Kersulis, Lester Overcome Weather At Dan Gabor

Athletes persevered through cold and wet conditions on Saturday in Pleasanton. (Photos by Nick Badders)

PLEASANTON -- It was a cool, wet, some might even say a tad miserable Saturday at the Dan Gabor Sprint & Distance Festival at Amador Valley High School. Still, the athletes came out and some put up some pretty good marks.

Pleasanton Foothill senior Tomas Kersulis scored a double, winning his specialty -- the boys 400 meters -- in a personal-best 48.98 seconds (also a meet record). He came back to win the 100 in 11.21.

"I felt like it was a good day coming in," Kersulis said. "I did 49.6 in a time trial. I knew during an actual meet I could probably do better.

"To PR in an opening meet is great."

Kersulis started out playing basketball and took up track in high school.

"Freshman year, I went to do track to work on my speed for basketball," he said. "I ended up being better at track than basketball."

He did one more year of basketball before quitting to concentrate on track.

"I like how there are concrete times, you can set a goal for yourself and try to meet that," Kersulis said. "That's what I like about it."

Kersulis's times have dropped from 54.8 (freshman) to 50.6 (sophomore) to 49.1 (junior) to his new PR.

Now that he has an early-season personal-best, Kersulis is going to work on getting faster. His goal is to make the CIF Championships.

"Low 48, maybe 47," Kersulis said of his next goal.


Kersulis said he would especially like to get an automatic qualifying time for the CIF meet. At last year's North Coast Section Meet of Champions, he finished seventh in the final in 49.98. The top three make the State Meet but those who make the qualifying mark of 48.57 in the MOC finals will also advance.

Kersulis wasn't the only one to put up a good time. Amador Valley junior John Lester, who made the State finals a year ago, opened his season with a crackling 1:52.06 in the boys 800. The time was a meet record as well as a personal-best for Lester.

A year ago, Lester made it through to the final day of the State Meet, finishing seventh in the finals, just off the medal stand. He ran a 1:52.99 that evening in Clovis and that he is already ahead of schedule is good news for him. He is looking to defending his NCS Meet of Champions title.

Euan Houston of Amador Valley opened his junior season by winning the 1,600 in 4:18.86. Granada senior Anthony Guerra won the 3,200 in 9:11.83. That was a PR by more than 30 seconds, dropping from the 9:42.00 he ran while finishing seventh in the event at last year's East Bay Athletic League championships.

San Ramon California High junior Cole Muller won the boys long jump at 21-06.

Dougherty Valley swept the girls 1,600, taking the first four places in the top heat. Junior Sameen Andar led the way in 5:15.04 followed by teammates Rhea Braganza (Soph., 5:15.28), Leah Abraham (Jr., 5:15.75) and Ritika Singh (Jr., 5:16.74).

Andar's time was a 10-second personal-best. A year ago, she was knocked out in the trials at the EBAL championships.

Crystal Springs freshman Kaiya Brooks won the 3,200 in 11:08.78, putting the rest of the Bay Area on notice.

California junior Sabrina Contreras won the pole vault at 10-6. That was a PR for her. Foothill sophomore Torre Anderson won the long jump at 18-03.

Granada senior Claire March swept the throws, taking the discus at 122-05 and winning the shot put at 34-10.