We can definitely complain about COVID-19 and the hardships that we have had to deal with in the last year. We can also admit that there are some things that have taken place that we can be thankful for during this time as well. One of them is that the best distance meet in Northern California, and perhaps all of California, now has morphed into three separate meets.
The Dublin Social Distance Fiesta had Meet #1 two weeks ago on April 10th and although this was the smallest DDF in history, it definitely had a few highlights. The biggest highlight was the Bellarmine trio of Nolan Topper, Colin Peattie, and Galen Topper, who crushed the 3200m with respective personal best times of 9:02.34, 9:04.80, and 9:10.15.
This Saturday's meet will be much larger in size because head coach at meet director Chris Williams was able to expand eligibility to teams from schools located within 120 miles of Dublin HS. This meet will be approximately 80 teams strong, 83 races deep, and include some of the elite runners in the state. We should be in for an exciting day of racing which will culminate with the main event of the meet, the boys' 3200m.
Here's a closer look at Saturday's DSDF Meet #2 events:
The first Sombrero heat will belong to the girls in the 1600m. The favorite will be Albany junior Sophia Nordenholz who set her PR in the first Dublin Social Distance Fiesta with a time of 4:57.80. The fastest entrant is McClatchy senior Julia Heckey, who established her PR of 4:55.24 two years ago.
Sacred Heart Prep senior Luci Lambert will also be in contention coming off an impressive double at the first WBAL meet. She won the 400m in 58.83 and established another PR in the 800 at 2:16.52. Audrey Allen of Miramonte anchored the DMR team this past weekend at Campolindo with a winning effort of 12:28.02.
A couple of other runners that will be in the mix will be Lick-Wilmerding senior Maya Lacamp, a 2019 state qualifier in the 800m, Noelle Diep of El Camino, 2019 CCS Division III XC champion, and Christel Elkins of St. Francis (Mt. View), a member of the Lancers 2019 CA state XC Division II runner-up team.
This past Saturday, Campolindo hosted a meet that featured a boys' DMR that was eventually won by an impressive Jesuit team in a national leading time of 10:07.25. In that race, Bellarmine finished a strong second behind Jesuit and we get a rematch here for several of the individuals on those teams.
The fastest entry time belongs to Bellarmine senior, Colin Peattie, who ran his PR of 4:09.99 as a sophomore at the CIF-State Meet where he placed second. His main competition should come from Jesuit senior Ajani Salcido, who anchored the Jesuit DMR team and has already established new PRs this year with his 4:14.87 and 1:54.99 for the 1600m and 800m respectively.
Two more Bellarmine seniors will also be among the lead pack with Galen Topper (4:13) and Nolan Topper (4:15) who both established their PRs at Stanford University -- the campus both will attend in the fall -- in a time trial effort last August.
Tamalpais junior Caden Carney won the DAL Distance Meet on April 17th establishing a PR of 4:16.80. He was followed by impressive College Park sophomore Alex Lamoureux, who also dipped under the 4:20 mark with a time of 4:19.83.
It should also be noted that the oldest meet record which happens to be in this event was established in 2009 will certainly be broken at this meet and more than likely by multiple runners.
The top three runners in this event will battle later this season at the Central Coast Section final. The aforementioned Luci Lambert has already established her fastest time in the 800m (2:16.52) after running the 400m earlier in the same meet. Castilleja sophomore Samira Kennedy also established a PR in the 400m and is primed for a fast time here.
St. Francis (Mt. View) senior Isabelle Cairns has the fastest PR in the field at 2:12.83 and had previously qualified for State Meets in 2018 and 2019. She also ran 58.70 in a dual this week and will be gunning for the win here.
Acalanes junior Lauren Yee has already run faster than 2:20 this season and has a best of 2:17.73. St. Francis (Sacramento) junior Cate Joaquin is one of the top runners out of the SJS and will be looking for a big time here.
Last spring was a difficult one for many athletes as they had their track season canceled in March. Some athletes took advantage of the circumstances and ended up running some very impressive times. Amador Valley senior John Lester certainly made quite a statement with his national leading time of 1:48.26 as well as a 4:06.97 mile. He will be favored to win here as he gets rolling with the track and field season with hopes of big times this summer.
Healdsburg senior Jack Vanden Heuvel has been quite impressive this spring with a 4:17.20 mile as well as a new PR in the 800m at 1:55.14. El Camino junior Yutaka Roberts has a best of 1:56.37 which he ran as a freshman to qualify for the CCS finals. In last spring's shortened season, Roberts ran 1:57.86 and will be looking to return back to form at this meet.
The big favorite to win here will be St. Helena senior Harper McClain. She was a State Meet qualifier in her first track and field season as a sophomore in 2019. She was also a state champion in her lone official XC season in 2019 and qualified for cross country team nationals as an individual to boot. Her best time of 10:29.68 was set at the 2019 CA State Track Championships.
Granada's Shae Hill will be focusing her efforts solely on this event looking to establish a new personal best. Albany's Sophia Nordenholz and Miramonte's Audrey Allen will both be doubling back from the 1600m but there will be plenty of time to recover between events and both should place among the leaders here.
When you look at all the sombrero heats in all of the events, this by far will be the deepest event. Along with the runners doubling back from the 1600m like Ajani Salcido of Jesuit, Nolan Topper of Bellarmine, Colin Peattie of Bellarmine, and Galen Topper of Bellarmine, you will also get an elite group looking to establish a new best time in this event.
Along with the other contenders, Daniel Winter of St. Mary's (Stockton) will certainly roll with the front group. He ran 9:07.45 at the Sundown Track Series Meet #3 on March 27th. Two other competitors who will compete here were also in that race with Jesuit junior Braden King finishing in 9:11.31 and Bella Vista junior Sean Lacey stopping the clock at 9:13.74.