CCS Finals Preview
4x100 Relays – In the girls relay, Piedmont looks like the class of the field. With a very young, and very talented group, the Pirates ran a section leading 47.65 in the semi-finals. St. Francis (with top ranked hurdler Micha Auzenne) will battle it out with other State Meet hopefuls Leigh (with 11.92 CCS 100m favorite Sarah Cline), Valley Christian (with Shelby Smallwood 12.22) and surprising Seaside (with 12.04 Jayla Scholis). On the boys side, we have the eight team field split into two parts: Palo Alto, Bellarmine and Oak Grove are the only remaining teams that have run under 43.00. Palo Alto was the leading qualifier at 42.13, Bellarmine overcame a bad exchange to run a fine 42.38 and Oak Grove did their part, winning their heat with an untested 42.69. Behind these three, is a very balanced field of contenders led by Westmont (43.17), St. Francis (43.42) and Wilcox (43.43). Look to the middle of the track for an unbelievable race for the championship, but don’t be surprised if one of those outside teams puts a lot of pressure on the field. It’s the 4x100, anything can happen.
1600 – With the withdraw of SLV’s Anna Maxwell to focus on the 3200, US #1 Nikki Hiltz (Aptos) will be the prohibitive favorite entering the girls four lapper. Mt. View’s Allison Sturges cruised with Hiltz to a 5:04 automatic qualifying run and owns a PR (4:52.17) that has to take a backseat to no one. Behind the "Big 2" is a host of girls with sub 5:00 potential. In the boys race, it’s a little more up in the air. Woodside’s Chris Washura and Milpitas runner Yohaness Estifanos have PR’s about three seconds faster than the rest of the field, but in this field experience may play a larger factor than foot speed. The great majority of qualifiers have run within four or five seconds of each other, so the race should be one of the most incredible races to watch of the night. S.I.’s Ciaran Murphy (4:17.96), Bellarmine’s Adrian Hinojosa (4:16.30 PR) and Alisal’s Francisco Salvador (4:19.71 PR) will surely push the field to a fantastic race.
110 Hurdles/100 Hurdles – St. Francis Junior Micha Auzenne was the top qualifier for Friday’s finals. Auzenne has a season PR of 13.99 (#11 All Time CCS), which is almost a full second ahead of the field. Behind her will be a battle led by Santa Cruz Junior Jenny Deluchi (15.06), King City Senior Jessica Davis (15.12) and Mt. Pleasant Senior Cydney Leath (15.13). On the boys side, the weekly battle between Mitty’s Cameron Vaca and Prospect’s Kamara Biawogi will continue. Biawogi ran 14.60 in his easy trials victory and Vaca ran 14.64 in his heat to dwarf the field. It is fitting that these two will be in the center of the track battling as they have seemingly been in this rivalry for three years. High jump star Steven Dorsey (Monterey) will lead the charge to overtake the two favorites with Wright (Bellarmine), Strehlow (Wilcox) and talented 10th grader La-Anyane (Live Oak).
400 – It looks like it could be a very good day for the Pirates of Piedmont Hills. With the top two qualifiers: Elissa Bryant (55.08) and Timarya Baynard (55.86 #20 All Time CCS), the Pirates should earn much needed team points in the one lap event. Very talented Junior Miriam Ekwuru (Overfelt) will be pushing the Lady Pirates the entire way. Watch out for Menlo sophomore Madeline Price who split 55 on her relay split in the CCS Semifinals. The boys one lapper will be amazing! All eight qualifiers are within .8 of a second and if the weather cooperates could run VERY fast! Overfelt Senior Geoffrey Westerfield was the top qualifier at 48.85 and CCS leader Elliot Surovell (Carlmont/48.53) qualified 5th. There are five runners with PR’s in the 48 second range.
100 – On the girls side, it’s been Sarah Cline (Leigh/11.92 #19 All Time CCS) and Micha Auzenne (St. Francis/12.01) and a host of girls in the 12.20-12.30 range. But Seaside’s Junior Jayla Scholis announced herself to the Northern part of the section with authority blasting to a 12.04 heat win. The final should be very fast and very competitive. Look for Diaz (Piedmont Hills) and Smallwood (Valley Christian) to work their to challenge the field. On the boys side, what has been one of the deepest fields in two decades took a hit by losing two fantastic talents: Marshall (Valley Christian/10.61) and Johnson (St. Francis/10.61). The event has six athletes that qualified within a tenth of a second: including defending CCS champion Jourdan Soures (Gilroy) who owns a lifetime PR of 10.66. But the show should be in lane four with Palo Alto’s E.J. Floreal and his 10.52w speed. Crucial team points will be won during the shortest race on the track between Bellarmine and Palo Alto.
800 – The girls 800 is one of the more interesting races of the night. Too often the talent surrounding certain events make some times and results seem common. But the talent this year in the girls 800 has been anything but common. EIGHT girls this year have run times making the CCS Top 100 list, EIGHT! Of those that are remaining, Hiltz (Aptos 2:09.71 #18 All Time CCS), Kylie Goo (Westmoor 2:11.97 # 37 All Time CCS), Sturges (Mountain View 2:11.95 #36 CCS), Danielle Katz (Los Gatos 2:14.44 #64 All Time CCS) and Claire Bowie (Los Altos 2:15.53 #86 All Time CCS) are all in the field. Depending on how Sturges and Hiltz approach the 1600, this could be an amazing race. Hopefully Avalos (Lincoln), Spence (S.I.) and Dyer (Santa Clara) get pulled through to some amazing PR’s. On the boys side, Valley Christian’s Sean Davis has two seconds on the field and looked incredibly strong cruising through his trials heat. His season best of 1:52.39 could be challenged if SLV’s Cody Johnson runs with his aggressive style. The 800, as always, should be absolute battle behind Davis who may want to run ahead of the field to stay out of what is sure to be a very tightly bunched field.
300 Hurdles – King City’s Jessica Davis and Leland’s Eleni Fkiaras are the only runners to go below 45.00 this year. After this duo, there is a half second gap on the field. So look to the middle of the track for a toe to toe finish between these two aggressive runners. The field is incredibly bunched, and in the hurdles, you just never know what is going to happen. Vaca v. Biawogi round two. The two hurdle rivals will battle it out again to see who gets the highly coveted CCS crown. Biawogi (Prospect) was a state meet finalist a year ago (38.20 at Top 8 this year), and Vaca (Mitty) has saved his best for the end of the year (PR’ing at the trials last week with a 38.32). Defending CCS high jump champion Steven Dorsey (Monterey) announced his presence with authority in the trials running a fine 38.55 to put his name amongst the leaders.
200 – Leigh’s Sarah Cline and Seaside’s Jayla Scholis will renew their 100 rivalry. But this time they will be joined by the Piedmont Hills 400 duo of Baynard and Bryant. This race should feature at least six girls in the 24 second range, and Cline (who has a season best of 24.13 #8 All Time CCS) may find the conditions right to run something very, very special. Speaking of special, Palo Alto standout E.J. Floreal seemingly has a chance to do something that only three CCS runners have ever done, run under 21.00 in the 200. Floreal’s unreal 21.16 (#9 All Time CCS) at the SCVAL Championships served notice to the entire state that he was a force to be reckoned with. Defending 100 champion Jourdan Soures (Gilroy) will lead the pack in chase.
3200 – SLV’s Anna Maxwell and Scotts Valley’s Vanessa Frasier have season PR’s that are almost a 30 seconds faster than most of the field, so look for those two to leave early and push each other throughout. Maxwell has already demonstrated (by her completely solo and BLAZING 4:48 1600 in the CCS trials) that she is going to run her races on her terms. Top 8 champions Frasier, cruised her way to an easy qualifying and will surely not let Maxwell get away from her as the league rivals put on a show for the section to see. One of the most intriguing athletes to watch will be San Benito’s Vanessa Estrada who dropped the 1600 and 800 to focus on a state meet birth in the 3200. Estrada is incredibly aggressive as well, and will not back down anyone. Monta Vista’s Kevin Bishop and Yohaness Estifanos (Milpitas) will again renew one of the most enjoyable rivalries in the section to watch. The two talented runners will no doubt be striving for that magical 9:00 barrier as the CCS champions stretches to a close. With such a distance appreciative crowd urging the runners on, it is sure to be an amazing race.
4x400 – The only question will be, can Piedmont Hills break the two decade old record of 3:48.59 held by that magnificent St. Francis team of ’89 with the Mack sisters. The Pirates ran a solo 3:49.01 trials run that puts them in extremely rarified air. Los Gatos and Leland both have incredible balance and depth, and as always it should be a very exciting way to end the night. What could make the boys race incredible is that the meet may very well come down to the 4x400 between Bellarmine and Palo Alto. What if it’s winner take all, and 48 second quarter miler gets the baton Travis McHugh of Bellarmine gets the baton at the same time as all-everything Floreal of Palo Alto. It would be incredible! SLV, St. Francis, MA, Overfelt, San Benito and Salinas will have plenty to say about the race!!
Long Jump – Valley Christian’s Kristin Sato, Mt. Pleasant’s Cydney Leath and St. Francis sprinter Micha Auzenne are the only jumpers to break the 18 foot barrier this year and should battle it out for six jumps. Saratoga’s Ailene Nguyen and Leigh’s Casey Buck should challenge the for a state meet birth. The boys long jump will be a battle as well with seven of the qualifiers within eight inches. Oak Grove’s Dubem Awuzie muscled his way out to a fine 22’6" in qualifying and joins Wilcox’s Ricky Strehlow as two athletes with PR’s very close to that 23’0" range.
Triple Jump – Mt. Pleasant’s Cydney Leath, Wilcox’s talented sophomore Marissa Kwiatkowski, Catherine Li (Los Altos) and Lauren Johnson (St. Francis) are all 38’ plus jumpers this year. But only Kwiatkowski and Leath were able to put a complete jump together in the trials. Hopefully all of the competitors have fantastic days! Watch out for incredibly athletic Kristen Sato (Valley Christian). The boys triple jump is the only event that eight farthest jumpers of the entire season made the finals: ALL EIGHT! With Strehlow (Wilcox) out there at close to 48’0", he should be pushing all of the other jumpers to season PR’s. This event is way too close to predict, but don’t be surprised if the raw athleticism of Dorsey (Monterey) and Awuzie (Oak Grove) push Mr. Strehlow out there very far!
High Jump – On paper, there is a really interesting competition set up for Friday. Mady Feagan of Los Gatos looked fantastic in the trials, as did Michellie McDonald-O’Brian (S.I.). Both girls navigated their two qualifying jumps with ease and plenty of room to spare. As always, it should be fascinating who is ready to jump onto the big stage and earn a chance to jump at the state meet. I would not count out the experience and talent of Aptos’ Nikki Miyashita or the raw power of Mt. View’s Kylie McKown or Maggie Galle (Half Moon Bay), should be great! The boys high jump can be described easily with two words: WIDE OPEN. Although defending CCS Champion Steven Dorsey (Monterey – 6’9" #29 All Time CCS) returns to defend his title, there is a game group of jumpers ready to challenge for those state meet births. Talented 10th grader Dion Shadduck (Santa Cruz), basketball standout Trevor Priest (Santa Teresa) and Daniel Carlson (St. Francis) all cleared 6’5" in the trials and as always, this competition could very well come down to the wire.
Pole Vault – It amazes me how fast this event is expanding. Our section is one of the most talented areas for the girls pole vault in the Nation. It takes 11’0" to be #27 on the CCS All Time list. Westmont’s Keren Hendle jumped 11’0" in the trials and DIDN’T QUALIFY FOR THE FINALS. Homestead’s Rachel Bolton and Presentation’s Taylor Jaques should again push themselves to that 13’0" barrier (Jaques is #2 All Time CCS and Bolten #4), and behind them is a very talented pack of vaulters. The automatic state meet qualifying mark is 11’8" and I sincerely believe that we could have as many as six qualifiers if the conditions are right. WOW! Patrick Hughes (Los Gatos), Marc Toney (St. Francis) and Austin Decker (N.M.C.) all qualified easily for the finals and own a PR a foot clear of the field. Hopefully the big three will push each other higher and higher!
Shot Put – Mt. View’s Samantha Sinclair and Sacred Heart Cathedral’s Tyhana Cooper are the only girls to throw better than 40’ this year, well better. In this tightly bunched field, the competition to get on the podium will be intense! The boys shot put should be a West Catholic reunion with four WCAL standouts battling it out. CCS leader Cody Bickham (St. Francis) has thrown in the 55 foot range multiple times this year, and if he does it again, he will probably be victorious. But in the always unpredictable throws, don’t be surprised if strange things happen.
Discus – The girls discus should be a very balanced field. Top qualifier Brielle Rowe (Mt. View) has a season PR of 140’8" and from what I’ve been told, is capably of extending that PR at any moment. The field should be separated by inches this year which should make that back field at Gilroy very exciting! Again Cody Bickham is the prohibitive favorite in the disc with a PR of almost TWENTY feet better than his closed competitor (Ilaoa, Homestead). A quick kudos to Homestead, who has FOUR different athletes in the two boys throws. Which I don’t remember ever having seen.