Palo Alto set itself up for a possible title run at the Central Coast Section boys' track and field championships by qualifying in eight spots during Saturday's section semifinals at Gilroy High.
The vaunted Paly sprint corps carried the load once again as the Vikings qualified both relay teams, had the top qualifier in the 200 and had two runners make the 100 final. In addition, Victor Du qualified in two field events and Nikolai Solgaard advanced in the 800.
Paly junior E.J. Floreal was the key figure in the Vikings' hopes as he anchored the 400 relay to victory in a season best of 42.13, the second-fastest time in school history. The school record is 42.07, set last year.
Floreal qualified third in the 100 in 10.85, but has a season best of 10.52. Teammate Tremaine Kirkman, who ran on the 400 relay, also advanced to the 100 finals with a seventh-place finish of 11.03.
Floreal came back and blew away the 200 field in a comfortable 21.66 (he ran a school-record 21.16 in the league finals). He did not, however, run a leg on the 1600 relay that clocked a season best of 3:22.95 and finished second in the CCS's No. 3 time this season. That team consisted of Morris Gates-Mouton, Solgaard, Jonathan Alee and sophomore Nick Sullivan.
Alee missed advancing in the 200 when he false-started.
Solgaard, meanwhile, continued to impress in the 800 as he ran a personal best of 1:55.72 to finish second and advance to next Friday's finals, also at Gilroy High.
Du also kept the Vikings' title hopes alive as he advanced in the high jump (6-3) and long jump (21-0 1/2).
The Palo Alto girls, meanwhile, qualified their 400 relay in 49.84, freshman Anna Dukovic earned a trip to the finals in the high jump (5-1) and senior Lindsay Black did likewise in the shot put by setting a school record of 39-0 1/2.
Elsewhere, Menlo School sophomore Maddy Price was the Knights' lone qualifier as she finished fourth in the girls' 400 in a personal record of 57.38, shaving nearly a half-second off her previous best.
Menlo-Atherton got three boys in the CCS finals as Michael Hester finished sixth in the 800 in 1:56.82, Jack Beckwith advanced in the 3,200 (9:40.62) and Di'jonn Williams finished fifth in the long jump at 21-3 1/2. The Bears also qualified their boys' 1600 relay team (fifth at 3:23.88) and their girls' 1600 squad (4:01.78).
Sacred Heart Prep had one qualifier for the finals, Cameron Van in the high jump (6-3).
Stanford-bound Chris Waschura of Woodside was the No. 1 qualifier in the boys' 1,600 in a season best of 4:15.91.