For Pinewood junior Angela Gradiska, the 91st annual CIF State Track and Field Championships already are a dream come true. For four other local athletes, the preliminaries on Friday were something less.
Gradiska won her heats of the girls' 100 and 200 meters on Friday at Buchanan High in Clovis, advancing to Saturday's finals. She'll be joined by Palo Alto junior Philip MacQuitty in the boys' 3,200 final and Gunn senior Allegra Mayer in the girls' 3,200 final.
Gradiska was simply sensational on Friday. She won her 100 heat in a personal record of 11.67, the seventh-best time in the nation this season that keeps her at No. 6 all-time in the Central Coast Section.
In the 200, Gradiska ran perhaps an even more sizzling personal best of 23.64 and now ranks No. 3 all-time in CCS history in the event. Only Leslie Maxie of Mills in 1984 (23.40) and Sani Rosbey of Monterey in 1999 (23.52) have run faster than Gradiska.
Gradiska's 100 and 200 times were the second-fastest of the day. Jessica Davis of Highlands (Southern Section) ran the fastest 100 in 11.62 while Ashton Purvis of St. Elizabeth in Oakland (North Coast Section) clocked 23.51 to lead all 200 runners. Purvis, however, false-started in the 100 and was eliminated in an event where she was favored to win.
That opens the door, perhaps, for Gradiska.
"Winning the state meet hadn't really crossed my mind," she said. "I was just hoping to run my best. But, after running these times, it would be awesome."
While Gradiska advanced to the finals, four local athletes had their state hopes end.
Gunn junior Sunny Margerum finished a dismal 23rd in the girls' long jump with a best of 17-0. She came into the meet following a season best of 18-1 1/4. Her personal best of 18-10 was set last year. Stanford recruit Karynn Dunn of Diamond Ranch (Southern Section) was the top qualifier with a leap of 20-2 3/4.
Castilleja senior Libby Cooper ran 44.84 in the girls' 300 hurdles to finish fifth in her heat. The top qualifier was Ericka Nowell of Perris (Southern Section) in 42.20.
Gunn sophomore Erin Robinson ran 5:03.60 in her heat of the girls' 1,600 to finish 11th. Only the top seven runners in her heat advanced. The top overall qualifier was Chloe Curtis of Redondo (Southern Section) in 4:50.00.
Gunn sophomore Alison Ang was supposed to compete in the girls' pole vault, but was ill and did not compete.