The North Coast Section follows the state format with the semifinals held on Friday (today) followed by the finals on Saturday. Cal Berkeley was the host for many years with the historic track facility the place where many of the top athletes in the section qualified to the California state meet. This year, the NCS MOC has a new home and the event will take place at Diablo Valley College. Some of the competitors will be making quite a trek to attempt to finish as one of the top three competitors in each respective events.
In the next few pages, I will shine a light on some of the favorites and leading contenders and any possible underdogs that could surprise the field.
You can follow the live results of the meet at this LINK with events taking place right now. We will also be present at the meet and you can follow us on Twitter @milesplitca and on Instagram @milesplitca.
The big favorite to win both sprint events (100 and 200) will be Amador Valley senior Chinyere Okoro. She has the fastest times in the section in both events at 11.57 and 23.94. Sophia Alexander of St. Mary's Berkeley is her closest pursuer and will make Okoro earn her double victories. The favorite in the 400m is Campolindo senior Maddy Doane who owns the fastest section time this season at 55.97.
Concord senior Rayna Stanziano is the top returning 800m runner in the state. She recorded an impressive triple at her league meet and scored double victories at the NCS Tri-Valley meet. She is now focusing on the 800m and will be a heavy favorite to win. Healdsburg senior Gabrielle Peterson should handle her opposition in the 1600m and 3200m just as easily. She has comfortably won many races this season wire to wire and look for her to do the same this weekend.
The short hurdle race appears to be wide open with Sofia Bailey of St. Mary's Berkeley as the slight favorite. She will need to hold off Chloe Stanford of Granada as well as Camrin Dolcini of Fortuna. It's a little more clear cut in the longer hurdle race as the strong favorite will be Las Lomas senior Taylor Weidinger. She is the only section hurdler to dip under the 44-second mark at 43.67.
The favorite to win both relays will be St. Mary's Berkeley. They ran section bests of 48.19 and 3:55.65 at the NCS Bayshore meet and appear to be peaking at the right time. They will be kept honest by Las Lomas (48.49) and Pittsburg (48.58) in the short relay. Campolindo (3:57.87) and Foothill (3:59.07) are the only two section teams that have dipped under the 4-minute mark so far this season but that may change at the trials on Friday.
Airiana Dargan of Concord has been the most consistent long jumper in the section and is coming off an 18-0 effort at the NCS Tri-Valley meet. She also posted the best triple jump at 37-9 last week and will be the slight favorite in that event as well. Fortuna's Katie Hurst (Ryan Sparks photo) has been the best high jumper in the section for the past few seasons and will be favored to capture another section title. Sir Francis Drake senior Brooke Simon just posted the 6th best pole vault mark in NCS history at 12'8" and will be favored to win that event.
San Leandro senior Deanna Gaines established a new personal best in the shot put at 41-11 at the NCS Bayshore meet. She will need to repeat that effort and hold off Hayward sophomore Joanna Togiai to win the shot put title. Granada junior Claire March has been the most consistent discus thrower in the section and her only loss of the season resulted in a 2nd place finish at the Stanford Invitational with a section-best 139-0.
Update: Claire March of Granada is our first winner of the day as she captured the NCS discus title with a throw of 138-7.
The best 100m sprinter in the section is Northgate junior Austin Kresley. He recorded a best of 10.65 at last week's section meet. The 200m favorite will be Clayton Valley senior Cameron Reynolds. He appears to be healing from an early season injury at the right time. Both sprinters will need to keep an eye on impressive American Canyon freshman Croix Stewart. Reynolds will be favored to win the 400m as he is the top returner in the event from last year's state meet.
The Sir Francis Drake boys have had an impressive spring and their best 800m runner (Nicco Pompili) just posted his best effort of the season with a section leading 1:53.65. Amador Valley sophomore John Lester seems to be peaking at the right time with a best of 1:54.33. The favorite in both distance events will be Redwood senior Liam Anderson. He is the defending state champion in the 1600m and has the 3rd fastest time in California in the 3200m at 8:51.89. Dublin's talented junior Christopher Middleton-Pearson should be Anderson's primary competition in both events.
Jaelen Craft of Newark Memorial will be looking to sweep both hurdle races. He will have some stiff competition from Dublin senior Donald Davis who has posted the fastest time in the highs with a wind-aided 14.51. Craft owns the fastest time in the section at 38.17.
The Clayton Valley boys will attempt to win both relay events. They have been quite impressive over the past two seasons and could be ready to drop their time even further on Saturday. San Leandro should keep Clayton Valley honest in the short relay race while Maria Carrillo should offer the biggest challenge in the final race of the meet.
Malcolm Clemons of St. Mary's Berkeley will be favored to win both the long and triple jumps although it won't be easy. He is the defending state champion in the long jump but has dealt with an injury throughout most of the season. The best high jumper in the section is Clayton Valley senior Daylon Hicks. He has jumped 6-10 this season and is the best returning jumper from last year's state meet. Raman Sidarth of Mission San Jose is a contender in both the triple and high jumps and should not be overlooked. Miramonte senior pole vaulter Marcus Young has a best of 16-0 and will be the overwhelming favorite to win that event.
Update: Raman Sidarth of Mission San Jose captured the triple jump title with a jump of 46-2.75 and the high jump title with a jump of 6-8.
The best combo thrower in the section is Middletown senior Bryson Trask. He has season bests of 57-8 in the shot put and 176-3.75 in the discus. His main competition in the shot put will be Chance Hefter of Newark Memorial who has been consistently well over 50 feet in his last few meets. John Maka of Pittsburg had the best mark last week at 178-6 and the discus should be a 2-man competition between Maka and Trask.
We will update any events that lose any favorites today. Please feel free to comment below on any favorites that we may have missed in our preview.