The top returning sprinter in the section was Northgate senior, Austin Kresley but he has transferred to IMG Academy in Florida. Kresley had bests of 10.65 and 22.03 and finished in 2nd place (100m) and 4th place (200m) at last year's NCS MOC meet. Kresley is not the only high profile North Coast Section athlete to transfer to the same academy but more on that other athlete when we cover the field events. Without Kresley, the top returning sprinter will be Croix Stewart (Don Lex photo above) of American Canyon. Stewart will be a sophomore after an outstanding freshman debut season in 2019. He recorded his season-best times of 10.81 and 21.78 at the NCS Redwood Empire meet and finished in 4th place in the 100m at the NCS MOC meet.
Over the past several years, the North Coast Section has been the home of two of the best runners in the nation with St. Joseph Notre Dame's Cooper Teare and Redwood's Liam Anderson. With Anderson graduating last year, the next runner following those gigantic footsteps will be Dublin senior Christopher Middleton-Pearson. He recorded bests of 1:55.26, 4:09.46 and 9:09.19 in 2019 and followed that up with his best cross country season during his stellar four years as part of the dominant Dublin team.
Middleton-Pearson (Anda Chu photo from last year's state track and field state meet) will be more than likely double at the NCS MOC and his first task will be to win the 1600m. He finished in 2nd place behind Anderson at last year's section final and 5th at the California state meet. His main competition in the 1600m should be Colton Swinth of Maria Carrillo who garnered his own state championship during XC as he raced to win the Division III title. He had a best of 4:16.81 and considering his strong running in the fall, Swinth should be primed to run much faster in the spring.
The favorite to win the 800m title will be Amador Valley junior John Lester. As a sophomore, Lester sprinted to win against a veteran field and claim his first section title. At the state meet, Lester qualified to the final and then saved his best race of the season where he recorded a PR of 1:52.99.
The fastest returning high hurdler in the section will be Nathaniel Spears of Eureka who won the NCS Redwood Empire meet with a best of 14.87. The top returning hurdler from the NCS MOC meet is Zavier Rodrigues of Maria Carrillo who finished one spot ahead of Spears with a 3rd place finish at 15.39. His season-best was 15.07.
The fastest returning 300m intermediate hurdler will be James Logan senior Meinkaye Kaye. He recorded his PR of 39.76 at the NCS MOC trials. The following day Kaye was the top underclassman in the final as he raced to a 6th place finish.
The jump events in this section has featured some of the all-time best track athletes in the state of California and this season would have featured one of the true elite jumpers in the nation, St. Mary's Berkeley senior, Malcolm Clemons. Clemons, however, is the 2nd section athlete to transfer to the IMG Academy in Florida as we covered during the summer at this LINK.
Without Clemons, the top returning jumpers in the section will include long jumper Andres Solorio of Vintage who finished in 5th place at last year's NCS MOC meet with a wind-aided 22-02. In the triple jump, Tamalpais junior Will Holden-Wingate finished in 4th place at the section final and had a season-best of 44-07.
The top two returning high jumpers from last year's section final are Castro Valley's Miles Bennett and Zavier Rodrigues of Maria Carrillo who both jumped 6-4 and finished in 6th place.
Now that Miramonte's Marcus Young has graduated, the opportunity to win a pole vault section title is a reality for multiple vaulters. Kainoa Lee of Moreau Catholic is the top returner from last year's section meet while Cameron Harris of Monte Vista had the best mark at 13-06.
The best returning shot putter in the section is Kalathan Laiwa-McKay of Ukiah. He finished in 3rd place at the NCS MOC meet and separated himself from the rest of the section returners at the state meet with a superb 54-11 at the state meet trials.