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TORRANCE — Soon, Sarah Perkins will be headed to the CIF State Track and Field Championships.

The Santa Ynez senior qualified automatically with a fifth-place finish, at 40 feet, 10.75 inches on her first throw, in the girls shot put at the CIF Southern Section Masters Meet at El Camino College Saturday.

"I didn't throw the way I'd hoped to today, but I'm excited to be going," to her first state meet, the CIF Southern Section Division 4 girls shot put champion said by phone Saturday.

On her six throws, "I fouled on one. The rest were around 40 feet," said Perkins. "It was pretty consistent."

Perkins competed in the sectional Masters Meet for the first time. The top six finishers in each event Saturday automatically qualified for the state meet, which will take place this coming Friday and Saturday at Veterans Memorial Stadium at Clovis Buchanan High School.

The preliminaries will take place Friday. Finals are set for Saturday. Field event prelims will start at 3 p.m. Field event finals the next day will start at 4:30 p.m. The top 12 in the girls shot put preliminaries will advance to the state finals.

The top six finishers in each event at the Masters qualified automatically for the state meet. Competitors also advanced if they met pre-set at-large standards, Perkins took the pressure off herself Saturday by throwing the 40-10.75 on her first try. The at-large qualifying mark for the state meet was 40-10, the same distance Perkins won the sectional Division 4 title with on her last throw at the sectional divisional championships at El Camino May 19.

The Santa Ynez senior qualified fifth overall for the Masters Meet. The top 12 throwers at the divisional championships, regardless of division, qualified for the Masters.

"We changed something (in my approach) Monday in practice, and it helped," at the Masters meet, said Perkins.

"I was throwing 44, 45 feet in practice, and I was hoping to throw that (Saturday). But I've got next week to work on making that," at the state meet.

Perkins said with a chuckle, "I went to our grad night Thursday, and I got about four hours sleep. Then we drove down here Friday. I think that definitely affected me."

The Los Padres League, Santa Barbara County and sectional Division 4 shot put champion has a career best 42 feet, 8.5 inches. She set the school record with that mark earlier this season.

Perkins said afterward at the divisional championships that she had been falling off to the left of the ring in practice during the week, and that hampered her in the discus and shot put that day. The favorite in the discus with a best of 130-3 settled for third place at 122-0.

"My form was better today than it had been (at the divisional sectional finals)," Perkins said. "My strength just wasn't there.

"Hopefully, it will all come together next week."

Perkins' college plans are set. She signed earlier this month to throw for UC San Diego.

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