Central Coast Section Meet Preview

After hosting the CCS Track and Field final from 2009 to 2014, Gilroy HS will once again be the site for the section final this Friday. The forecast looks very promising for the evening meet as the best competitors in the section will vie for state meet berths through top 3 finishes. Below are the favorites along with all their main competition in every event. The field events will start at 4pm followed by the start of the running events at 6pm.

Girls 4x100 M Relay 
Meet Record: Mt. Pleasant 46.55 2006
At-Large Mark: 47.32
Branham had the fastest time at the semifinals with 48.47. None of the top 3 teams ran their season best times but that may change in the final. Their main competition will come from the two WCAL teams, St. Francis, Mt. View (defending champs) and Archbishop Mitty. Those should be the 3 state meet qualifiers although the order is definitely up for grabs.

Boys 4 x 100 M Relay    
Meet Record: Independence 41.54 1988
At-Large Mark: 41.95
Palo Alto will start out of lane 4 as the fastest team from semis (42.77). Bellarmine has had the fastest team all season and won the CCS Top 8 meet with a season best 42.11. That was without senior leader Kyle Macauley who injured his hamstring a few days before the meet. He may be back for the finals and if healthy, look for Bellarmine to dip under the 42 second mark. Christopher and Serra will also be aiming for state meet berths.

Girls 1600 M

Meet Record: Anna Maxwell San Lorenzo Valley 4:42.57 2013
At-Large Mark: 4:54.91
When picking a favorite, it's always a little easier with the defending champion in the race. Gunn's Gillian Meeks won last year with a time of 4:57.98. She had a spectacular XC season in the fall that included a Division 2 state title. Marisa Villegas San Benito finished 2nd behind Meeks last year and will be looking to make a return trip to Buchanan HS. Emily Skahill St. Francis, Mt. View qualified in all 3 distance races but will focus on the longer two in the final. Watch out for Marea Zlatunich Aptos and Elena Kamas Homestead are both good finishers and will both make a run at the top 3.

Boys 1600 M
Meet Record: Mark Stillman Willow Glen 4:08.7 1977
At-Large Mark: 4:15.36
Kent Slaney Palo Alto is the top returner from last year's final with a 5th place finish. He has improved both his 800 and 3200 this season and will be after a personal record in this final. Roman Munoz King City won the CCS Top 8 meet with a solo effort in the slower heat. Matt Richardson and Dylan Doblar Bellarmine are both good closers and will be in the hunt for the win if they can maintain contact with the leaders. Zach Walker Willow Glen sophomore is a tough competitor and will not be afraid to mix it up with his older competitors.

Girls 100 M Hurdles

Vashti Thomas Mt. Pleasant 13.52 2008
At-Large Mark: 4:15.36
At-Large Mark: 14.11
Jazlynn Shearer Silver Creek may only be a freshman but she is definitely not short on experience. She has the fastest time in the field at 14.26 and will be the favorite. The only other hurdler in the field with a time under 15 seconds is Los Gatos senior, Caice Lanovaz. She will need to run a flawless final to beat Shearer but one thing is for certain, those will be the top two finishers. The third state meet finalist will more than likely come out of either lane 3 (Melissa Seaman St. Francis Mt. View) or lane 6 (Mackenzie Schoustra Burlingame).

Boys 110 M Hurdles
Arend Watkins Silver Creek 13.84c 1997
At-Large Mark: 14.32
Sam Schubert San Lorenzo Valley is the class of the field with a 14.44 semifinals time. With a potential section title, Schubert would add another CCS individual title for long time coach Rob Collins who will be stepping down as head coach at the end of this season. Both Bailey Thayer Los Altos and Devin Crummie Milpitas have run under 15 seconds this year and will both be in the hunt for a state meet berth. Isaki Wada-Law Los Gatos has the 2nd fastest time in the semis and will also be in the mix for a Fresno trip the following week.

Girls 400 M

Meet Record: Leslie Maxie Mills 53.92 1982
At-Large Mark: 55.74
Jade Harrison Cupertino will be the slight favorite as she raced Mikayla Revera Santa Catalina in the semis and edged her out 55.04 to 55.15. Revera is a tough competitor and did finish 2nd last year in the final just ahead of Harrison. Maya Miklos will be looking to add valuable points to her school's effort for a team section title. She is ranked 3rd going into the final and may drop this event at state to focus on the hurdles. That would mean that 4th place would advance and that spot could come down to a photo finish between Vanessa Koontz Christopher and Brooke Oleson Salinas.

Boys 400 M
Meet Record: Bill Green Cubberley 45.51 1979
At-Large Mark: 48.25
Before the start of this season, there was a very small list of prognosticators who would have selected Zack Miller Pacific Grove and Armon Plummer Serra as the co-favorites to win the CCS 400 M race. Both PR'ed in the semis and will be looking to at least match their time in the final. Joe Kull Los Altos is within range of a sub 49 race and will be waging his own battle with Jordan Mims Menlo Atherton and Jacob Avelino Mountain View for that coveted 3rd spot.

Girls 100 M
Meet Record: Jeneba Tarmoh Mt. Pleasant 11.39 2006
At-Large Mark: 11.91
This will be a tight one. Jade Harrison Cupertino has the slightest edge in terms of times from this season over Rachael Estell Mountain View. Harrison will be doubling back after the 400 M but she did the same at last year's final with a 3rd place finish. Te'Mesha Paxton Mitty was a 5th place finisher last year and will be in lane 1 in this year's final. While the battle for 3rd will not result in a spectacular time, the photo finish might draw quite a reaction from the homestretch crowd. It's CLOSE with 7 athletes recording times from 12.67 to 12.75 in the semis.

Boys 100 M
Meet Record: Rubin Williams Valley Christian SJ 10.37 2002
At-Large Mark: 10.73
The 100 M is a finicky event and lots of factors will determine the winner. Eli Givens Palo Alto is the defending champion and seems to be rounding into shape matching his lifetime best time at SCVAL final (10.77). Los Gatos junior Jared Geredes had the fastest time in the semis (10.89) and also has the best season time at 10.70. Brandon Bains St. Francis, Mt. View qualified for state in 2015 with a 3rd place finish and will looking for a repeat performance this year. Bellarmine will be chasing another team title and will be looking for big points from senior Troy Martig

Girls 800 M

Meet Record: Alicia Follmar Saratoga 2:07.79 2005
At-Large Mark: 2:11.47
Santa Cruz sophomore Mari Friedman (Kevin Johnson Santa Cruz Sentinel photo above) has been in the shadows of Cate Ratliff during her cross country and track and field seasons. This will be her moment to step out of those shadows as she will be the strong favorite to win here. She can win by leading or she may choose to follow the field and wait until the 2nd lap. She will be looking to improve her personal best of 2:10.93 which she ran at the Arcadia Invitational. Her main competitor should be Annalisa Crowe Menlo Atherton who finished in 4th place last season. The battle for 3rd will be very competitive with CCS Top 8 champion, Gabrielle Joffe Mountain View, fast closing Anaya Ward Santa Cruz, Castilleja junior Claire Traum, JJ Escalera Fremont and Kelly Bishop Monta Vista.

Boys 800 M
Meet Record: Rick Brown Los Altos 1:50.7 1970
At-Large Mark: 1:53.31
Bellarmine junior Ben Micallef will be a strong favorite to win here. He has the best personal record with his 1:52.48 from the Stanford Invitational. He finished 4th last year at the CCS finals. The field behind him is filled with half milers with state meet dreams and most of them are definitely very realistic. Alex Liebscher Pioneer may be the most experienced and had the 2nd fastest time at the semis (1:55.89). Raul Barraz North Salinas and Andy Buchanan Milpitas are also in the hunt and have both posted sub 1:56 times. Samir Arora St. Francis is a great closer and great closers always have a punchers chance in races such as this one. Two other veteran runners that also might make some noise are Ben Zaeske Los Altos and Marcus Avila Bellarmine.

Girls 300 M Hurdles
Meet Record: Tisha Ponder Del Mar 41.71 1996
At-Large Mark: 42.95
Caice Lanovaz won the Arcadia Invitational Heptathlon and has competed in 11 out of 16 possible events this season. She did not participate in this race at CCS last year but has the fastest time from the semis (44.99). She will be chasing defending champions Maya Miklos who will start in lane 5 and has the fastest time this season, 43.62. Melissa Seaman St. Francis finished in 2nd last year and will be aiming for another state meet run. Mackenzie Schoustra Burlingame finished in 4th place last year and will be aiming to knock off one of the already mentioned athletes.

Boys 300 M Hurdles
Meet Record: John Montgomery Independence 36.60 1988
At-Large Mark: 37.37
The two returning finalists (Leighton James Santa Teresa and Armon Plummer Serra) from last year's final are back and will be two of the favorites to qualify for the state meet. James had the fastest semis time (39.69) followed by Charlie Geaves Los Gatos (39.73) and Pummer (39.85). Sam Schubert San Lorenzo Valley is the best high hurdler in the section and ran his season best time (39.89) in the semis. Alex Kassem Wilcox and Isaki Wada-Law have also dipped under 40 seconds this year and are not to be counted out.

Girls 200 M
Meet Record: Jeneba Tarmoh Mt. Pleasant 23.47 2006
At-Large Mark: 24.18
Jade Harrison Cupertino is entered in all three sprint races and may be chasing an unprecedented trio of victories in those events. She had the fastest time in the semis and is the defending champion in this race. Her competition will be quite familiar to her with Mikayla Revera Santa Catalina and Rachael Estell Mountain View. Menlo Atherton freshman Maggie Hall will be in front of the three state meet contenders and will learn valuable experience in this final.

Boys 200 M

Meet Record: Rubin Williams Valley Christian SJ 20.84 2002
At-Large Mark: 21.68
Eli Givens Palo Alto (Malcolm Slaney photo above) won three individual events (100, 200, LJ) at last year's section final. He will not be participating in the long jump this year but will try to repeat his double sprint victory. The two sprinters that finished behind him last year were both juniors but both will not be taking part in this race. His main competition will come from his two outside lanes, Zack Miller Pacific Grove in lane 5 and Nathan Friedman Santa Cruz in lane 3. Bellarmine senior Troy Martig will be racing out of lane 7 but has the 2nd fastest section time in 21.97. He is a tough competitor who will chase down any sprinters ahead of him in the home stretch.

Girls 3200 M    
Meet Record: Cory Shubert Del Mar 10:09.5 1983
At-Large Mark: 10:35.25
Last year's section final was quite exciting and came down to the last homestretch as Santa Cruz junior Cate Ratliff held off Menlo's Elizabeth Lacy 10:27.10 to 10:27.71. Ratcliff is back and will be a slight favorite over junior Niki Iyer Harker. Ratliff had one of the finest cross country seasons in NorCal history which included a state individual title as well as being named NorCal runner of the year. She has been slowed a bit during this current season with a foot injury. Despite that, Ratliff won the CCS Top 8 meet and will be ready to defend her crown. Iyer has been the most consistent this season and did have the fastest time in the semis. Gillian Meeks Gunn will attempt to qualify for two state events and will need to stay in front of Kaylah Grant Live Oak, Julia Lemak Mitty, Emily Skahill St. Francis and Sarah Gayer Mills.

Boys 3200 M

Meet Record Gordon MacMitchell Gunn 8:58.60c 1973
At-Large Mark: 9:07.63
Justin Robison Lynbrook (Steve Fuller photo above) finished in 5th place at last year's final with a time of 9:18.82. He won the CCS Top 8 meet in April and ran the fastest time in the final. The other junior in last year's final was Nolan Dozier Sobrato. Both runners are focused on winning this race and will dictate the pace from up front. Kent Slaney Palo Alto will be doubling back from the 1600 but can't be counted out for a top 3 finish. Alexander Olivero St. Francis and Grant Faust Half Moon Bay have been solid section runners who could put a major exclamation mark on their careers with a top 3 finish. Meika Beaudoin-Rousseau Bellarmine, Robert Miranda Menlo and Zach Walker Willow Glen are 3 of 5 sophomores in the field that will try to speed up their natural running progression by upsetting their older competitors.

Girls 4x400 M Relay
Meet Record: Mt. Pleasant 3:49.9 2005
At-Large Mark: 3:50.34
With teams just looking to qualify for finals, no CCS team broke 4 minutes at the semis. That is not the case for the season as Los Gatos has the fastest time in the field by a significant margin at 3:54.42. They should be safely in front by the anchor position as Mari Friedman (Santa Cruz) and Annalisa Crowe (Menlo Atherton) will lock horns again after the earlier 800 M final. Santa Teresa, St. Francis and St. Ignatius are the next teams in line but will need monster anchor legs to get passed the three teams mentioned above.

Boys 4x400 M Relay

Meet Record: Los Altos 3:15.8 1970
At-Large Mark: 3:18.01
Serra won the final race at the 2015 CCS final edging Los Altos and Bellarmine. They recorded the fastest time at the semis at 3:20.84 which trails only the Los Gatos boys at 3:20.64 for section best. Bellarmine had the 2nd fastest time in the semis and finished 2nd to Serra at the WCAL final. The Bells could get a major boost in the final with the addition of Kyle Macauley. Archbishop Riordan will try to make it a clean sweep for the WCAL as they fend off Los Altos, Los Gatos and Lynbrook.

Girls Pole Vault
Meet Record: Tory Anthony Castilleja 13'8" 2007
At-Large Mark: 11'7"
The favorite is Erika Malaspina Pacific Collegiate who won last year's meet with a 13'0" jump. This season, Malaspina set a new personal best at the MTAL final with a jump of 13'7" that is currently #2 in California. She is very much within reach of the meet record. Her competition will be last year's 3rd place finisher, Sydney Jaques Presentation. The battle for 3rd should come down to seniors Samantha Oxford Santa Teresa and Kathryn Mohr Menlo Atherton who have both cleared heights above 12'0".

Girls Discus

Meet Record: Elena Bruckner Valley Christian SJ 168'8" 2016
At-Large Mark: 133'6"
The only drama in this competition will be if Elena Bruckner Valley Christian SJ can surpass her own record from the semis. This season, Bruckner has consistently been over 170'0" at 8 different meets with a best of 186'10". That mark is US #4 all-time. Teammate Athiya Iese had the 2nd best mark in the semis and VC SJ will try to repeat last year's one/two finish in the finals. Mills teammates Julia Gibbs and Tulouna Langi will each try to secure one of the final state meet spots while staying in front of D'Vina Brown Salinas and Christiana Chavez Soledad.

Boys Triple Jump
Meet Record: Harold Rucker Silver Creek 50'11.5" 1986
At-Large Mark: 
Darius Carbin Mt. Pleasant is the favorite here after winning last year's competition with a jump of 47'4". He will more than likely drop this event before the state meet so the 4th place jumper should advance to the state meet as well. Semanu Attiogbe Woodside has the best jump this season at 47'6" so he is very much in contention. Carbin's teammate, Johnny Marquez, is also in the mix and had the 3rd best jump in the semis. Also in contention is Bailey Thayer Los Altos, who jumped a season best 43'10" in the semis.

Girls Long Jump
Meet Record: Tisha Ponder Del Mar 20'6" 1996
At-Large Mark: 18'1"
This should be a very competitive event with 6 girls that jumped over 18'0" in the semis. At last year's CCS final, Rachael Estell Mountain View won the competition with a 17'11" jump. Caice Lanovaz Los Gatos and Arianna Fisher Silver Creek had the two best jumps in the semis with 18'11" jumps for both. Close behind was Taylor Johnson The King's Academy at 18'6". Kaela Lee St. Ignatius, Haley Romero Christopher and Kathleen Bufka Mercy SF are also in contention as their marks either surpass or are within reach of the state at-large mark of 18'1".

Girls High Jump
Meet Record: Jenna Grimaldi 6'0" 2001
At-Large Mark: 5'5"
Five competitors return from last year's competition and they include the 2nd and 3rd place finishers, Cassie Ackemann San Lorenzo Valley and Bella Dufek Aptos. Ackemann has the best jump this season at 5'7". Two jumpers have also jumped 5'6" this season and they are Olga Baryshnikova Prospect and Delaney Peranich St. Ignatius. The at-large mark will definitely be in play here which puts Julie Zweng Scotts Valley (5'4.25") and Aine McNulty Los Gatos (5'4") also in the mix of state contenders.

Boys Shot Put
Meet Record: Bob Brannen Los Gatos 63'9" 1964
At-Large Mark: 56'0"
It's not often that one school will sweep one event by both sexes but Valley Christian SJ may accomplish this feat in this event. With Elena Bruckner as the overwhelming favorite on the girls side, it will be up to Dylan McCreery to complete the sweep. He secured his season best mark of 51'9.75" at the semis and seem to be peaking at the right time. Nhahe Mapa Mills has the best mark in the section at 52'3" but has been fighting an uphill battle since an unfortunate injury in the middle of the season. Owen Mountford Mountain View also recorded his best mark this season at the semis with a put of 51'7.5". Also in the mix for state meet berths are Daniel Contawe Soledad, Edmund Muller Aragon and Ethan Hardgrave Bellarmine.

Boys Pole Vault
Meet Record: Nico Weiler Los Gatos 17'6.25" 2007
The team title could be locked out on the field. Kyvon Hughes Bellarmine was the WCAL champion with a season best 14'6" and was a competitor in last year's final. Talon Galvez-Bennett Serra finished in 2nd at the same final with the same mark. He's also the section leader with a 15'3" mark. Jimmy Escobar Burlingame was the PAL champion and has a season best of 15'1" which ranks him 2nd in CCS. Justin Navarro Mt. Pleasaant and Thomas Johnstone Los Gatos have both cleared 14'0" and will be in contention for a top 3 finish. 

Boys High Jump

Meet Record: Jeff Rogers Overfelt 7'3" 1985
At-Large Mark: 6'7"
Darius Carbin Mt. Pleasant has been the best high jumper this season with wins at Simplot and New Balance Indoors. He also won the CCS Top 8 meet with a jump of 7'0". His main competition will be from another Darius, Darius Thomas St. Francis who has a lifetime best of 7'0" and twice this season has cleared 6'10". Jeffrey Lee-Heidenreich Gunn is the 3rd best jumper in the competition with a jump of 6'6". Bailer Thayer Los Altos will be as busy as Carbin with two other events and will also be in the hunt here with a 6'4" season best.

Boys Discus
Meet Record: Nik Kay Los Gatos 204'10" 2003
Jake Kenney Wilcox is the defending section champion, has the section best mark and had the longest throw in the semis. That would make him the favorite but by no means a lock for the victory. Owen Mountford Mountain View also recorded his best mark in the semis with a throw of 162'0". Max Moore Valley Christian SJ also surpassed 160'0" in the semis and could also be joining his teammates to Fresno in June. Cullen Williams Leigh appears to safely be the 4th best thrower in the section but in the discus and with one big toss could make the three already mentioned throwers very nervous.

Girls Triple Jump
Meet Record: Vashti Thomas Mt. Pleasant 43'1.5" 2008
Arianna Fisher Silver Creek will be the favorite to win this event on Friday. She recorded a season best 39'0" this past Saturday and the next best triple jumpers in CCS, Caice Lanovaz & Cassi Ackemann, will not be in this event. Two St. Francis jumpers will be aiming to score big points here and they are Annika Opsasnick and Camille Esterlechner. They are by no means locks for 2nd and 3rd as Sophia Le Leigh, Annie Breger San Benito and Amanda Mell Los Altos have all surpassed 36 feet this year.

Boys Long Jump
Meet Record: Johnny Johnson Pacific Grove 25'3.25" 1964
Jared Geredes Los Gatos has the fastest 100 meter time in the section and now has added the #2 best long jump to his resume. He rode a 2.8 tail wind in the semis to record a season best 23'2.25" mark. Jason Smith Riordan has the best jump in the section with a wind aided 24'0" jump. He finished in 3rd place in the semis surpassed only be Geredes and WCAL rival Obinna Obodozie Serra. Zack Miller Pacific Grove seems to be peaking at the right time and could make waves in 3 events on Friday, including this one. He jumped 21'11" in the semis and will try to put himself in a state qualifying position in the final.

Girls Shot Put
Meet Record: Elena Bruckner Valley Christian SJ 53'5.5" 2015
Perhaps to make things more interesting, the section should make Elena Bruckner Valley Christian SJ throw right handed. She is by far the best thrower in California with the #1 mark in the US. She has thrown further than her own meet record this year so that will definitely be in play. Her teammate Athiya Iese has the 2nd best mark in the section at 41'5.5" and will be pressed by Tulouna Langi Mills 41'4.5". Saka Tagoai Westmoor is the only other thrower in the section who has surpassed 40 feet this year and will need to set a personal record for a shot at a top 3 finish.