MHS’s Pietrzyk, Blackwood gain medals in league races

Malibu High School senior Caroline  advanced to the CIF Southern Section Track Masters meet and earned her third Division IV championship on Saturday, May 23.

Pietrzyk ran the 3,200-meter race in tandem with athletes from Division I high schools and finished third overall in the heat. Her time of 10 minutes, 35.30 seconds was over three ticks faster than her performance in last year’s CIF-SS finals.

“I love being in these kinds of races where there’s a whole bunch of people there pushing you and everybody’s in the stands cheering for you,” Pietryzk said. “It’s just amazing. I love it.”

Sophomore Abby Blackwood also competed in the 3,200-meter race. She finished sixth among Division IV athletes, earning her a medal.

Blackwood said three days before the finals that her goal was just to run a good race. She ended up exceeding her expectations, but was disappointed in her performance because she got tired after starting the race too fast.

“Overall, I has happy that I medaled, but I was just kind of frustrated because I should’ve been smarter about my race,” Blackwood said.

In the home stretch of her last lap, Blackwood turned on the jets and passed a runner 10 yards in front, securing the medal and her place in the division.

Pietryzk was proud of her running mate, and said Blackwood’s year reminders her of her own freshman year where she finished seventh in the same event.

“For her to get a medal, it’s amazing,” Pietrzyk said of Blackwood. “She should be so proud of herself. It’s so cool to have a teammate here to race with.”

Junior Madeline Ward competed in the 300-meter hurdles, finishing with a time of 50.81 seconds. She finished second to last in her heat and was upset after the race.

“I think I got a little discouraged at the end because I went over the first couple of hurdles bad,” Ward said. “There was a strong headwind and my blocks weren’t quite right. So I just had a bad start and I think it got to me a little more than it should have.”

Ward battled calf and back injuries throughout the season, but achieved personal records toward the end of the year to qualify for the CIF-SS finals.

“She worked hard all year and came on at the end of the track season to really just get here,” sprint coach Ray Humphrey said of Ward.

Devin Sarantinos competed in pole vault early in the meet, but was unable to clear the initial height.

The Masters meet will be on Friday, May 29, at Cerritos College. Humphrey said for Pietrzyk to do well, all she has to do is run her race.

“I don’t think there’s anything more Caroline’s going to do expect for do what she does — keeps training hard and being the girl she is,” Humphrey said.