Dan Gabor Sprint and Distance Festival will feature lots of NCS talent

If you are looking for a competitive Track and Field meet that will start early morning and test the endurance of many coaches, the Dan Gabor Sprint & Distance Festival is for you. Amador Valley will once again host the meet that bears the name of one of their all-time best athletes, the late Dan Gabor. The meet is scheduled to begin at 8:30 am with the first event, the girls' 400 meters. The rest of the schedule can be found at this LINK. If you want to follow the meet from the safety of your own home, the live results will be posted at this LINK.

The following is a preview of all of the events including many of the top athletes that will compete on Saturday.


Girls' 400 meters
The fastest heat will feature two-time California State champion in the 800 meters, Alyssa Brewer of California HS. She will be opening up her official senior Track and Field season with the 400 meters after competing in Cross Country for the first time in the fall. She will be challenged by state-qualifying sprinter Chinyere Okoro of Amador Valley and Acalanes senior Arianna Gragg.

Boys' 400 meters
The question in the boys' 400 meters is how many athletes are going to open up the season by dipping under the 50 second barrier. At this point. Monte Vista senior Elijah Sheppard has the fastest entry time of 49.84. Challenging will be sprinters like Frazier White of El Cerrito, Bobby Poynter of California and Elijah Weetman of Amador Valley.

Girls' 100 meters
Junior Chinyere Okoro of Amador Valley will be doubling back from the 400 meters and running in her specialty here, the 100 meters. She qualified for the 2017 California State Track and Field meet by finishing in 2nd place at the North Coast Section Meet of Champions. She will run unchallenged here and the only question is what will be the margin of victory. Her fastest time last season was the 11.81 she ran the NCS Tri Valley Championship Meet. That is the fastest entry time in this field, by far.

Boys' 100 meters
The favorite to win the boys' 100 meters at this meet will be Dougherty Valley senior, Ethan Song. He just missed qualifying for the state meet last year with the 4th place finish at the NCS MOC meet on the UC Berkeley campus. I am sure he will be fired up to qualifying this season by making a major statement in this early season meet. Keeping him honest will be Acalanes teammates Jesse Stralla and Keaziah Smith as well as Northgate sophomore, Austin Kresley.

300 meters Hurdles
The favorites to take the hurdle races at this meet will be Dublin junior, Jenna Tragesser. She roared to her fastest time of the season (47.62) in 2017 at the EBAL Trials. Keeping her honest will be fellow EBAL competitor, Granada senior, Kaila Kheirolomoom. She defeated Tragesser at the EBAL Finals with her personal best of 48.55. 

In the boys' hurdle race, John Zhou will be looking to win at least one T-Shirt for the host school. He comes in with the fastest personal best in the long hurdle race at 40.68 which he ran as a sophomore, two years ago. 

Girls' 1600 meters
The four lap event will lead off for the distance competitors and the girls' field is LOADED. This will definitely not be the usual sprint to the front and try to gap the field affair as several girls come in looking to win this race. Among the competitors will be San Ramon Valley sophomore Emma Tavella, Monte Vista sophomore Kelli Wilson, St. Joseph Notre Dame Emily Perez, The King's Academy sophomore Anna Mokkapati, Oakland Tech junior Caroline Garrett and Monte Vista senior Madalyne Coney. I believe the winner will come out of those already mentioned girls but don't count out Granada duo Kalea Bartolotto and Gracie Dupuis.

Boys' 1600 meters
The field for the boys four-lapper will be just as competitive with several EBAL competitors look to get th early season upper hand. Granada senior John Bennett has the fastest time of the field and will be the slight favorite. Three Dublin runners (Adrian Schroeder, Gaurav Phanse and Loic Scomparin) who made up part of a very competitive Cross Country team in the fall will be looking to take down their league rival.

Girls' Dan Gabor Memorial 800 meters
The race here will be for second as California senior Alyssa Brewer will get the most rest possible between the 400 and 800 races. She could lead from the front of blast the last lap but whatever she does, she will win. Racing for second will be San Ramon Valley teammates Emma Tavella and Molly Neach as well as Head Royce senior Sophia Brakeman.

Boys' Dan Gabor Memorial 800 meters
The favorite to win the half-mile race will be 
Las Lomas junior, Parker Wilkerson. He finished 2nd at this league championship race last year behind eventual section champion, Niki Moore of Campolindo. He will be challenged by De La Salle senior Harrison Fisher as well as Dublin senior Adrian Schroeder who will be testing his speed on the back end of a 1600/800 double.

Girls' 3200 meters
The last time I attended this meet, the 3200m. runners had to surf their way around the track in order to capture one of those fancy Dan Gabor Invite long-sleeved shirts. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate this time and the conditions will be pristine under the lights. The favorite will be St. Joseph Notre Dame junior, Emily Perez. She might be doubling back from the 1600 meters which should give some of her fresh opponents a better chance to win. Her two main competitors will be San Ramon Valley teammates Katherine Tavella and 
Amanda Olla. They are the only three runners in the field with a chance to dip under 11 minute.

Boys' 3200 meters
In the final race of the day, the fast heat of the boys' 3200 meters should feature a nice healthy pack at the front with lots of boys chasing personal records. The fastest runner in the field is Las Lomas junior,
Preston Norris who raced to his PR of 9:25.54 at last year's Sacramento Meet of Champions. He will test himself against Division V rivals Isaac Teuscher of Head-Royce and Sean Laidlaw of Lick-Wilmerding. Also in the mix will be Bishop O'Dowd teammates Thomas Murphy and Cole Kretlow as well as Livermore senior, Greg Aufderheide

The favorite in the girls' Pole Vault will be Dublin junior Naomi Chin. She has already scaled over 11 feet this season which is better than the PRs of the entire field. She finished in 4th place last year at the North Coast Section Meet of Champions and will be looking to make an early-season statement here.

On the boys' side, Brandon Quimson of Irvington is the top vaulter in the field. He had a personal best of 15 feet last year and just like Chin, he finished in 4th place at last year's NCS MOC meet. He's already competed this year at the National Pole Vault Summit with a best of 13'10". Monte Vista's Kevin Strand was also at the same meet and will keep Quimson honest here as they both try to take the early lead as the best vaulter in the section.

Favorites in other events include Jonathan Choi of Acalanes in the high jump with best of 6'4.75". Emily March of Granada is far and away the dominant shot putter in the field with a best that is 8 feet further than the rest of the field at 39'5". Teammate Mark Silverthorn will be just as big of a favorite in the shot put on the boys' side. He threw a season best of 55'3" to qualify for the 2017 California State meet. A couple of athletes already mentioned will be respectively favored in the long jump with Arianna Gragg of Acalanes (17'10.75") for the girls and Brandon Quimson of Irvington (22'2") for the boys.