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By Rick Eymer
Menlo-Atherton senior Stas Della Morte advanced to the state meet after winning the long jump at 22-10 1/2 at the Central Coast Section Track and Field Championships on Friday night at Gilroy High.
The June 3-4 state event will be held at Buchanan High in Clovis.
Della Morte put a stressful week behind him to out-jump the rest of the field.
"Last week I had to worry about finals and finishing school," Della Morte said. "The last couple of days I've been able to relax. We've mostly been watching movies in class."
That still didn't keep him from getting anxious. He has some trouble getting sleep Thursday night as he went over the long jump in his mind time and again.
"I was over thinking everything," he said. "I just wanted to be ready."
Menlo School senior Sam Parker also qualified for the state meet for the first time in his specialty with his second-place finish in the 800 in a time of 1:57.27.
Menlo School freshman Maddie Price completed a solid year with a fifth-place finish in the 400 in 58.05. After reaching the state meet in cross country and having a good year playing basketball, Price happily accepted the way things turned out.
"I always played other sports at (Menlo) middle school," Price said. "It was Jorge Chen who got me into running and Donovan Fitzgerald who also helped me. It was such an honor to be in the CCS final and race against such great athletes."
Price was slowed by a sore quad muscle for most of the season and was just beginning to feel healthy for CCS.
"I didn't train as much as I would have liked," Price said. "But the experience of playing at a high level of high school and with great coaches, I have to say I finished the year on a great note."
Others who raced in the finals included M-A junior Michael Hester (10th in the 1,600), Castilleja senior Rachel Skokowski (12th in the 1,600), Sacred Heart Prep's Maggie Wong (6th in the 100), M-A junior Catherine Carpenter (8th in the 400), Woodside Priory's Kat Gregory (6th in the 3,200), and Gunn sophomore Kirsten Baird (8th in the high jump).