Mammoth High School Junior, Toby Qualls, who has made a name for himself on the running track, competed in his second race of the season on April 14. Qualls traveled to Carpinteria, Calif. to compete in the prestigious Russell Cup Invitational and walked away with a win.
The Carpinteria course is one used to help determine who will be California’s High Schools State Champions.
Qualls was seeded fourth in the 3200 m, or two mile race. However, top seeded and heavy favorite, senior Gustavo Sanchez of Nordhoff High School quickly found out that neither seed placement, fierce winds, or near disaster could slow Qualls down.
From the starting gun, three boys took over the race. This group stayed together through the mile mark and consisted of the leader, Sanchez, Desert Christian Senior Scott Acton, and Qualls. At the one mile mark, Acton was dropped and never recovered. It then became a two man race between Sanchez and Qualls. Qualls stayed on Sanchez’s shoulder for three more laps around the track. On the sound of the bell lap, Qualls took the lead in the race for the first time, setting a blistering pace in his final lap and stretching his lead to over eight seconds. Qualls’ winning time was 9:49:07. Due to the fierce winds, only three runners broke the ten minute mark.
In fact, the winds were so strong, Qualls narrowly avoided disaster during the awards ceremony. Directly after receiving his medal, the next four podium winners were tipped over by the wind while standing on the podium. The huge wooden structure narrowly missed hitting one of the girls falling from it. The force of the podium hitting the ground was so strong it may have resulted in serious or fatal injuries to the girl had it struck her. As it was, no one was hurt. -Press Release