Sports

Local foursome reaches the finals of CIF state track meet

 

Gunn High senior Gillian Meeks, Palo Alto senior Eli Givens, Menlo-Atherton senior Kathryn Mohr and Gunn junior Jeffrey Lee-Heidenreich will have one more day of dealing with the sizzling Central Valley heat.

It's a challenge they'll likely welcome after qualifying for final races at the 98th annual CIF State Track and Field Championships at Buchanan High in Clovis.

The weather was still hot on Friday with temps hanging firm at 95 degrees at 8:45 p.m. For Saturday's finals, temperatures are expected to hit at least 105.

Meeks, Givens, Mohr and Lee-Heidenreich didn't give in to the heat or the tough competition during the prelims at Memorial Stadium. Meeks clocked a personal best of 4:50.72 to qualify sixth overall in the girls' 1,600 meters and Given ran a personal record of 10.73 to finish eighth overall and reach the finals. Mohr, meanwhile, cleared 12-feet in the girls' pole vault to advance and Lee-Heidenreich leaped 6-8 in the high jump.

Meeks knocked nearly two seconds off her previous best, a 4:52.11 converted time (from a mile) at this year's Stanford Invitational. She now ranks No. 2 all-time in Gunn history, second only to Sarah Robinson's 4:44.07 from 2014.

"I knew she had a big PR in her but I didn't imagine that it would come like that!" said Gunn coach PattiSue Plumer. "Really awesome race."

The No. 1 qualifier was Destiny Collins of Great Oak in 4:49.33.

Meeks also will run in the 3,200 finals on Saturday. She finished fourth at CCS, but advance when the third-placer finisher dropped out. The 3,200 runs finals only.

Meanwhile, Givens is now among the top five all-time in Paly history with his best effort. The No. 1 qualifier was TJ Brock of Chaminade in 10.54.

Givens started his day with the 400 relay, which saw Paly's team of Austin Cox, Givens, Thorin Haussecker and Dami Bolarinwa run 42.55 to finish 17th overall and miss the finals. The Vikings ran 42.19 to take second at the CCS finals last weekend. CCS champ Bellarmine ran 41.49 and qualified second.

Givens finished up by taking 10th in the 200 in 22.02. He missed qualifying by one spot, which was a 21.89. Had he equalled his CCS-winning time of 21.64, Givens would have reached the finals.

Mohr came within an inch of her personal best and school record while qualifying for her second straight state meet finale. She finished tied for eighth last year at 11-6. Stanford=bound Erika Malaspina led the qualifiers at 12-6.

Lee-Heidenreich, in his first state meet, came through with a lifetime best of 6-8 in the high school to qualify for Saturday's finals. He qualified third at the CCS meet at 6-5, but cleared his PR on a third attempt to move into the No. 2 all-time spot in school history behind the 6-8 1/4 mark by Jeff Stuart in 1979.

In the boys' 1,600, Palo Alto junior Kent Slaney ran the race of his life as he clocked a personal best and CCS-leading 4:16.62 as he defeated both runners who finished ahead of him at the section finals. Slaney's time ranks him No. 3 in school history, but it wasn't fast enough to get him to the finals as he needed to run 4:12 to qualify.

Gunn senior Maya Miklos, the runner-up at the CCS finals in the girls' 400 in a school record of 54.81, needed a similar effort just to reach the state finals. She did not get that time, however, as she wrapped up her prep career with a 56.12 time that got her 16th overall. Had she run her CCS time, Miklos would have finished fifth.

Miklos, however, was battling a stomach virus that Plumer said reportedly hit about 30 girls after Gunn's graduation on Wednesday.

Menlo-Atherton senior Annalisa Crowe came up with her best-ever race, clocking a school record of 2:11.41. That time broke one of the oldest records in M-A history, the 1983 time of 2:11.48 by Norah Williams. Crowe, however, was sixth in her heat and finished 14th overall, missing the state finals by just two spots.

In other events:

Palo Alto junior Michel-Ange Siaba was 22nd in the boys' triple jump with a best mark of 42-7 1/4 and Palo Alto senior Catherine Yu was 21st in the girls' 100 hurdles in 15.49.

In the first-ever Para-Ambulatory Division, Gunn senior Amy Watt won the 400 meters. She was born without a left hand and has competed internationally as a Paralympian. Watt also was battling the same stomach virus that Miklos had. Watt also was third in the mixed shot put.

— Keith Peters/Palo Alto Online Sport

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