Malibu’s Pietrzyk, Rapoport Conclude Seasons in Fine Fashion

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Caroline Pietrzyk won a second straight CIF title in track and finished 10th in the state. 

Malibu High closed the books on another outstanding sports year as two of its finest athletes concluded their respective seasons.

Junior Caroline Pietrzyk won her second consecutive CIF track title in the Division IV 3,200-meter while senior Gabriel Rapoport wrapped up his sterling career advancing to the round of 16 in the CIF Southern Section Individual tennis championships.

Pietrzyk shines in State Championships

Pietrzyk recently finished 10th in the 3,200 race at the 2014 CIF State Track and Field Championships after having won the CIF championship a few weeks ago.

A year ago, Pietrzyk took 13th at the State Championships. Competing against some of the best runners in the country at Buchanan High School in Clovis, Calif., last Saturday evening, she improved to 10th overall with a time of 10:30.76.

Pietrzyk has now won three CIF championships in two sports; two in track and one in cross country, which she achieved last November. 

Her first CIF track title came in 2013 when she became just the third female athlete in Malibu track and field program history to win a CIF Southern Section title and the first to do so since 2000. Now she has won in back-to-back years.

The journey to reach the State Championships was a challenging one. First, she won the CIF title on May 24 at Cerritos College with a time of 10:38.81 to defend her title.

“Last year I didn’t really know what a CIF champion was, especially in track since it’s not that big of a deal as it is in cross country,” Pietrzyk said. “They don’t make it a big deal but when I came home I realized that I beat everyone in my division.

“It’s awesome to have so many other great athletes at my school who have done the same thing this year. All the swimming boys were so happy to be CIF champions and I am too.”

Then it was on to the CIF Masters Meet on May 30 where the 3,200 field consisted of the top 12 runners in the entire Southern Section, regardless of division. Pietrzyk claimed seventh with a time of 10:30.52.

“I was really nervous. Last time I ran a 10:38 and it wasn’t what I wanted to run at all,” she said. “I was so nervous I was going to have a bad race like that again but I did have confidence in myself. I felt I could run with this pack and I can keep going.”

Pietrzyk turned on the jets in the final straightaway, overtaking competitors to finish strong.

“The last lap I heard my coach yelling, ‘You got to go, you got to go.’ I told myself that I have to go now,” Pietrzyk said. “I was really happy. The last straightaway was tough because I’m not a sprinter. But I saw the clock at the finish line and I knew I had made it.”

The supreme effort earned Pietrzyk a return trip to the State Championships for a second straight year.

“It’s an honor to go back and run against people who are so fast and are such great competitors,” she said.

A top-10 finish was the crowning achievement.

Rapoport competes in top 16

Rapoport, a two-time winner and four-time finalist in the Tri-Valley League singles championships, advanced to the round of 16 in the CIF Individual tennis championships for the first time in his career.

“It’s great. It’s perfect for my senior year,” said Rapoport, who will play at Penn University next year. “It was something that I was always shooting for and I’m glad I did it.”

On a beautiful day at the Cate School in Carpinteria, Rapoport defeated Templeton’s Chaz Darrow 6-1, 6-0 and Derek Lakoweske of Arroyo Grande 6-0, 6-2 to advance to the round of 32. Playing against the best tennis players in Southern California, he had been previously knocked out each year in the second round.

His effortless play and outstanding placement of shots combined with a strong forehand and a deft backhand enabled Rapoport to advance, earn a bye and play a week later with the top 16 players in the Southern Section.

“I think I played well. In years past I played kids who went pretty far in the main draw. I played solid. That’s all I can ask for,” he said. “It’s awesome because I play in these types of tournaments all the time. All the top guys in high school want to play so it’s been great.”

It was a fitting conclusion for a fine young man.