By DAMIN ESPER
OAKLAND -- It has been a long, long road back for Cassidy Haskell. The Miramonte High School distance runner had a fantastic freshman season back in 2016. She made the California Interscholastic Federation Championships in the 1,600-meter run and also qualified for the North Coast Section Meet of Champions in the 3,200.
She finished 11th in her heat at the CIF meet and had personal bests of four minutes, 52.29 seconds in the 1,600 and 10:51.37.
Since then, it has been a series of trials and tribulations for Haskell (Damin Esper photo above). She had a stress fracture in her right foot. She was unable to run in last year's Diablo Athletic League championships. She continued to struggle with illnesses into this track season.
Finally, over the last month, she has begun to look like herself. She won the 3,200 at the Clash of the Titans on Saturday at Oakland Skyline, running alone at the front of the pack in a season-best 11:24.14.
"I felt strong," she said. "I had a lot left at the end. It's hard to run in a race without a lot of people. It was kind of spread out.
"I had split times for each lap and I was pretty much right on them."
The stress fracture kept Haskell out much of the 2017 season. All she has had to deal with this year is the flu, walking pnemonia and strep throat. It was about a month ago that she finally started to feel healthy again.
"I'm slowly making my way back to where I was in freshman year," she said. "I'm happy because it's progress. Not where I want to be obviously, but it's progress."
With the DAL Championships coming up in a few weeks, the question is whether Haskell will be strong enough to make a postseason run.
"I want to obviously keep improving my time each race because that means I'm on the way to getting back," she said. "I don't know how far I'll make it this year but I'm happy that I'm running and I'm not getting injured again and it has been consistent. However far I go, I'll be happy."
It was another imperfect day in the Bay Area, with the skies alternatively overcast and sunny. Among the top marks, Skyline's Naseme Colvin had a personal-best of 45-9.50 to set a meet record in the triple jump. Colvin (Eric Taylor photo above) came back later to take third in the long jump at 20-00.50.
The PR in the triple jump was by more than two feet for Colvin, who only took up the event this season. What's the secret to the improvement?
"I've been skipping a lot," Colvin said. "Skipping the field, skipping stairs. Long-distance skipping."
Colvin's coaches have been telling him to jump long instead of high and skipping ties into the middle phase of what once was called the "Hop, skip and jump."
Colvin is a terrific athlete, who played running back and linebacker for the Titans football team, rushing for over 1,200 yards as a senior. He has already earned a scholarship to play football at Weber State University and said he would like to continue his track career there as well.
Colvin, a senior, said his goals this year were just to make the CIF Championships and that he didn't have any numbers in mind.
"I didn't know track like that until now," he said. "I'm starting to learn more. I just wanted to go to state. Now, I wanna go smash everybody."
Colvin ran track as a kid but never jumped.
"Anytime I PR, I want to go up - I don't want to say too high, but it goes up a little bit," he said. "Today I jumped a 45, next meet, I want to jump a 47 and then after that, I want to jump 50s."
There were a couple of other performances of note at the Clash of the Titans:
- Kobi Thompson (Albany St. Mary's/NC) swept the girls long and triple jumps. Thompson won the long jump at 16-10.75, then came back to take the triple jump at 34-8.50.
- Ava Moran (Miramonte/NC) won the girls 200 (26.25) after finishing second in the 100 (13.13).
- Leilah Clark (Skyline/OK) won the girls shot put (34-0) and took second in the discus (91-2).
- Daneiel Yalew (American Canyon/SJ) won the boys 110 hurdles in 16.44, with Grant Galyen (Pleasanton Amador Valley/NC) in second in 16.70. Yalew came back to take second in the 300 hurdles (43.29) behind Skyline's Noah Mitchell (41.86).
- Christian Garibay (Skyline/OK) swept the boys shot put (45-0) and discus (126-3).