Palo Alto's Givens earns three berths for state track meet


The 2015 Central Coast Section Track and Field Championships on Friday night at San Jose City College served two purposes. One, the meet qualified athletes to the state championships. Two, it marked the 50th anniversary of the first section meet in 1966 -- a boys-only affair.

Remarkably, eight boys' events from that first meet stood the test of time -- a 10.83 100, a 21.47 in the 200, a 1:55.03 800, a 14.34 in the 110 high hurdles, a 6-9 3/4 high jump, a 22-8 1/2 long jump, a 62-6 3/8 mark in the shot put and a winning throw of 171-11 in the discus.

While Palo Alto junior Eli Givens came up short in surpassing three winning marks from 1966, he did accomplish something that has proven rare over the decades -- winning three individual events. In fact, he's the first athlete from Paly to do that.

Only two athletes in 1966 won more than one event -- Randy Weil of Burlingame in both hurdles events and Steve Wilhelm of Fremont in the shot put and discus.

Givens qualified for the section finals in four events, missing only in the 1,600 relay on Friday where the Vikings' quartet of junior Austin Cox, junior Dami Bolarinwa, sophomore Kent Slaney and Givens clocked 3:25.07 for sixth. Paly would have had to run a season best to surpass the final qualifying time of 3:21.80 by Bellarmine.

By the time the 1,600 relay had ended, however, Givens had earned himself three berths for next weekend's CIF State Meet at Buchanan High in Fresno.

Givens got his first with a surprise victory in the long jump, where he leaped a personal best (by more than a foot) of 22 feet, 5 1/2 inches, albeit slightly wind-aided. Nonetheless, that ranks him among the best in school history. The winning mark in 1966 was 22-8 1/2 by Bob Jordan of San Mateo.

Givens got his second in the 100, where he pulled away to win in a wind-legal 10.91. In 1966, the winning time was 10.83 (converted from 9.9 for 100 yards) by Jim Marshall of Ravenswood.

Givens made it three by winning the 200 meters in a wind-aided 21.54, his fastest ever. That ranks him No. 2 in school history. The winning time in 1966 was 21.6 for 220 yards by Cal Robinson of Overfelt. That converts to a 21.47 for 200 meters.

The efforts by Givens helped give Palo Alto 41 points and a third-place finish in the team standings. His sprint double is only the second by Paly in section history, the first since E.J. Floreal won the 100 and 200 in 2012.

Givens, who reached last year's state meet in three events (100, 200 and 1,600 relay), was one of six local athletes to qualify for the 2015 state championships.

Gunn junior Maya Miklos advanced in two events after winning the 300 hurdles in a CCS-leading 43.79 and finishing third in the 100 hurdles in a personal best of 15.11, which ranks her No. 3 in school history. The 300 title was her second, as she won as a freshman.

Fellow junior and teammate Gillian Meeks also earned a returned trip to the state meet after winning the 1,600 in 4:57.98, her first section crown and the first ever by a Gunn girl at that distance. Her attempt to double like Miklos came up short when she finish seventh in the 3,200 in a pedestrian (for her) 11:03.08.

"I think Gillian was emotionally tired from the 1600," said Gunn coach PattiSue Plumer. "She was soooo excited and ran so well. I think the way things lined up in CCS this year, she had a better chance in the 1600, but comparably her times are stronger in the 3200. But, she was a beast in the 1600, leading the whole way and making her moves just at the right spots so extremely happy that she did that race."

Menlo senior Lizzie Lacy did advance in the 3,200 as she ran her second-fastest time ever, a 10:27.71, to take second behind Cate Ratliff of Santa Cruz (10:27.10). The two sprinted the last 120 meters. Lacy's time was faster than all but four winning times in CCS history since the race was first held in 1977.

Also advancing to Fresno next weekend was Menlo-Atherton senior Adam Scandlyn. He made two tours of the track in a personal best of 1:55.92 to finish second and move to No. 4 in school history in the 800.

Scandlyn will be joined by M-A junior Kathryn Mohr in the pole vault. While she tied for fourth at 11-7 (only the top three automatically qualify), Mohr did reach the at-large qualifying mark.

A handful of local athletes just missed on advancing.

Menlo-Atherton junior Annalisa Crowe finished in the most frustrating of positions, fourth in the girls' 800 in a season-best of 2:14.44.

Palo Alto sophomore Kent Slaney and Paly junior Dami Bolarinwa each finished fifth. Slaney, who was added to the 1,600 field following scratches, made the most of his opportunity and ran a lifetime best of 4:18.55. That ranks him among the top five in school history. Bolarinwa also ran a personal best, clocking 50.48 in the 400.

The Palo Alto girls' 400 relay team of Marion Sellier, Catherine Yu, Anna Dukovic and Julia Asin was fifth in 49.07.

Sacred Heart Prep senior Daniel Hill erased his own school record in the 3,200 by taking sixth in 9:20.97.

Priory senior Ross Corey was seventh in the 800 in 1:57.91 and Sacred Heart Prep senior Garrett Mack was ninth in 2:00.55.

Palo Alto's Asin was seventh in the girls' 400, but clocked a personal best of 58.73. Yu finished fifth in the 300 hurdles in 46.56, just missing her PR.

Palo Alto's Dukovic was sixth in the girls' long jump at 16-9 and Gunn junior Amy Watt was seventh in 16-8.

The Palo Alto girls' 1,600 relay team was seventh in 4:14.19 with the team of Yu, Titi Bolarinwa, Adee Newman and Asin.

Gunn sophomore Jeffrey Lee-Heidenreich tied for eighth in the triple jump at 42-1 and Sacred Heart Prep's Griffin Kraemer was 10th at 40-7 1/2.

Sacred Heart Prep's Ma'ata Makoni was ninth in both the girls' shot put (34-1) and discus (111-6) while M-A's Marquise Reid was 11th in the boys' long jump at 19-5 1/2.

— Keith Peters/Palo Alto Online Sports

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Like this comment
Posted by Gwen
a resident of Gunn High School
on May 29, 2015 at 11:58 pm

Amy Watt is a junior at Gunn high school, however, the article on ccs finals mentioned her incorrectly as a Gunn senior.

4 people like this
Posted by Jeff
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 30, 2015 at 9:55 am

Well Done Eli!
Runs like the Wind!

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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