Anderson Puts in Work at NCS Redwood Empire

SANTA ROSA, CALIFORNIA -- For Redwood senior Liam Anderson, today was just another day at the North Coast Section-Redwood Empire Area Track and Field Championships. While some have been working toward this moment all season, Anderson - one of the nation's top distance runners - used the meet as a tune-up as he readies for what is sure to be a decorated postseason.

Anderson started off his championship racing in victorious fashion, winning both the 1600m (4:15.31) and 3200m (9:15.88) with ease. Both times are well off his best of 4:09 and 8:51, but that's not what the meet was about.

"Just go out, moves the leg, move on," Anderson said about his race plans.

The season has been fruitful for Anderson - the 2018 NXN champion won the 1600m at the Stanford Invitational and is currently US No. 8 in the 3200m. With the pair of wins, Anderson - No. 25 in the latest MileSplit50 rankings - remains firmly atop the NCS in both events as he looks to gear up with the Meet of Champions coming next.

On the girls side, Healdsburg senior Gabrielle Peterson, who is a phenom herself, cruised to wins in the 1600m (4:47.90) and 3200m (10:42.12) as well. Peterson - one of the best runners in the state - showed her dominance early on, setting a personal record in the 1600m. She was already No. 3 in the 1600m in California entering the meet, and today's time puts her at No. 2 - just .60 seconds behind No. 1.

"I think the race went well," Peterson said modestly. "The first lap was pretty swift, Sierra [Atkins] really pushed me there and towards the end of the race, I felt strong."

The mild-mannered Peterson was visibly upbeat upon hearing her time in the 1600m - which she said was her main focus of the meet - and described it is as "awesome." Peterson heads into next week's Meet of Champions ranked No. 7 in the 3200m, and is aiming to qualify for the CIF-State Championships in both events.

In the sprints, American Canyon freshman sensation Croix Stewart built on his stellar inaugural season, sweeping the 100m (10.81) and 200m (21.78). The 10.81 is a new Redwood Empire Area meet record, and moves Stewart into sole possession of No. 4 in the NCS for the 100m (he was tied before). Stewart didn't even know he had the meet record until being interviewed by MileSplit, highlighting his humbleness.

Playing a factor into the record-setting performance? Stewart has mostly ran the 100m this season after have already ran the 400m. He didn't do that today.

"I feel really blessed [about the meet record]," Stewart said.

Stewart said he is hoping to get down to the 10.6-second range in the 100m and 21.5 in the 200m, and also is gunning for a berth in the CIF-State Championships for both events. In the field events, there was another record-setting performances.

Petaluma senior Sydney Dennis won the triple jump with her mark of 37-05.25. That's a seven-inch improvement from her prior personal best. More importantly, it puts Dennis in the conversation for a potential trip to the state meet. Dennis is now ranked No. 3 in the NCS for the triple jump.

"I'm really excited," Dennis said. "I'm thrilled. It was such a big PR today."

Next week, qualified athletes compete at the Meet of Champions at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill.