Few surprises as local athletes qualify for CCS track finals


For 18 local individuals, the 2016 track and field season includes at least one more meet -- the Central Coast Section Championships on Friday at Gilroy High.

Those athletes -- representing Palo Alto, Gunn, Menlo-Atherton, Castilleja, Sacred Heart Prep and Menlo School -- earned at least one more week of practice following qualifying efforts at the CCS semifinals on Saturday at Gilroy High.

In most cases, those advancing were expected to do just that.

The Palo Alto for example, advanced five individuals and two relays. The only surprise, perhaps, was Michel-Ange Siaba advancing in the triple jump with a leap of 42-7. Everything else was true to form.

Senior Eli Givens was the overall winner in the 200 at 22.14 and qualified third in the 100 in a windy 10.95. He also ran the second leg of the 400 relay (with Austin Cox, Thorin Haussecker and Dami Bolarinwa) that won in 42.77 in addition to running a leg on the 1,600 relay that grabbed the final qualifying spot in 3:26.81. That team also included Neal Verwillow, Tanner Newell and Cox.

Junior Kent Slaney continued his solid season by qualifying in both the 1,600 (4:21.01) and 3,200 (9:26.78). In the metric mile, Slaney wanted to avenge an earlier loss to Roman Munoz of King City and did so, but failed to notice Matthew Richardson of Bellarmine coming up on his outside. Richardson got the overall win with Slaney taking second and gaining his revenge.

Palo Alto senior Catherine Yu also continued her strong late-season push and qualified fourth overall in the 100 hurdles in 15.82.

"Definitely a solid day," said Paly coach Kelsey Feeley. "Even those who did not qualify to finals showed up and ran, jumped and threw their hearts out. Our girls' 4x100 ran a season-best time of 49.97 (but did not advance) and our boys ran with authority (and did).

"We were also happily surprised with the performance of the boys' 4x400 relay, a team that we more or less threw together as injuries came about throughout the long day of competition."

Added Feeley: "My young trio of distance runners -- Sam Craig (sophomore) and Reed Foster (sophomore) competed in the 1,600 and Henry Saul (freshman) in the 3,200 -- were all coming off their best performances at last week's SCVAL meet, but unfortunately felt the effects of both a long cross country and track season, however. I cannot express how proud of these young men I am. The times they have posted this season, as well as the poise they've shown, is absolutely incredible."

Feeley also singled out the contributions of Givens and Slaney, who have produced the bulk of the points this season while running 3-4 events each week.

"Kent and Eli both showed up and ran at the level that has become expected of them," Feeley said. "That being said, as a coach, I am incredibly lucky to have athletes who do not only care about their individual achievements, but who also care about their teammates and how much they can contribute to the team."

Gunn, meanwhile, had the most local qualifiers (eight) with seniors Maya Miklos and Gillian Meeks plus junior Jeffrey Lee-Heidenreich leading the way by qualifying in two events each.

Meeks turned in her usual double while qualifying first in the 1,600 (4:57.58) and third in the 3,200 (10:54.42). Miklos did the same in the 400 (second in 56.45) and 300 hurdles (second in 45.59). Lee-Heidenreich came through with a 43-7 mark in the triple jump and was among the high jump qualifiers who cleared 6-3.

Senior Lindsay Maggioncalda has a PR of 114-11 to qualify in the discus, senior Jenae Pennywell ran a solid (albeit wind-aided) 12.68 for third place in the girls' 100, senior Amy Watt leaped a personal best of 17-5 to advance in the long jump, junior Margaret Redfield cleared 5-2 in the high jump and moved on and junior Andy Maltz threw 49-2 in the shot put to qualify for the finals.

The only thing missing for Gunn were two relays, the girls' 400 and 1,600. A dropped baton on the final exchanged doomed the sprint relay squad that included Miklos, Watt and Pennywell.

"Like most meets, some things went as expected, others were a little disappointing and a few more were pleasant surprises," said Gunn coach PattiSue Plumer. "On the downside, it was really disappointing for our girls that the relays didn't go through. The 4x100 handoffs are not forgiving and, about .5 seconds per lap was the difference between moving on or not in the 4x400."

The 400 team had run 48.76 this season, a time that easily would have qualified the foursome to the finals. Gunn wound up 21st in 52.07 after Miklos picked up the fallen baton and finished. The 1,600 squad ran 4:03.72 last week, again fast enough to advance this week. But, the Titans clocked 4:08.76 to finish 10th.

"On the plus side, Jenae ran great in the 100 and Lindsay and Amy PR'd in the discus and long jump, respectively. And, thankfully, everything else went more or less according to plan."

For Menlo-Atherton, the Bears will send five athletes and two relays to the CCS finals.

Senior Annalisa Crowe qualified in the 1,600 (5:08.06) and 800 (2:16.03), senior Kathryn Mohr earned berths in the 100 (12.75) and pole vault (11-6), freshman Maggie Hall advnaced in the 200 (25.48) after missing out in the 100, junior Jordan Mims advanced with a personal best of 49.24 in the boys' 400 and sophomore Jack Gray had a personal best of more than a half foot of 21-0 1/4 in the long jump to move on.

The M-A girls also qualified their 400 relay team of Charlotte Schroeder, Mohr, Tatum Maines and Hall as the Bears clocked a season best of 49.25 while moving to No. 4 in school history. The 1,600 relay team of Hall, Olivia Shane, Schroeder and Crowe ran 4:01.89, the No. 2 time of the day, to earn a berth in the finals.

M-A also had a pair of 800 runners -- Madeleine Baier and Shane -- who just missed despite personal bests and might be added to the field as alternates. Baier missed the final qualifying spot by .20 seconds as she ran 2:23.65 to the 2:23.45 time by Santa Teresa's AnnMarie Howell. Shane was next at 2:24.97. Both M-A runners moved into the school's top 10 list.

Other local qualifiers for the CCS finals included Menlo School sophomore Robert Miranda in the 3,200 (sixth in 9:34.10), Castilleja junior Claire Traum in in the 800 (2:17.59) and the Sacred Heart Prep trio of Graham MacFarquhar in the 800 (1:59.39), Natalie Novitsky in the 1,600 (5:11.84) and Ma'ata Makoni in the girls' shot put (38-3).

The CCS finals get under way Friday with field events starting at 4 p.m., and running at 6 p.m. The final race is scheduled around 9 p.m.

— Keith Peters/Palo Alto Online Sports

What is democracy worth to you?
Support local journalism.


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

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

After experiencing harassment, owner of Zareen's restaurants speaks out about Islamophobia, racism
By Elena Kadvany | 28 comments | 6,719 views

Don't Miss Your Exit (and other lessons from an EV drive)
By Sherry Listgarten | 13 comments | 2,238 views

Goodbye Food Waste!
By Laura Stec | 5 comments | 2,120 views

"Better" Dads and "Re-invigorated" Moms: Happier Couples
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,534 views

The kindness of strangers
By Cheryl Bac | 0 comments | 649 views


Register today!

‚ÄčOn Friday, October 11, join us at the Palo Alto Baylands for a 5K walk, 5K run, 10K run or half marathon! All proceeds benefit local nonprofits serving children and families.

Learn More