Sacramento Meet of Champions Meet Preview

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When: Saturday, May 3rd @11:00am PT
Where: American River College

Here is a break down of all the running events that will take place today with the top contenders in each event.

The first event will be the girls 400m. relay which pits the majority of fastest teams from the North Coast Section (NCS) vs Sac Joaquin Section (SJS).  The favorite will be Franklin HS, the fastest team in SJS at 48.09 and will be challenged by section rival St. Francis, Sacramento at 48.24.  The fastest NCS team, Newark Memorial is not far behind with their 48.37.  The rest of the field consists of 3 more teams who have also dipped under the 49 second barrier (Deer Valley, San Leandro and Rocklin).  

The boys 400m. relay will follow the girls short relay and once again a SJS team is the favorite.  Woodcreek HS is the only team in the field with a time under 42 seconds (41.91) and is currently the 9th fastest team in California.  3 of the top 4 teams in NCS will look to upend Woodcreek as their closest pursuers are Castro Valley (42.25), De La Salle (42.36) and Deer Valley (42.52).

The first distance event will be the girls 1600m. and it could be crowded early with 19 entrants.  As with most girls events, the race should get strung out very quickly with pre-meet favorite, Fiona O'Keefe of Davis HS leading the way.  She ran 4:49.04 for the full mile at the Stanford Invitational and was the Division I state XC champion in the fall. (O'keefe will run the 800m. and possibly the 3200m.) The real race seems to be for 2nd place and how many runners will dip under the 5 minute mark for the first time this season.  That group of contenders should include Kyra Hunsberger of Reno HS, Brooke Starn of Monte Vista, Madison Ricks of California HS, Chloe Hansel of Las Lomas HS, Kendall Derry of Bella Vista HS and Alexandra Hernandez of Livermore HS.

The boys 1600m. will feature some of the top distance runners in Northern California and should be a bit more competitive than the girls race.  The favorite based on time is Lowell HS senior, John Hogan.  He ran 4:12.46 for the full mile (4:10.99 for 1600m.) at the Distance Meet of Champions.  He has laid low since the Arcadia Invitational which may mean that the co-favorite is DLS HS runner, Blair Hurlock, who has had the most consistent season to date.  He was impressive at the Arcadia Invitational as he joined 18 other runners under 9 minutes (8:58.28) in the 3200m. race.  The wildcards may be section rivals Garrett Migliozzi of Nevada Union HS, fresh off his school record 1:52.70 800m. and Steven Grolle of Sonora HS, who just edged out Migliozzi at the Stanford Invite 3k in a different heat.  A couple of other runners to watch are CCS runners, Steven Sum (Saratoga HS) and James Welsh (Monterey HS) and from the NCS, 2013 state meet qualifier, Tyler Olson of Livermore HS.

Vacaville HS established a new national record at the Arcadia Invitational by completing the 400m. shuttle hurdles relay race in 57.15.  Pattriana Perry leads the way with her 13.67 from the same meet.  She finished in 3rd place at last year's CA state track and field meet behind Sasha Wallace of Castro Valley HS and teammate Diara Cook who will also be in the field.  Sophomore Mecca McGlaston of Dublin HS will hope to break up the Vacaville sweep as she did at the Stanford Invite by recording the victory with a then personal record of 14.03.  Vacaville freshman Jurnee Woodward makes up the third member of the impressive trio from the same school.

The clear favorite in the boys' 110m. hurdle race is De La Salle HS senior, Marquis Moris.  He is the defending state champion and has the fastest time entered from the field with his 13.93 from the Arcadia Invitational.  NCS rival, Ja'Vion Robinson from St. Mary's Berkeley and the top hurdler in SJS, Austin Carter of Folsom will keep Morris honest and try to get a little closer to that elusive sub 14 second short hurdle race.

The girls 400m. race will feature most of the top girls from the SJS.  Rodriguez HS junior, Lauren Reed, leads the way with her season best time of 56.48 from the Eddie Hart Invitational.  That time is also the fastest time in the SJS were she will be one of the favorites to advance to the CA state meet.  Elk Grove HS senior, Jasmine Smith, has the 4th fastest time in SJS with her 56.86 and will be Reed's closest challenger.  Watch out from Northern Section star, Sofia Evanoff, who qualified for the state meet last year in the 200m. and 400m. and recorded a personal record 55.73 in her last race of the season.

Tulare Western HS senior, Joe Herrera, will be traveling up north to challenge some of the best quarter milers in the Sacramento area.  He has the fastest time in the field with his personal best time of 47.67 at this year's West Coast Relays.  His closest pursuer will be McQueen HS (Reno) runner, Sebastian Feyersinger, who has lowered his 400m. time throughout the season with a season best of 48.23.  Cameron Stone of Sheldon HS was a 2013 state meet competitor and will keep the field honest.

The title of fastest girl in Northern California will be decided in the 100m.  Destiny Smith-Barnett of Skyline HS is a two time state meet qualifier, won the Stanford Invitational and finished 2nd at the Arcadia Invitational with a personal record time of 11.64.  San Leandro HS senior, Gabriella Cantrell recorded lifetime best times of 11.50 and 23.77 at the 2013 CA state meet.  She has been lightly raced this season and may be on the comeback trail from injury.  Deer Valley HS junior sprinter, Briana Guillory has raced well this season and recorded best times in every event from 100m. through 400m. (11.83, 23.93 and 55.69).  

Marquis Morris of DLS will attempt to double up with victories in the 110m. hurdles and the 100m.  He recorded a personal best time of 10.87 at the West Coast Relays and will be the fastest entrant in this field.  Joe Mixon of Freedom HS (above) and David Mewborn of Vacaville HS will challenge Morris as they both have recorded 10.90 times this season.  Everybody in the field has recorded times under 11 seconds so an upset victory would not be a surprise.

The girls 800m. will make for interesting race.  James Logan senior runner, Amihan Agustin (above) has the fastest time entering this contest with her 2:14.25 from the Arcadia Invitational.  She has also showed great range by running 58.73 in the 400m. and 11:32.14 in the 3200m. as a freshman.  You won't find too many girls with that kind of range.  Her chief rival in this race with be Truckee HS runner Gabrielle Rinne (above in her other sport) who has a season best time of 2:14.94 but a lifetime best time of 2:12.85 at last year's Golden West Invitational.  The wild card in this race is Fiona O'Keeffe who will drop down in distance by competing in the 800m.  She has recorded a 2:17.93 personal best this season but her accomplishments in longer distances make her a threat against this field.  

The boys 800m. has a slew of contenders that will make this race quite exciting.  The fastest entry time belongs to Davis HS runner, Blake Croft (1:54.09) from the Woody Wilson Invitational.  Roseville HS junior, Arturo Sotomayer, is right on his tail with his 1:54.12 from the Mt. SAC relays.  Michael Dondalski of Pasadena HS may be traveling the greatest distance to this meet and he wouldn't be making the trip if he didn't think he was a contender (1:54.35).  Some of you may know that the fastest time for any athletes in this field belongs to Garrett Migliozzi who just ran 1:52.70.  He will be doubling back from the 1600m. which might give the rest of the field a bit of an edge.  

As mentioned earlier in the 100m. hurdle preview, Vacaville established a national record in the shuttle hurdle relay race.  They have 3 girls in the 100m. hurdles invitational race but field the four fastest 300m. hurdlers.  They are led by freshman Jurnee Woodward (42.75) and she is followed by Pattriana Perry (42.81), Hannah Davis (44.58) and their 4th fastest hurdler is senior Daria Cook at 45.02.  Definitely one of the best all-time group of hurdlers at one school in the same season as reflected by their national record.  Looking to break up the clean sweep will be St. Francis, Sacramento hurdler, Amanda Schnabel (45.32).  

Stanford Invitational 400m. hurdle champion Austin Carter of Folsom HS has had quite a season to date.  He has PR'ed in every event from 100m. through 400m. and both hurdle races.  He is undefeated in the both hurdle races heading into this meet.  As posted above, Carter will have quite a challenge in the short hurdle race but will enter this meet as the clear favorite in the longer hurdles race.  A victory here will be a great stepping stone for him as he attempts to qualify for his first state meet competition.  Jalen Doss of Hercules HS (above) and Kareem Dupree of Academy of Arts and Science HS in San Francisco appear to be Carter's closest competitors and will keep him honest.

The girls 200m field should look familiar as most of the girls will be doubling back from earlier races.  Gabrielle Cantrell of San Leandro should be the favorite but that is based on what she accomplished last year.  She will definitely be pushed at this meet so we will have a pretty good idea of her fitness heading into post-season.  Destiny Smith-Barnett who is more of a 100m. specialist will definitely put Cantrell to the test.  Also in the mix should be Jazmine Smith of Elk Grove and Briana Guillory of Deer Valley.

The boys 200m. race should be an interesting one with some athletes using this race to sharpen their speed for the 400m. (Frank Kurtz of Heritage HS and Joe Herrera of Tulare Western HS).  The favorite for this race is however a 200m. specialist who has raced to a personal best 21.56 time at a recent league meet.  Keeping those treo of runners honest will be McQueen HS senior Sebastian Feyersinger, Woodcreek HS junior Tyus Williamson and Vacaville HS senior, Daniel Mewborn.  All three have recorded times in the 21.85-21.86 range.

The girls 3200m. race has 24 entrants but that number could be a bit smaller come race time.  Fiona O'Keeffe will run the 800m. race first and with only 45 minutes of rest preceeding the 3200m., it could be a meet time decision if she races again.  Brooke Starn, Kyra Hunsberger, Jenica Dodge, Sofia Castiglioni will be some of the entrants also doubling back from an earlier event.  That could leave the race wide open for the fresh athletes just entered in the 3200m. like River Valley HS runner, Leanne Jarvis.  She ran a lifetime best time of 10:53.97 at the Arcadia Invitational and won two heats at the Stanford Invitational in the 3k and mile respectively.  

As with the girls 3200m. race, the boys field has a big group doubling back from the earlier 1600m.  That leaves the race with lots of contenders but no real favorite although I believe that a few that were entered in both will choose to just run the 3200m.  Kai Benedict of McQueen HS has the fastest entry time with his 9:08.96 from the Arcadia Invitational.  He will be challenged by some of the top runners from the SJS including Steven Grolle of Sonora HS, George Miao of Rocklin HS, Paul Zeiss of Granite Bay HS, Edward Chance of Del Campo HS and Nathan Wellington of Whitney HS.  Just as in the 1600m., John Hogan of Lowell HS will be a factor if he is near the leaders as he closes very well when in the hunt.

The girls' 1600m. relay could be an interesting contest as 6 teams are entered that have all run under 4 minutes.  The three fastest teams entered are also the three fastest teams in the SJS so this could be a mini preview of the upcoming section final.  The three teams are only separated by a second which means the team with the best passes and perhaps best anchor will take home the gold here.  Elk Grove has the fastest entry time with 3:55.57 but very close behind are Franklin (3:56.19) and St. Francis, Sacramento (3:56.60).  The rest of the teams could get in the mix with some inspired running and that list could include Pitman, Carondelet and James Logan.

The last event of the day is scheduled for 8:15pm and after two plus hours of racing, one team will get to cross the finish line as the last winner of the competition.  The favorite at this point has to be Hercules HS which has boasts the 3rd fastest time in the state with their 3:15.50.  That is by far the fastest time in NCS and should be well ahead of the competition at this meet.  The team that might have a shot at Hercules will be Vacaville HS although they still need to figure out how to make up over 3 seconds.  Del Oro HS, De La Salle HS Acalanes HS and McQueen should all be in the mix as teams start to gear up for their league championship races.