Top Stars Make Noise At North Coast MOC



BERKELEY -- Tierra Robinson-Jones just keeps on burning up the track. Kali Hatcher is finishing up a terrific career herself. Liam Anderson has an impressive distance double in his pocket.

All qualified for next weekend's California Interscholastic Federation State Championships with big-time performances at the North Coast Section Meet of Champions on Friday and Saturday at Edwards Stadium at the University of California.

Robinson-Jones (pictured in a file photo above) showed she meant business early, laying down a fantastic second leg on Bishop O'Dowd's girls 400-meter relay. The Dragons won in 47.17 seconds, nearly a full second in front of second-place Pittsburg (48.14).

Then, in the 400, Robinson-Jones threw the hammer down. Challenged by Newark Memorial's Alexis Surrell on the final turn, Robinson-Jones responded, re-taking the lead and finishing in 52.69, a meet record and the best time in California and fourth-best in the United States.

When Robinson-Jones finished the event, she thought she ran 53.0 - still pretty good, but not the "real" 52 she wanted to run.

"I heard 53-flat and I thought, 'That's not enough,' " Robinson-Jones said. "I was like, 'Dang, T. You couldn't have given a little bit more?' "

When she heard her official time, she dropped to the track and started crying.

"I'm still speechless," she said when she met with reporters. "I did what I came to do."

Robinson-Jones has been pushed by Surrell before.

"I heard Alexis coming up on me," Robinson-Jones said. "I was like, 'T., what are you doing, come on!' When she passed me, I said, 'OK, grab on to her.' When she started going, I was like, 'No, I got to go. Go with her before she gets too far away.' I basically used her momentum to push me forward. I didn't even look at the time, all I could think of was just finish and get to the line."

Surrell finished in 53.95.

Robinson-Jones then came back to break another meet record in the 200, finishing in 23.56. The senior will conclude her career at the State Meet with an excellent chance to bring the Dragons a whole bunch of points.

Another potential scorer is Hatcher. The St. Mary's senior won the 300 hurdles and long jump on on Saturday, after winning the triple jump the day before. Hatcher also ran a leg on the Panthers' victorious 1,600 relay team. Her sister, Kaia Gant-Hatcher, is a freshman for St. Mary's and also ran a leg on the relay.

Kali Hatcher hit a hurdle but recovered to set a personal-best of 43.88 while also defending her title in the event.

"I was trying to get my steps back on which slowed me up," Hatcher said. "Because I didn't want to stutter, so I had to elongate.

"No matter how bad you go over the hurdle, you have to push through."

So it was pretty good to PR, right?
"Yeah," she said with a huge grin. "I was happy!"


Kali Hatcher qualified for the State Meet in three individual events and a relay. (File photo)

Hatcher is the oldest of three daughters of two pretty good athletes - Michael Hatcher and Christine Gant Hatcher. Dad was a triple jumper at St. Mary's and mom ran at Presentation-San Jose. Kali Hatcher said her 10-year old sister will be the best runner of them all.

Kali Hatcher's performance was a key to St. Mary's winning the girls team championship with 56 points to Pittsburg's 41. The three sisters were posing with the banner and trophy after the meet.


Redwood junior Liam Anderson expects to compete in both the 1600 and 3200 races at State. (File photo)


On the boys side, Anderson pulled off the 1,600-3,200 double, winning the former in 4:11.43 and the latter in 9:06.24. Anderson is a junior at Larkspur Redwood.

"I feel good," Anderson said. "I'm fit, I'm strong. I think I've shown more than once that I'm perfectly capable of going hard in the (1,600) and coming back and pressing it in the (3,200). Today's just a run through for next week, getting ready for next week, simulating the double, really the triple with (trials on) Friday."

Anderson played soccer and baseball as a kid and began running in middle school. Now, he focuses on running. His cousin, Evan Anderson, ran at Menlo-Atherton and Cal Poly.

As for next week, "I'm excited," he said "It's going to be a lot of fun. It's going to be hot (in Clovis), but I'm looking forward to it."

Also:

  • Redwood swept the 3,200s as senior Gillian Wagner won the girls title in 10:25.95.
  • Pittsburg won the boys team championship with 67 points. Clayton Valley was second with 46.
  • Defending State champion Jett Charvet of Heritage won the boys 800. The senior ran a 1:51.69 PR (CA #2/US #21).
  • Concord junior Rayna Stanziano surprised with a PR in winning the girls 800 in 2:10.06. She need a 3.73-second drop of her previous PR to defeat two-time State champion Alyssa Brewer, who had a troubled first turn but still finished second in 2:12.91. Brewer, with a US #6 best of 2:08.99 from the Dublin Distance Festival, had never lost a championship-level 800 meter race during the CIF season, a total of 26 races (not including trials, winter and post-season meets). 
  • Rylee Bowen (Sonoma) had a nice season-best drop in to 4:55.94 to qualify for her fourth consecutive State Meet. 
  • Gillian Wagner (Redwood) cruised to win the 3200 (10:25.95). She was the only senior to place among the top nine. Runner-up Kelli Wilson (Monte Vista) was the only sophomore (10:33.97).
  • Hannah Hall (James Logan) won both throws and is returning to the State Championships for the fourth year in a row for she was 3rd in the shot and 6th in the discus at last year's final. 
  • In a battle between two of the top sprinters in the State, Max Glasser (Marin Catholic) and Cameron Reynolds (Clayton Valley) split the 200 and the 400. Reynolds won the 200 (21.58-21.66). Glasser took the quarter (47.41-47.56). Oddly, in the 400, Reynolds ranks CA #1 and Glaser CA #3, but in the 200, Glasser ranks #10 and Reynolds #17. Go figure?

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MileSplitCA editor Jeffrey Parenti contributed to this recap.

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