Burroughs High’s Jagdeep Chahal wasn’t sure what event he wanted to run in the CIF Southern Section Masters Meet Saturday at El Camino College in Torrance.
So Chahal ended up running both.
Even with the odds not in his favor of doing two distance events, Chahal put together a furious kick to win the 1,600 in a school record time of 4 minutes, 11.09 seconds.
“I almost got boxed in at the 200 (meter mark). I tried getting out in the straightaway but the kid next to me filled it in so I had to go around. It was a close one,” Chahal said. “(I was) just looking for that smallest opening that was the biggest opportunity. I was just hoping for the best. I just wanted to finish my race and get ready for the two mile.
Chahal later came back in the 3,200, where he finished third in 9:04.83. He advanced to the CIF State Preliminaries for the 1,600 and the finals for the 3,200. There are no preliminaries in the 3,200 because of the length of the distance.
He becomes the first Burroughs athlete in more than half a century to qualify for the state championships in more than one event.
The Masters Meet combines the best athletes from all divisions in the CIF Southern Section to determine which will move on to the state championships.
Chahal will be joined at the State Championships in Fresno by pole vaulter Elizabeth Switzer.
She cleared 11 feet, 11 inches, as one of eight qualifiers from the CIF Southern Section who cleared the standard needed to advance.
This season was just the second in pole vaulting for Switzer, who was once a national champion gymnast.
She cleared 11-11 on her third attempt.
“I used all my strength to get over it. I didn’t care how good the jump was, I just wanted to make it,” Switzer said. “On the last jump at 12-5, my coach Brooks (Morris) said it was a good jump I just needed to push the standards back to 80. I moved them up to 70 because of the jump before.”
Freshman Paige Sommers of Westlake won with a best of 12-5.
Former Burroughs pole vault Christian Valles also qualified for the state preliminaries by clearing 15-9. Valles now attends Canyon High in Canyon Country.