This past spring, the North Coast Section had several outstanding efforts with multiple athletes and teams breaking into the top 10 of all-time marks in several events.
Teamwise, the De La Salle boys outdistanced the rest of the teams led by their uber-talented senior, Chukwunonso Udeh. At the NCS MOC, Udeh was a triple winner taking the 110 meters hurdles, long jump, and high jump. He also ran a leg on the second place 400 meters relay team which narrowly lost to Acalanes 41.46 to 41.67.
The Campolindo girls repeated as section champions led by sprinter/hurdler Mari Testa and distance runner Ellie Buckley. Testa was a triple champion in the 100 meters hurdles, 100 meters, and 200 meters. Buckley was a top three finisher in both the 1600 meters and 3200 meters. Campolindo junior thrower Pinkie Schnayer also won the shot put to add 10 big points to Campolindo's score.
The following weekend resulted in outstanding performances for both veteran and rookie competitors as you can see from the following lists which includes all the State Meet medalists.
Podium NCS athletes from the California State Track and Field Meet.
100 meters - Robert Stitts (El Cerrito) 3rd Place 10.31
3200 meters - Sean Morello (Albany) 7th place 8:59.35
110 meters Hurdles - Chukwunonso Udeh (De La Salle) 5th place 14.29
3200 meters Relay - Clayton Valley 7th place 7:49.14
High Jump - Nathan Fifer (Montgomery) 2nd place 6-6
High Jump - Chukwunonso Udeh 5th place 6-4
Triple Jump - Brandon Rush (Bishop O'Dowd) 5th place 46-2.75
800 meters - Cate Peters (Monte Vista) 6th place 2:10.03
1600 meters - Hanne Thomsen (Montgomery) 4th place 4:43.63
100 meters Hurdles - Mari Testa (Campolindo) 6th place 14.11
1600 meters Relay - Monte Vista 9th place 3:54.70
High Jump - Alexis Hunt (Maria Carillo) 2nd Place 5-10
Pole Vault - Lily Mulligan (Maria Carillo) 8th place 12-5
Long Jump - Lynee Sims (Castro Valley) 9th place 18-2.75
Triple Jump - Santia Ali (Clayton Valley) 8th place 37-7.25
Discus - Lauren Lemire (Pittsburg) 7th place 142-0
* * *
NORTH COAST SECTION ATHLETES OF THE YEAR
* * *
El Cerrito, Sr.
El Cerrito senior Robert Stitts was a double winner at the NCS MOC meet taking both the 100 and 200 titles. In the 100, Stitts ran a wind-aided 10.35 at the NCS MOC final and saved his most impressive effort for the state meet. There he ran a wind legal 10.31 for 3rd place which is the fastest 100 all-time in section history surpassing Jahvid Best's 10.36 from 2007. Stitts was also invited to the Brooks PR meet where he finished in 3rd place against some of the best sprinters in the country.
Honorable mention got to Bryce Thomas of Moreau Catholic who was a podium placer in the 400 meters as he placed 4th in the final with a time of 47.53. He also finished in 2nd place in the 200 at the NCS MOC meet behind our athlete of the year, Robert Stitt.
College Park, Sr.
This was another tough decision as the section was absolutely loaded with distance runners. Most of them chose to focus on one event at the section final. College Park senior Alex Lamoureux chose to focus on the 1600 and just made the state meet with a 3rd place finish. At the state meet, all 3 NCS runners qualified to final with Lamoureux finishing as the fastest of the group. He ran a lifetime best time of 4:09.94 to narrowly nab our distance runner of the year.
Honorable mention to the other section runners that nabbed podium finishes at the State Meet. Mateo Malko Allen of St. Mary's Berkeley finished in 6th place in the 1600, Albany's Lucas Cohen finished in 9th place in the 1600 while teammate Sean Morello finished 7th place in the 3200.
De La Salle, Sr.
If I had to pick an overall most valuable athlete for the section, my pick would be Chukwunonso Udeh of De La Salle. He ran on a state podium placing 400 relay team and qualified for the final in the 110 hurdles at the state meet where he finished in 5th place. He also finished in 4th place in the high jump with a mark of 6-4 but was most outstanding in the long jump as he claimed the state title with a mark of 23-9.75.
Honorable mention to Acalanes junior Trevor Rogers who finished in 4th place in the long jump at the State Meet and ran a leg on the impressive 400 relay team that finished in 2nd place also at the state meet.
McKinleyville senior Derek Ray was the section champion in the shot put with a best of 58-0.75 which he achieved at the state meet prelims. The following day, Ray threw 56-8 to finish in 8th place and garner a hard earned state meet medal.
Also impressive, Eureka senior thrower Jamin Guilbert was the section champion in the discus with a throw of 164-4. He saved his best effort for the state meet as he launched the discus 179-10 to qualify for the final where he finished in 10th place. He also had a best of 54-8.75 in the shot put.
Montgomery sophomore Hanne Thomsen continues to be the best distance runner in the section. In the 1600, Thomsen ran a lifetime best time of 4:43.63 to finish in 4th place at the state meet. That time now puts her as the 3rd fastest NCS competitor all-time trailing only Julia Stamps, Santa Rosa (4:42.79), and Cheri Williams, Livermore (4:43.4). In the 3200, Thomsen became the first NCS runner to break 10 minutes as she finished 2nd place at the Arcadia Invitational with a time of 9:55.31. She was a double section champion in both events and helped Montgomery qualify to the state meet in the 4 x 800 relay with a stirring anchor leg.
Honorable mention to Campolindo senior Ellie Buckley who finished in 3rd place in the 1600 and 2nd place in the 3200 helping Campolindo repeat as section team champions.
Maria Carrillo, Sr.
When selecting athletes of the year, I tend to lean toward athletes that do multiple events. Maria Carrillo senior Alexis Hunt only did one event this year, the high jump. She did manage to compete in 13 different competitions and saved her best performance for the most important meet, the state meet. During the regular season, Hunt had a best of 5-8 which she accomplished at a dual meet vs Santa Rosa. At the state meet, Hunt finished in 2nd place by jumping 5-10 which is the 2nd best jump in section history trailing only Maggie Van Zeeland of Acalanes and Mindy Wiley of Sonoma Valley who both jumped 5-11.
Honorable mention to Maria Carrillo teammate Lily Mulligan. She was the section champion in the pole vault and ran a leg on the state qualifying 400 meters relay team. She also had a season best of 17-1 in the long jump. She was a podium placer in the pole vault at the state meet with an 8th place finish.
We had two different winners in the shot put and discus events this season so the higher finisher at the state meet is our athlete of the year here. Pittsburg senior Lauren Lemire was the discus champion at the NCS MOC meet. She improved her personal best to 138-4 at the state meet trials and an even better 142-0 in the finals to place 7th.
Honorable mention to Campolindo junior Pinkie Schnayer who was one of only two throwers in the section to surpass the 40 foot mark with a best of 40'7. She was the section champion in the same event to help Campolindo repeat as team champions.
* * *
Albert Caruana is a coach in Northern California and a regular contributor to MileSplit.
Photos by DeAnna Turner and Raymond Tran