MEETS ON TAP: CCS Top 8 Meet at Los Gatos HS

Scotts Valley junior Ashlyn Boothby (left) was third here last year in the 1600m behind Castilleja's Samira Kennedy and Palo Alto's Hillary Studdart with Kaiya Brooks of Crystal Springs Uplands next. Boothby is the favorite in the 1600m this year and is scheduled to battle Studdart in the 800-meter race.

* * *

The 42nd CCS Top 8 Meet will take place on Friday at Los Gatos HS. This meet is truly unique in California as the lone section preview meet which brings together the majority of the top athletes in the section before the league finals are underway in the next few weeks.

The meet has been held in multiple locations but Los Gatos HS seems to be the most popular and rightful host of the meet.

The field events will start at 3 pm with the pole vault while the running events will start at 5 pm with the girls 4x100 meter relay.

Here's a closer look at athletes and teams to watch in the running and field events:


Meet Record: 47.49 - Los Gatos 2014

As with most meet records for this meet, this one is quite safe. The fastest team this season has been the Archbishop Mitty girls who ran 48.67 at the Arcadia Invitational. As long as they can get the baton all the way around the track, the only drama will be in their finish time although they do have a team that could challenge them in St. Ignatius (49.10) who recorded their best time this season at the Stanford Invitational.

Meet Record: 41.15 - Mt. Pleasant 1992

We should have quite an exciting race here with four teams that have all dipped under the 43-second mark this season. The fastest time recorded in this section belongs to the Los Altos boys at 42.53. The Sacred Heart Prep boys have been equally as impressive with a best of 42.56 and a more recent 42.60 at a league meet unchallenged. Serra (42.73) and Lynbrook (42.96) will also be in the hunt and looking to upend the top two teams. The wildcard in this race will be the Harker boys. They were section champs last year with an all-junior lineup and have yet to field their top foursome.

GIRLS 1600
Meet Record: 4:47.64 - Nikki Hiltz (Aptos) 2012

The girls' 1600m has been a fairly strong event for this section for the past few decades. The most impressive runner in this section has been Scotts Valley junior Ashlyn Boothby. She has recorded bests of 2:10.37, 4:45.95 and 10:26.12. She will be the favorite here. Her main competition should come from Archbishop Mitty sophomore Evie Marheineke (4:56.10). The other runners who have run faster than 5 minutes are St. Francis sophomore Sabrina Zanetto (4:58.55) and Palo Alto sophomore Kinga Czajkowska (4:59.34).

BOYS 1600
Meet Record: 4:10.34 - Jeremy Kain (Scotts Valley) 2022

The boys' 1600 has a strong trio of runners who have already had outstanding seasons. Palo Alto junior Grant Morgenfeld has been the top male distance runner in the section with bests of 4:11.88 and 8:49.21. He has recorded victories in this event at the St. Francis and Stanford Invitationals. Los Gatos sophomore Aydon Stefanopoulos placed third at the Stanford Invitational recording his best of 4:12.41 and will be looking to finish in front of Pioneer sophomore Carson Hedlund, who won the Rising Stars Mile at the Arcadia Invitational just ahead of Stefanopoulos. Now that the official program has been posted, the top three entrants have since scratched. We should have a wide open race with the fastest entrant now being Benjamin Bouie of Crystal Springs Uplands School. 

Meet Record: 13.77 - Tamara Gulley (Oak Grove) 2000

Archbishop Mitty has the fastest 400 meter relay team and will have the fastest three hurdles in this field with junior Tiana Osuna (15.08), sophomore Laniah Simpson (15.21) and junior Taylor Oden (15.48). Looking to break up the Monarch trio will be Aptos senior Lena Manchester who has a season-best of 15.65. Silver Creek senior Shayana Tomasetti is the top returner from last year's CCS finals and should not be overlooked.

Meet Record: 13.89 - Arend Watkins (Silver Creek) 1997

The favorite to win this event will be Leland senior Miles Roberts (14.11). He recorded his best time at the Arcadia Invitational and that time has him as the second fastest high hurdler in California. The next two best hurdlers in the field are Lynbrook senior Evan Taylor (14.59) and Bellarmine junior James Buellesbach (14.85).

GIRLS 400 

Meet Record: 55.55 - D'Airrien Jackson (Wilcox) 2015

The best 400 runner in the field is Mountain View sophomore Hannah Rutherford. She was the section champion last year and has already improved her time this season to a section-best 55.19. Her main competition will come from Harker junior Anjali Yella. She just posted a lifetime best of 56.27 at the Mt. SAC Invitational and last spring, she was the only runner from the section to qualify for the state final. The next two best runners are Christopher senior Melia Middleton (57.08) and Gunn junior Avery Adelman (57.72).

BOYS 400

Meet Record: 46.32 - Calvin Harrison (North Salinas) 1993

Los Gatos is one of the top teams in the section and will be vying for a section team title in a few weeks. Their main strength appears to be the 400 as they currently hold the top two spots in this event with seniors Will Brennan (48.58) and Levi Romero (48.84). Serra has consistently been one of the top teams in the 4x400 relay and this year they once again have one of the top quarter milers in the section in senior Parker Harrison (49.05). The last entrant to break 50 seconds this season is Soquel senior Brody Staley (49.59).

GIRLS 100 
Meet Record: 11.54 - Damesha Craig (St. Francis) 1996

The fastest sprinter in the section has been St. Ignatius freshman sensation Ellie McCuskey-Hay (11.81). She is the lone section runner to dip under the 12 second mark. Harker junior Anjali Yella will also be competing in the 100 and has a season-best of 12.27. Another sprinter of note will be Santa Catalina senior Juliette Kosmont. She has a season-best of 12.33 after winning the section title in this event last year in 11.91. Meet record holder Damesha Craig's dad was indeed former 49er and Superbowl champion, Roger Craig.

BOYS 100
Meet Record: 10.40 - Tony Miller (Riordan) 1986 and Carl Montgomery (South San Francisco) 1980

Harker senior Andrew Fu has made his mark in the section in the sprints, long jump, and short relay. This past weekend, Fu turned it up a notch with a lifetime best of 10.56 with a slight tailwind (+2.3) at the Mt. SAC Invitational. He should have plenty of competition from Los Altos senior Zachary Fagin (10.62) and new Lynbrook 200m record holder Evan Taylor (10.63). 

GIRLS 800 
Meet Record: 2:09.34 - Anna Maxwell (San Lorenzo Valley) 2013

The girl's 800 is one of the deepest events in the section and some girls in this event will need to surpass the at-large time of 2:13.20 to qualify for the CA state meet from the CCS final race. On Friday, we should have a swift race with a few of the contenders. The fastest runner in the field will be Scotts Valley junior Ashlyn Boothby. She soloed a 2:10.37 time at the Firebird Relays and has been spectacular so far this season. Palo Alto senior Hillary Studdert has a best of 2:10.41 from last season and just recorded her fastest time of the season (2:11.85) at the Arcadia Invitational. St. Francis sophomore Sabrina Zanetto also recorded her best time at Arcadia at 2:12.74 and will not be afraid to go out with the talented duo up front.

BOYS 800
Meet Record: 1:51.04 - Yutaka Roberts (El Camino) 2022
Last year at this meet, El Camino senior Yutaka Roberts established the new meet record which will be quite safe this Friday. The fastest entry time in this event belongs to rapidly improving Homestead sophomore Evan Gardner. He just recorded a best of 1:55.33 at the Mt. SAC Invitational. His main challengers will be fellow sophomores, Pioneer's Carson Hedlund (1:55.36) and Los Gatos's Aydon Stefanopoulos (1:56.16).

Meet Record: 42.14 - Reonna Collier (Piedmont Hills) 2014

If you have been noticing, most of the meet records have been around for a while and this is an event where the meet record is quite safe. Archbishop Mitty junior Tiana Osuna (46.32) will be competing in both hurdle races and will be the slight favorite here. She has been the top finisher in this event on four different occasions this season. Her main competition will come from Christoper senior Melia Middleton who has a season-best of 46.58.


Meet Record: 37.99 - Scott Medina (San Benito) 2011

The best overall hurdler in the section is Independence senior Ben Kin Ho Tsang. He will not be competing at this meet but his 38.19 is definitely the standard set for all hurdles competing in this event. The fastest entrant at this meet is St. Ignatius junior Thomas Zang (40.32). He will be challenged by Archbishop Mitty's impressive freshman Prince Buchango-Babalola who has a season-best of 40.39 in only two attempts at this event. Look for a sub 40 clocking for the winner of this event on Friday.

Meet Record: 27.17 - Annette Coleman (Carlmont) 1989

The 200 is always an interesting event that usually pits the 100-meter sprinters versus the 400-meter sprinters. We will have such the case here as the favorite to win the 100, St. Ignatius freshman Ellie McCuskey-Hay (24.62) will race the 400 meter favorite, Mountain View sophomore Hannah Rutherford (24.50). Harker's Anjali Yella will finish off her trifecta of sprint events here and will be looking to improve her all-time best time of 25.12 established here last year at the same meet.

BOYS 200
Meet Record: 21-10 - Tony Miller (Riordan) 21.10 (1987)

As with the girls in this event, the 200 for the boys will have an array of short and long sprinters pitted against each other for section supremacy. The fastest entrant is Lynbrook senior Evan Taylor who just posted his PR of 21.74. His main competition should come from Leland senior Ryan Teeple (21.90) as well Las Altos junior Nathaniel Guillory (22.09). Los Gatos quarter-milers Wil Brennan and Levi Romero will be looking to sharpen their speed for their main event on their home track.

GIRLS 3200 
Meet Record: 10:16.98 - Sarah Robinson (Gunn) 2014

At the Arcadia Invitational, a record 9 girls broke the 10 minute barrier for the girls in this event as a result of great conditions and great competition. The conditions on Friday should be ideal for fast times as well in this event and we should have many pleased athletes at the conclusion of their race. The favorite at this point based on time is Adrian Wilcox senior Mircea Kippes who has a best of 10:54.73 which she recorded at the Dublin Distance Fiesta. Her main competition should come from Palo Alto sophomore Kinga Czajkowska who has a best of 11:05.81 but also has best of 4:59.34 in the 1600 set at the Arcadia Invitational.

BOYS 3200
Meet Record: 8:59.53 - Weston Strum (Pioneer) 2010

The CCS cross country runner of the year was Palo Alto junior Grant Morgenfeld has continued his impressive running in the spring and just missed breaking the CCS record in the 3200 at the Arcadia Invitational with a time of 8:49.21. He will be the strong favorite here. Wilcox senior John Cooper has also had an outstanding spring and will be looking to lower his time even further from his 9:07.52 best. Mountain View senior Evan Markelz had the fastest time on the Crystal Springs course (14:51.1) in the fall and has a best of 9:08.73 in this event.

Meet Record: 3:54.29 - St. Francis 1986

From looking at the entry times, it appears we have a three-team battle for the best team in this event. So far this season, the Christopher girls have recorded the fastest time in the section with their 4:03.29 at the Stanford Invitational. The Archbishop Mitty girls recorded their season best of 4:05.81 at the Arcadia Invitational. The Sacred Heart Cathedral girls won the Leland Quicksilver Invitational with a time of 4:06.29. Those three teams should be up front and racing for the win here but watch out for St. Francis (4:10.21) and Burlingame (4:10.32) who may be ready to challenge those three teams as we get closer to championship season.

Meet Record: 3:18.73 - Independence 1991

As mentioned earlier, the Los Gatos boys may be favorites to win the team title at the CCS meet in May. This event will definitely be part of their point arsenal and Los Gatos will be looking to make a statement here at this meet. They have a section best of 3:18.90 from the Arcadia Invitational and should be clear of the field perhaps during each leg. The teams fighting for the second spot should be Archbishop Mitty (3:26.99), Homestead (3:29.46) and St. Ignatius (3:29.84).

Meet Record: 20-3.25 - Elzunia Wojcicka (Hollister) 2001
The favorite to win the long jump competition for the girls will be St. Ignatius freshman Ellie McCuskey-Hay. She will have a busy day on Friday but will be fully focused on jumping far in this event. She has a best of 18-8.75 from the Stanford Invitational which is also the tops in the section. Her main competition should come from Aragon junior Pia Cho who has leaped over 18 feet twice this season with a best of 18-4.5 in a league dual meet.

Meet Record: 23-10 - Paul Bradford (Carlmont) 1992 and Derek Jones (Alvarez) 2001

The boy's long jump competition should be quite exciting and competitive. The favorite at this point is Palma junior Logan Saldate. He recently leaped to a section best of 24-0.5. His main competitor should be Harker senior Andrew Fu who has a best of 22-3.75 but has the capability of jumping much further in this kind of competitive environment. Christopher senior Kingsley Okoronkwo (22-11) and Bellarmine junior Kenneth Tucker (22-7) are also within striking distance of the top two jumpers mentioned above.

Meet Record: 42-11 - Wendy Brown (Woodside) 1984

Over the past few seasons, St. Ignatius has had an impressive group of jumpers who have been among the best in the section. The favorite in this event will be St. Ignatius senior Mariel Rocca who has a best of 37-0 set at the Lynbrook Invitational. Los Gatos senior Abigail Lo (36-7) should be quite familiar with the home field pit. Rithika Prabhuram of Evergreen Valley is the other jumper competing here that has surpassed 36 feet with a best of 36-5.

Meet Record: 48-1.75 - Larry Weldon (Silver Creek) 1982

For the boys, Christopher senior Kingsley Okoronkwo will be looking for a great performance here and has the best mark in this competition at 45-3.75. His main competition will come from Bellarmine junior Kenneth Tucker (44-7) and St. Ignatius teammates Monroe Barnum (43-2) and Noah Gonzalez (43-0).

Meet Record: 5-9 - Chi Johnson (Menlo Atherton) 1990

The girl's high jump competition will include the defending CIF-State champion in this event, Los Gatos senior Hannah Slover. She has jumped 5-2 in early April but will need to go a little higher to win this event. The two best jumpers competing here so far this season are Christopher senior Gabriela Baxter (5-5) and St. Francis junior Jamie Wade (5-5).

Meet Record: 7-3 - Jeff Rogers (Overfelt) 1985

Jeff Rogers, who still holds the meet record from 1985, is currently an outstanding coach at St. Mary's (NC) in Berkeley, and he still holds the Cal-Berkeley record in this event at 7-8. As for this competition, the best jumper in the section, Braylon Noble of Soquel (6-6) will compete here and will be a strong favorite if he nears his best mark of the season. His main competition will come from Milpitas sophomore Alexander Dillon, who has a best of 6-4 from mid March.

Meet Record: 13-8 - Tori Anthony (Castilleja) 2007

The best pole vaulter in the section will be here competing. Soquel junior Jonelle Scott has a best of 11-9 and is the only vaulter in the field to vault over 11 feet. A slew of vaulters have all cleared over 10 feet and we should have quite an exciting competition that could come down to who clears marks on their first or second attempts.

Meet Record: 17-0.75 - Nico Weiler (Los Gatos) 2008

The best vaulter for the boys has been Aragon senior Erik Dodge. He was a CIF-State qualifier last season and just established his best of 15-1 in an April dual meet. He should have plenty of competition on Friday as St. Ignatius junior Lexington Lehnert has cleared 14-8. Aragon teammate Jarod Nunnemaker has also cleared 14-7 and we could have a preview of the section final here at Los Gatos.

Meet Record: 52-10 - Elena Bruckner (Valley Christian) 2016

Los Gatos sophomore Nicole Steiner is heads and shoulders above the field here as she has a best of 41-6.5. She is the only competitor in the field to surpass forty feet and will be looking to be a consistent 40 foot thrower with another throw in that neighborhood here. The next best thrower is Woodside junior Bridget Reynolds who has a best of 38-2.

Meet Record: 60-1.50 - Fred Houston (Willow Glen) 1984

Santa Clara senior Mateo Garcia started out as a jumper at Pinewood and is now among the best throwers in the section in this event. His best mark of 49-2 was in a winning effort at the St. Francis Invitational. With several of the top throwers in the section not competing here, the next best thrower is The King's Academy sophomore Joshua Taylor (48-3).


Meet Record: 186-10 - Elena Bruckner (Valley Christian) 2016

We will have a strong favorite in this event. For the girls, Homestead senior Ningning O'Brien has a best of 144-1 which she just set at the Mt. SAC Invitational. The two throwers that will be battling for second place should be between Samantha Smith of Santa Teresa (128-0) and Bridget Reynolds of Woodside (121-5).


Meet Record: 199-0 - John Wirth (Leland) 1988

For the boys, we should have a great two way battle between the top two discus throwers in the section. Silver Creek junior Kyler Headley has a best of 170-3 is the defending section champion. His main competitor will be Santa Clara senior Liam Brennan who has a season best of 167-8 and will be super motivated at the section meet after finishing in 5th during the 2022 season.

Records Source:

Albert Caruana is a Bay Area-based coach and a regular contributor to MileSplit

Photos by Raul Ebio, Dan McSweeney, and Raymond Tran