After one year hiatus, CCS meet full of outstanding efforts


SOQUEL -- In a typical year, the Central Coast Section meet is held at Gilroy HS in late May. This year, the section championship was held at Soquel HS on Saturday, June 19th. Despite the new venue and later date, the meet was full of outstanding performances as well as competitors that claimed multiple titles.

The first outstanding mark was set by Palo Alto senior high jumper Aaron Kim. He had a best of 6-8 coming into the meet. After clearing 6-10, Kim had the bar moved up to 7-0. He missed on his first two attempts at that height and had one more attempt left. On his third attempt, Kim popped perfectly off the ground and cleared 7-0 with room to spare. An appreciative crowd cheered the historic effort which now has him as the #1 high jumper in California and #5 in the United States along with six other jumpers.

Aside from Kim, this meet had five individuals who won multiple titles. The first was impressive Sacred Heart Prep senior Luci Lambert (photos by Malcolm Slaney) who won the 1600 in a new personal record of 4:54.36. She won her second event, the 800, in another personal best of 2:11.35.

The next double winner was El Camino junior Yutaka Roberts. He came off the turn in the 400 in third place and powered past Aragon's Ian Koe and Serra's Aidan Mendoza to win in 49.56. In the 800, Roberts rocketed to the front and led for the majority of the race before being passed by Monte Vista Christian senior Andrew Bachman. Roberts rallied once again to win in 1:53.32.

The second female multiple champion was St. Francis senior Kaley Peterson. She scored two dominant wins in the two sprint events with times of 12.23 in the 100 and 24.82 in the 200. For good measures, Peterson also anchored the 400 relay to victory in 48.42 and led off the 1600 relay which eventually won in 3:52.85, the 7th fastest time in CA.

Stevenson junior Evan Johnson also won the 100 and 200 sprint events. He shot out to the lead in the 100 along with The King's Academy senior Noah Short. Johnson eventually pulled away to victory in 10.85. In the 200, Johnson trailed early leader Valley Christian's Jackson Berman.

The last double winner was Bellarmine senior, Nolan Topper. He definitely covered more ground than the other double champions and may have had the most difficult double of them all. Topper had to overcome a stern challenge from fellow WCAL member, Archbishop Mitty senior Taylor Iden. The result, a 4:07.97 victory just in front of Iden's 4:08.05.

In the 3200, Topper led for most of the race shadowed by Aptos senior Ben Laughlin. Just like the semis, Laughlin passed Topper in the final homestretch but with critical team points on the line, the Bellarmine senior rallied back to overtake Laughlin before the line 9:12.78 to 9:13.13.

Speaking of team points, the St. Francis girls outdistanced second place Lynbrook 64 to 45. They scored all their points in seven events (400 relay, 400, 100, 800, 200, 1600 relay, and shot put). Aside from Peterson's record day, Isabelle Cairns also scored in two individual events while winning the 400 in 57.62 and scoring in the 800 on the back end of a tough double.

The boys' team battle was hotly contested with the Los Altos boys holding a pretty good lead heading into the final few events. The Bellarmine boys rallied with 24 points in the 3200 as well as 10 in the pole vault as senior Leo Garcia-Czarkowski scored the victory with a 15-0 best. The final tally had Bellarmine scoring 66 points over the second-place Los Altos team with 59.


Albert Caruana is regular contributor to MileSplitCA.