnowski, 2:05.80; Elias Litzow, 2:05.92; Miles Grimes, 2:07.91.
1,600 — Elias Litzow, 4:38.64; Miles Grimes, 4:39.92;
3,200 — Elias Litzow, 10:22.26.
110 hurdles — Manny Silva, 16.31; Matthew Macapugay, 16.81.
300 hurdles — Manny Silva, 42.10; Matthew Macapugay, 43.38.
3,200 relay — Simon Grimes, Jacob Sarnowski, Elias Litzow, Bengt Anderson, Gabriel Koehler, Miles Grimes, Joseph Hathaway, Joshua Hathaway.
Shot put — Aron Bautista, 44-1; Tino Timu, 40-10.
Discus — Kent Maramba, 119-6.
Triple jump — John Ticman, 39-8.
800 — Simon Grimes
1,600 — Joshua Hathaway
100 hurdles — Jisselle Blanco, 17.06
300 hurdles — Jisselle Blanco, 50.63
Triple jump — Jisselle Blanco, 31-6.5
800 — Serenity Bushell
Discus — Serenity Bushell
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