You could say Palo Alto High School has a tradition in the high jump. You have to go back a ways to find it, but after all, how many schools have a world-record holder as an alum?
Paly graduate Les Steers set a world record at 6-11 while competing for the University of Oregon on June 17, 1941, 80 years and two days before Aaron Kim won the Central Coast Section high jump championship Saturday at Soquel High with a jump of 7-0.
Kim became only the sixth 7-foot high jumper in CCS history and broke the school record of 6-8 he previously shared with Timi Wusu. Steers, a three-time state meet champion, had a best of 6-6 in those three state-meet appearances. He reportedly cleared 7-feet in an exhibition while at Oregon, but the 7-foot barrier was not officially broken until Charles Dumas did so at the 1956 Olympic Trials
Kim, who will compete at Boston University, had the competition won early. The best any other high jump entrant cleared was 6-4. He established a new personal-best when he cleared 6-10 and then joined the exclusive 7-foot club on his third attempt.
"It was just a matter of getting his timing down," Palo Alto coach Michael Davidson said. "This is only his third year high jumping. He's an untapped talent, just starting to figure this whole thing out. There's more in him. He hasn't hit his prime."
Sacred Heart Prep's Luci Lambert also turned in a remarkable performance. She ran away with the 1,600 in a personal-best time of 4:54.36, then came back to win the 800 in 2:11.35.
She took over the lead from Harker's Anna Weirich on the second lap of the 1,600 and just kept increasing the gap between her and the rest of the field. Weirich took second in 5:03.63 — more than 9 seconds behind Lambert, a huge margin.
In the 800 Lambert made another early move to open a sizable lead. But this time the distance between her and the other competitors decreased on the home stretch as Castilleja sophomore Samira Kennedy, running the fastest race of her young career, made a charge to finish right behind Lambert in 2:11.51. Palo Alto's Hillary Studdert was third in a personal-best 2:12.84. Paly's Katherine Cheng was fifth in 2:17.16.
"What really makes Luci so good is how much she loves to run," Sacred Heart Prep coach Ken Wilner said.
Lambert, who will compete collegiately at the University of Virginia, holds the SHP school record in every race from the 400 on up. So what would her eventual best distance be?
"If I were to predict I'd say the 5K," Wilner said. "But it really depends on what she wants to go after."
Pinewood's Maia Garcia placed second in the girls high jump at 5-4. Paly freshman Lili Wakenshaw took fifth at 5-2.
Woodside's Katherine Sheldon took third in the 300 hurdles in 46.25 and fifth in the triple jump (35-0).
Menlo School sophomore William Floyd was a third-place finisher in the pole vault at 13-0.
Palo Alto's Jeremy Huang placed fourth in both hurdles, running 15.46 in the 110 highs and 39.62 in the 300 intermediates.
The Palo Alto 4x400 relay team of Charlotte Hallenbeck, Madeline Lohse, Cheng and Studdert placed fourth with a time of 4:04.23.
Woodside's Luke Buddie came in fifth in the high jump at 6-2.
Gunn's Sharona Schwab was a sixth-place finisher in the 100 hurdles (16.35) and eighth in the 300 hurdles.
Menlo's Calvin Katz was clocked in 4:13.15 to take sixth place in the 1,600.
Paly's Rishi Tella placed seventh in the boys triple jump at 40-11.5.
Woodside's Elle Marsyla came in seventh in the 3,200 (11:22.21). M-A's Kendall Olesen was eighth in the 800 (2:20.05).
Menlo's Justin Pretre was eighth (1:57.66) and Palo Alto's John Bard ninth (1:59.59) in the 800.
In a normal year, the top three finishers would qualify for the CIF state championships. This season, there's an invitational at Arcadia High Friday and Saturday.
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