Two relay teams from Palo Alto High and 14 local individuals will put it on the line at the 2011 Central Coast Section Track and Field Championships on Friday at Gilroy High. At stake for the top three finishers will be trips to the CIF State Meet at Buchanan High in Clovis on June 3-4.
The local qualifiers to the CCS finals are up from last season when only nine individuals and one relay team made the grade.
Four veterans from last year's section finals return for another shot at the state meet. That group includes Palo Alto senior Maurice Williams, Gunn senior Erin Robinson, Gunn junior Kieran Gallagher and Priory junior Kat Gregory. All four qualified following solid efforts at the CCS semifinals this past Saturday at Gilroy High.
Williams, who is hoping to earn a third trip to the state meet, will be busy in three events on Friday. He qualified fourth in the 100 at 11.09 and was second in the long jump at 21-10. He's also on the Vikings' 400 relay team that clocked a 42.85 while finishing third.
The other relay members are Tremaine Kirkman, Morris Gates-Mouton and Miles Anderson. Their 42.85 ranks second in school history to the 42.74 record from 1980.
Robinson cruised to a fourth-place finish of 11:11.98 in the girls' 3,200 while Gregory finished eighth in 11:15.95 after qualifying in the 1,600 with a 5:11.80 for 11th.
Gallagher was one of two local winners from the semifinals as she raced to victory in the girls' 800 in a season best of 2:12.82. She set the Gunn record of 2:11.36 in last year's semifinals. Teammate Kirsten Baird, a sophomore, was among four who cleared 5-2 in the high jump while tying for first.
Other qualifiers for the girls include Menlo School freshman Maddy Price in the 400 (sixth in 57.76), Menlo-Atherton's Catherine Carpenter in the 400 (eighth in 58.14), Sacred Heart Prep's Maggie Fong in the 100 (seventh in 12.67) and the Palo Alto 1,600 relay team advanced after taking fourth in 4:04.54.
For the boys, Menlo-Atherton's Michael Hester qualified in the 1,600 with a season-best time of 4:22.87, while Gunn junior Andrew Prior was a surprise non-qualifier while taking 19th in 4:29.24 after having a season best some 10 seconds faster. He was among the leaders when he was tripped with a lap to go. While he did manage to get up and finish, it was too late to qualify.
Palo Alto's Grant Sauer continued to run consistent times in the 110 high hurdles and earned a berth in the CCS finals with a 14.85 clocking. Cameron Van of Sacred Heart Prep and Victor Du of Palo Alto each cleared 6-2 in the high jump to advance while M-A senior Stas Della Morte went 21-3 1/2 in the long jump and was the final qualifier.
Menlo School senior Sam Parker made it to the CCS finals in the 800 with a solid time of 1:56.56.S
The CCS finals get under way with the girls' pole vault at 4 p.m. The girls' 400 relay is the first running event at 6 p.m. The 1,600 relays will wrap up the evening, with the girls starting first at 9:15 p.m.