Ahead of schedule. That's where a handful of top athletes from Palo Alto and Gunn highs are today after highly successful efforts at the 37th annual CCS "Top 8" Track and Field Classic at Los Gatos High on Friday night.
Palo Alto senior Eli Givens sped to victories in the 100 and 200 meters, nearly matching season bests, in addition to helping the 400 relay squad post a big season best.
Gunn senior Maya Miklos ran to a school record in the girls' 400 and helped the Titans finish third in the 400 relay.
And, Paly junior Kent Slaney ran a season best while taking second in the 1,600 and ran a big personal best in the 3,200 on a cold and windy night.
Givens, the two-time defending section champ in the 100 and defending champ in the 200, ran wind-legal times of 10.95 in the 100 and 21.99 in the 200 to win those races. He was just off his season bests of 10.87 and 21.98, which lead the CCS.
Equally important, Givens ran a leg on the 400 relay team that clocked 42.61 while finishing third. The Vikings didn't even break 43 seconds last year.
Givens is carry close to 25 more pounds than last season, with an eye on being bigger and stronger before joining the football team at Southern Utah this fall. He ran a wind-aided times of 10.79 and 21.54 last year, but is closing in on those marks despite his more muscular physique.
Miklos kept her efforts to a single individual race and one relay race after competing in four events on Tuesday in a dual-meet win over Paly. She made the most of her lone appearance by lowering her own school record to 55.56 in the 400.
She battled the cold conditions, which took something out of her legs down the stretch. Miklos just missed the meet record, but lowered her previous school mark of 55.61 that she ran in this meet last year.
The fact that her 400 time is faster at this time of the season should bode well for the coming weeks as Miklos prepares to defend her league and section titles in the 300 hurdles. She's the two-time defending CCS champ in the event.
Miklos also anchored the Titans' 400 relay team to third in 48.76. Gunn actually leads the CCS at 47.02.
Meanwhile, Slaney is also ahead of schedule after winning his heat of the 1,600 in 4:18.99. He just missed his PR of 4:18.55 from last year. The overall winner was Ramon Munoz of King City in 4:17.71. He won the second heat.
The Paly record is 4:12.47, a goal for Slaney down the road.
Slaney came back to finish fourth in the 3,200 in 9:21.36, a five-second personal best. Menlo School sophomore Robert Miranda was sixth in 9:29.01, also a PR.
In the frosh-soph 1,600, Paly's Reed Foster lowered his PR by 10 seconds while winning in 4:27.46.
Gunn senior Gillian Meeks, who also competed in four events earlier in week, concentrated on the 3,200 and gave defending CCS champ Cate Ratliff of Santa Cruz a scare before settling for second in 10:34.24. Ratliff won in 10:33.51. The two won state cross country titles in Division II and IV, respectively.
In other events:
Gunn junior Jeffrey Lee-Heidenreich was third in the high jump at 6-4, Stanford-bound Erika Malaspina of Pacific Collegiate won the girls' pole vault at 13-0, Palo Alto's Austin Cox was fifth in the long jump with a PR of 20-10 1/2, Palo Alto's Catherine Yu was fourth in the 300 hurdles (47.65), and Woodside's Semanu Attiogbe won the boys' triple jump at 46-0 3/4.
The Palo Alto boys finished fourth in the team race with 40 points with Los Gatos winning the title with 51. In the girls' race, Gunn was seventh with 25 while Los Gatos took the title with 44.
Palo Alto remained a game back of first-place Los Gatos in the SCVAL De Anza Division race following a 12-0 rout of host Saratoga on Friday.
The Vikings improved to 10-2 in league (16-3-1 overall) to stay on the heels of the Wildcats (11-1, 15-8), a 3-1 winner over Wilcox.
Alex Olmstead had a no-hitter through five innings before being lifted after throwing 86 pitches. He had eight strikeouts. Jake Varner pitched a hitless sixth before Niko Lillios allowed Saratoga's only hit of the game in the bottom of the seventh.
Paly, meanwhile, banged out 17 hits and put the game away with six runs in the first.
An RBI single by Max Jung-Goldberg, an RBI single by Olmstead, a two-run double by Lawrence Han, and a two-run single by Mike Champagne during the first inning fueled the Vikings' offense.
Ben Cleasby had three hits and three RBI, doubling in the fourth and fifth innings. Ethan Stern and Justin Hull also had three hits. Lawrence Han had two hits and three RBI.
Paly added four more runs in the top of the fifth. Cleasby's double got things going, scoring Hull, Han and Riley Schoeben. That was followed up by Stern's single, plating Cleasby.
In the PAL Bay Division, Sacred Heart Prep remained in the thick of the race following a 1-0 victory over co-leader Terra Nova.
In a game that saw the teams combine for just five hits, the Gators (6-4, 8-13) got the winning run in the bottom of the seventh without the benefit of a hit.
Brendan Semien, who was batting for Nick O'Donnell, swung at the first pitch and grounded it up the middle to score against a drawn-in five-man infield -- hoping to prevent the winning run. Yanni Gardner, who was on third, beat the throw home to give SHP the win.
Angelo Tonas got the win while limiting the Tigers to just three hits.
Palo Alto bounced back from its first loss of the SCVAL season (4-3 to Mountain View on Wednesday) and handed visiting Leland a 14-13 loss in overtime on Friday night.
The Vikings (9-1, 12-4) were led by Ellen Goncher's four goals. Emily Wood added three with Abby Ramsey, Holly Tumminaro and Charlotte Cheng all scoring two each. Anna Seligson also scored. The goalkeeping duty was shared by Sydney Schwan and Mattie Orloff, who made a combined 12 saves.
In Atherton, Sacred Heart Prep couldn't overcome a three-goal halftime deficit and dropped a 12-9 nonleague decision to visiting University (SF). The Gators (11-4) got four goals from senior Libby Muir and two from Emma Johnson. Cameron Gordon, Juliana Clark and Allison Carter all added one goal apiece while goalie Emma Briger had six saves.
In San Jose, Castilleja's sluggish start was costly in an 11-10 nonlegue loss to host Mitty. After losing freshman starting defender Lilah Penner Brown to a pregame injury, the Gators (7-5) fell behind 7-2 at halftime. A furious second-half rally brought Castilleja twice within two goals.
With less than a minute to play, freshman Anika Adzich scored after racing the length of the field, cutting the deficit to 11-10, but the Gators ran out of time. Freshman Taylor DeGroff led Castilleja with five goals with senior Ellie Chen adding two. Sophomore goalie Anika Tse had 10 saves.