RECAP Muhammad Siblings Sweep Vault At Dan Gabor Invite

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PLEASANTON -- Jathiyah Muhammad watched the pole vaulter take a practice run and immediately moved to the side of the runway and yelled, "Kyle! You're blocking out again!"

You can kind of tell she's the daughter of a pole vault coach.

Muhammad is a pretty good pole vaulter herself. The Dublin High School (NC)  sophomore won the girls pole vault on Saturday at the Dan Gabor Invitational at Amador Valley HS, setting a meet record at 12 feet, 6 inches.

"I felt great," Muhammad said. "Keeping myself pumped up, having that positive energy. Getting the motivation."

That energy carried over after Muhammad missed three times at 13-0. She was running on the runway, bounding about before settling in for an interview.

"Right now, I could definitely jump some more," she said, after taking eight competitive jumps.

Muhammad has a lifetime best of 12-11.50 set last August. She has been pole vaulting for nine years. Unlike most vaulters that pick up the event in high school or shortly before, she has been vaulting since she was 6.

"I just picked up a pole (at practice one day)," she said.

Jathiyah Muhammad's dad Gary Muhammad is a coach in Northern California. The whole family had a good day at the meet -- Dublin freshman Khaliq Muhammad won the boys event at 14-0.

The weather was not perfect for vaulting -- there was a lot of wind blowing all day. At times it was cool and overcast and at times, the sun was out warming up the participants.

Khaliq Muhammad beat out Dublin teammate Tyler Trinh (13-0) to win. Having a strong group of vaulters on the Gaels helps Muhammad.

"Yes it does," he said. "Every day. Especially Tyler."

He added that "speed, strength, and confidence" will get him over bigger heights as the year progresses.

Dublin had a strong day all over the track. Leila Champion, a junior with a terrific name, won the 100 and 400 meters. In the 100, she recorded a time of 12.47 seconds into a 1.1 meter per second headwind. She ran 59.00 in the 400.

Champion is a 200-400 runner by trade but there was no 200 on the docket at the meet.

"I feel like I could have had a better start on the 100 but I'm really happy with what I did," she said. "I didn't get out of the blocks as quick as I wanted to do, but I was able to catch up."

Champion said she never checks the start list because it makes her nervous.

"I'm thinking that there's always someone faster than me," she said.

Foothill (NC) senior Torre Anderson was second in the 100 in 12.49 after winning the long jump in a meet record 18-6.50.

Brandon Burns, a Dublin senior, won the boys 100 in 11.27 with no wind reading.

"That was one of the best starts I've had," he said. "I want to try to get below 11.2, hopefully PR in every race. I'm still trying to work on my start and get that better. Stay loose, too."

Dublin senior Anish Kasam won the boys 300 hurdles in 39.19, well in front of second-place Chase Dinkel of Northgate (NC), who finished in 42.83. The time was a personal best for Kasam.

"This was my only event of the day," he said. "So I was well rested and well prepared."

He said his goal is to get under 38 seconds by the end of the season.

Foothill's Emma Lim won the girls 300 hurdles in 47.99, also by a wide margin.

"I was a little nervous just because it has been a long day," said Kim, who ran the 100 and 400. She was eighth and sixth, respectively, in 13.33 and 1:03.32.

Kim said she went out faster than usual. "I was hoping that I had enough energy at the end.," she said.

Albany (NC) senior Sophia Nordenholz swept the girls 1,600 and 3,200. She had a nice battle with Dougherty Valley (NC) freshman Sabrina Noriega in the 1,600, winning in 5:02.36 to Noriega's 5:04.69. Nordenholz won the 3,200 in 10:34.12, beating Crystal Springs Uplands (CC) junior Kaiya Brooks (10:44.61).

"My goal was to be under five and I was just off that," Nordenholz said of the 1,600. "That's OK, I'm glad with how it went and was glad to have Sabrina there to push me."

Caden Carney and Sean Morello threatened the meet record of 9:08.35 in the boys 3,200 but came up just short. Carney, a senior at Tamalpais (NC), won it in 9:09.87 with Morello, an Albany junior, coming home at 9:10.13. St. Mary's College Prep (NC) junior Mateo Malko-Allen was third (9:21.73).

College Park (NC) junior Alex Lamoureux won the 1600 (4:14.86) with Morello second (4:17.81) and Vacaville (SJ) sophomore Colton Walker third (4:20.15). 

Crustal Springs Uplands junior Furious Clay won the 800 in 1:56.23 with Dougherty Valley junior Shane Badcock second (1:58.22) and Dublin senior Adrian Tran third (1:59.97). 

Damin Esper is a freelance writer and regular contributor to MileSplitCA.

Cover photo by John Houston