RECAP Cental Coast Stars Warm Up for CIF at CCS Top 8


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LOS GATOS -- There is a new sensation burning up the track in the Central Coast Section. Mountain View High School freshman Hannah Rutherford (pictured) entered the CCS Top 8 meet on Friday at Los Gatos High with the best time in the section in the 200 and 400 meters and the second-best time in the 100. The Top 8 meet was a chance to show that she is no fluke.

She is no fluke.

Rutherford won the girls 200 and 400, both in new personal bests. She may not be the tallest sprinter on the track but she is towering over the rest of the section.

In the 400, she won in 55.88 seconds, nearly a second better than Harker sophomore Anjali Yella (56.85).

"Anjali got out really fast," Rutherford said. "I think that really helped me with the first half of the race. During practice, we had just worked on the latter half of the race. I think I was really able to accelerate once I got onto the turn and finish strong.

"Going under 56 is just insane. It's something I never would have thought could happen."

Rutherford came back to win the 200 in 25.02, taking .30 off of her PR. She said her success is a surprise.

"At the start of the year I didn't know what to expect because I didn't run in middle school because of the pandemic," she said. "I was hoping that maybe I would be able to make it onto varsity."

Yeah, we think she has made the team.

It was a lovely evening in Los Gatos, with some clouds and some win but mostly good conditions. Juliette Kosmont of Santa Catalina won the 100 in 12.16. She is the only CCS runner ranked ahead of Rutherford in the 100 with a best of 12.12. Rutherford, who didn't run the race at the Top 8, has run 12.24.

Castilleja junior Samira Kennedy led a very fast 1600m, running a 4:49.37 PR (CA No. 6) to win. Palo Alto junior Hillary Studdert was second in 4:51.44.

In that girls 1600m, the top eight all went under 5 minutes, and only one of them, Pioneer's Bella Peretti, is a senior. For the moment, Kennedy's time slots her No. 5 in the state. Studdert's time puts her in a tie for CA No. 8. 

St. Francis sophomore Lillian Kaelber won the 800 in 2:12.95. Kaelber, however, thinks of herself as a 400 runner (she ranked fifth in the CCS coming in at 58.50 but didn't run that event).

"I'm mostly focusing on the 400 so this is my last chance to do a fresh eight," she said. "I definitely want to run a 56."

Valley Christian senior Jakson Berman swept the 100 and 200. He took the former in 10.88 and the latter in 22.13.

"I haven't run a lot of 100s this year," Berman said. "My coaches had me running the 400 a lot so that was my fourth 100 this year. I feel confident my start was getting better. Then I was just staying in front of myself, making sure I don't butt kick too much and that I finish strong like my 200."

Berman said he thinks his 200 is better than his 100.

"I just have to incorporate my 200 into my 100 and I do pretty good," he said. "I'm looking forward to competing and mainly just having fun. That's all I really care about this year."

El Camino senior Yutaka Roberts continued his strong season, winning the 800 in a meet record and personal-best 1:51.04. Roberts already won at the Stanford Invitational and the Dublin Distance Fiesta and took fifth at the Arcadia Invitational.

"My plan was to take the lead and go out as hard as I could without pushing it too hard," Roberts said. "Thankfully, I was able to do that the whole race. A second off of what I was planning, but I'll still have a few more chances before it's over."

Los Gatos junior Wil Brennan was extremely excited to PR in the 400, winning in 49.51.

"My (PR) was 50.07, so it's a big jump," he said. "I felt good. I trained a lot this week, ran a couple of 800s which I definitely think helped me in the last 100."

Valley Christian junior Jurrion Dickey won the long jump at 23 feet, 9 ΒΌ inches. Monte Vista Christian Clayton King took the discus at 150-0. St. Ignatius senior Adrian DiLena was the winner in the high jump at 6-4. Logan Lehnert, also a St. Ignatius senior, won the pole vault at 14-6.

Los Gatos junior Hannah Slover won the girls high jump at 5-6. Aptos senior Elizabeth Churchill was the winner in the long jump at 18-10.75. Nicole Steiner, a freshman at Los Gatos, won the shot put at 37-2.

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Damin Esper is a Bay Area-based freelance writer and a regular contributor to MileSplit.

Photos by Raul Ebio.