By Adam Stites/Garden Grove Journal
At the sound of the gun, Pacifica High School junior Lance Lalisan begins the race for the Mariners, sprinting with the baton towards junior Trent Langham on a bright and sunny Thursday afternoon.
By the time Langham finishes his 100 meters and gives off to PHS senior Tim Hutson, the relay team has already built up a considerable lead over the Western High School runners.
When Hutson hands the baton to senior Joel Willis the competition has already been left in the dust and Willis continues to pull away.
However, when he crosses the finish line there is no celebration from the Pacifica 4×100 meter relay team for their victory. For these four runners, the times on the stopwatches in the hands of the timers are of their biggest interest.
With a time of 42.47 seconds the group’s demeanor transforms from determined to smiles. The mark is enough to easily break their own record of 42.83 seconds set earlier in the season.
All four runners agree, though, that they have their sights set on running one of their future relays in less than 42 seconds. A mark that would not only set the record far beyond its former mark, but would also likely be among the fastest in Orange County for the 2011 season.
Their 42.47 currently ranks 12th in the state of California, ninth in the CIF-Southern Section and second in Orange County. The sole time better than Pacifica in the county is the 41.98 mark set by Serra High School on April 1.
This isn’t the first time these four have worked together and that’s been the key to their success says Willis, “It’s amazing working with all of them. They’re really compatible and it’s easy to work with. It’s our chemistry that makes us good out there.”
Prior to the 2011 season, the school record in the 4×100 meter relay was 42.89 set by Cole Fipps, Langham, Hutson and Willis in 2010. The new runner in the mix for the Mariners is junior soccer player Lance Lalisan.
“Being able to be on a team with them is an honor because I’m new and I don’t have the same experience as them, but being part of it is an honor,” said Lalisan.
For the other three, their experience working together goes beyond their time together on the track team over the last three years. Willis, Langham and Hutson all play wide receiver on the school’s football team.
Willis has signed his letter of intent to play football for the University of California, Berkeley in 2011 and Langham has already begun to receive letters from Division I schools for his play on the football field. Both Willis and Langham are record-holding sprinters for Pacifica on the track in the 100 meter and 200 meter events, respectively.
For Hutson, the track team draws most of his focus where he also competes in the 110 high hurdles and the long jump.
In the relay, he is described as Lalisan as someone who is “really good around the curves,” a trait that adds a much-needed piece to their record-breaking puzzle.
“I think we can go to Masters or even state if we push really hard,” said Langham. If the group can continue to beat their personal bests by the same margin they did against Western on March 31 they’ll do so easily.
“We take it one race at a time,” said Hutson. The next chance for them to improve their times will be on Thursday (today) at Yorba Linda High School.