Trailing a bit as she entered the last lap of the CIF State girls’ 1,600m championship race, Chino Hills High sophomore Jacqueline Duarte turned on the jets and crossed the finish line in 4:42.58 to win her first state championship at Buchanan High School in Clovis.
Duarte, the two-time defending Baseline League champ and is a four-time CIF-Southern Section champion in three different events, was all smiles as she crossed the finish line ahead of Buchanan High’s Meagan Lowe (4:43.61) and Mayfield High’s Audrey Suarez (4:45.00) and nine others in the 12-runner championship race.
Village Christian’s Mia Barnett placed fourth in 4:46.12; Great Oak’s Fatima Cortes took fifth in 4:49.71; Healdsburg’s Gabrielle Peterson placed sixth in 4:51.86; Miramonte’s Cassidy Haskell took seventh in 4:54.56; Rancho Bernardo’s Jacey Farmer ran eighth in 4:56.02; Analy’s Sierra Atkins placed ninth in 4:58.28; Granada Hills’ Sofia Abrego took 10th in 4:59.46; Walnut’s Chloe Arriaga was 11th in 5:03.10; and Anaheim Canyon’s Emma Hadley took 12thin 5:03.53.
Duarte qualified for the finals with a fifth-place finish in the state preliminaries the night before.
She ran a 4:51.59 preliminary race in which Barnett had the top time of 4:50.04 and the top 15 runners all had times under five minutes.
As a freshman in 2018, Duarte placed third in girls’ 1,600m and was a member of Chino Hills High’s 4x400 relay team which also finished in third place at the state meet.