San Francisco Section Review: Lincoln tops Lowell

Lowell freshman Jenna Satovsky swept the distances at the section final and ran at the State Meet.

When discussing the CIF-San Francisco Section -- 'Home of the Academic Athletic Association' -- it's challenging to shift the focus beyond the dominance of the program at Lowell. 

Until this season, Lowell had swept the varsity events for boys and girls titles at the section final -- known as the All-City Championships -- for the past four years and 19 times dating to 1997.

Lincoln was the last team other than Lowell to sweep both varsity titles when it did so in 2011.

Adding the Frosh-Soph results into the mix, Lowell won the overall program title for he 32nd consecutive year. McTeer, in 1987, was the last school other than Lowell to win the overall title.

So, even when the Cardinals lose, they win!

The All-City Final is the highlight of the season for the state's tiniest section, which had just five varsity girls teams and seven varsity boys teams score at the meet.

The event doesn't necessarily serve as a qualifier for the State Meet, as is the case in most other sections, eight boys in nine events and five girls in five events across five schools did hit qualifying standards during the season and earned the trip to Buchanan High in Clovis to represent the section at the CIF-State Meet. 

None of the qualifiers to State made it out of Friday's preliminaries into Saturday's final, with the exception of two qualifiers in the 3200, which does not conduct a prelim. 

But in the May 20 All-City Final at Kezar Stadium, it was a showcase for Lincoln, which won the boys title over Lowell, 207-123, and a much-tighter girls competition over Lowell, 201-193. 

In the boys battle, the list of those contributing big points toward Lincoln's title can begin with senior Jovon Baker in the 300 hurdles (44.21), who also placed second (16.94) to teammate Joshua Lee in the 110 hurdles (15.39 PR), junior Mustapha Bhonopha in the 400 (51.96), junior Elias Marcelino in the 800 (2:08.39), and a field event crew that ultimately made the difference.

While Mission senior Jelani Al-Malik won the 100 meters for the third year in a row and the 200 for the second straight year, Lincoln picked sprint points in the 200 with Lee placing second (23.72) and senior Ajani Adewusi third (23.90). 

And now for the points haul in the field events. Junior Martin Koulikov won the triple jump (42-03.75/2.2), won the high jump (6-00), and was second in the long jump (19-11.00/1.4), compiling 28 points on his own.

Lincoln picked up another 39 points in the throws as junior Leo Gallegos won the shot put and was second in the discus, and senior Eugene Larios-Felton won the discus (132-10) to lead a 1-4 sweep for 28 points. 

Lowell's dominant distance program did its thing going 1-4 in the 3200 -- senior Noah Battaglia (9:44.44), junior Zachary Parker (9:47.52), senior Ian Lawrence (10:07.25) and senior James Holcombe (10:37.61) -- 1-3 in the 1600 -- Battaglia (4:30.67, Parker (4:34.46) and senior Beck Johnston (4:40.21) -- and 2-4 in the 800 -- junior Norton Choy (2:08.48), Lawrence (2:08.99) and junior Owen Choy (2:09.61). 

Lowell also picked up 10 points from junior Toby Judge with a victory in the pole vault (13-06.00, a five-inch PR outdoors). 

The only other event winner not from Lowell or Lincoln was Galileo Academy junior Benny Wu, who won the long jump (19-11.50/1.3 after jumping a 20-09 PR at the section trails).

In the girls competition, Lincoln picked up 56 points in the hurdles, 49 points in the throws, and 49 points in the jumps to offset Lowell's 84 points in the distances, a 36-4 advantage in the short sprints, and victories in both relays. 

Although Lowell out-scored Lincoln in the pole vault, Elen Zhu's 10-05 meet-record clearance earned 10 big points for Lincoln. 

Standouts among the girls were many, led by Lowell freshman Jenna Satovsky, who dominated the distances winning the 800 (2:30.96), 1600 (5:14.17) and 3200 (11:20.50 PR). Sophomore teammate Elizabeth Holcombe (pictured) was second in both the 1600 (5:22.56) and 3200 (12:08.02).

Event winners for Lincoln: Senior Isabelle Miner in the 100 hurdles for the third year in a row (15.92/1.2), senior Moriah Chiang in the 300 hurdles (51.37), Aina Wong in the triple jump (32-11.50/1.6), senior Makayla Scott in the discus (101-11), junior Jael Bryant in the shot (29-00.75), and senior Maxine Boyd in the high jump (4-10). 

Other event winners for Lowell were sophomore Brianna Grissom in the 400 (58.42 PR) and senior Kathleen Mai in the 100 (13.21/-1.1).

Kiara Neely, a junior at George Washington, was a rare event winner not from Lincoln or Lowell. She edged the top three runners from Lowell to win the 200 in 27.62 (-1.3) after running a 26.16 PR at the section trials. Another in that category is Galileo Academy senior Alanna Lee, who won the long jump with a PR effort of 16-04.00/2.2).

In the sections para comptition, Saqueo Hernandez had a shot put of 36-06.75 to set a meet record and Kevin Osunde had a long jump of 16-07, also a meet record. 

Those who qualified for the CIF-State Meet were Al-Malik in the 100, where he placed 23rd in prelims (season-best 11.04/1.1) and in the 200, where he placed 24th in the prelims (22.75/0.8); Bhonopha, who placed 27th in the 400 (51.84), Parker in the 1600, where he was 28th (4:31.10, nearly a two-second PR), Lee in the 110 hurdles, where he was 24th (15.64/1.6), Wu in the long jump, where he was 26th (18-01.75/-0.3), Koulikov in the triple jump, where he was 25th (41-08.00), Larios-Felton in the discus throw, where he was 22nd (125-06), and Battaglia where he ran in the Saturday night 3200 final, placing 25th (9:35.32). It was the second trip back for Larios-Felton, who threw his PR of 144-10 at the 2018 State Meet.

Section girls who competed at State were Neely in the 200, where she was 26th (26.65/0.7), Grissom in the 400, where she placed 25th (58.64), Holcombe in the 1600, where she was 28th (5:23.90), Lee in the long jump, where she was 26th (14-10.00), and Satovsky (pictured below) in the Saturday night 3200 where she was 24th (11:20.98). 

Lowell junior Ethan Fung (left) placed second in the 400 meters in the Para Ambulatory Division at the CIF-State Championships at Buchanan High School in Clovis. 

Photos in this article are from the CIF-State Meet by DeAnna Turner, Dan Tyree and Pat Rhames.