Local track and field athletes set for CCS finals

Sixteen individuals plus three relay teams advance out of section semifinals

A total of 16 local athletes plus three relay teams will compete for berths in the CIF State Meet when take on the section's best at the Central Coast Section Track and Field Championships on Friday at Gilroy High. Field events will begin at 4 p.m., with running events starting at 6 p.m.

In the boys' meet, nine local competitors plus Palo Alto's 400 relay qualified at last Saturday's CCS semifinals, also in Gilroy. The Vikings had the majority of the qualifiers with eight.

The 400 relay just barely got in, qualifying eighth and last with a 43.86. Relay members Daniel Jones and Maurice Williams also qualified for individual events. Jones was the No. 7 qualifier in the 100 in 11.09 while Williams was fourth in the triple jump at 44-2 1/4.

Palo Alto senior Philip MacQuitty made his big decision to compete in just one event and dropped the 800 in favor of the 1600. He qualified easily at No. 5 with a 4:19.23. Teammate Josh Newby made it in the 3200, running fourth in 9:30.31 while Gunn senior Paul Summers was winning the race in 9:16.29.

Palo Alto put two high jumpers into the finals as Tyler Nigro and Bennie Williams both cleared 6-2. Elsewhere, Menlo-Atherton's Jason McGhee had the third-fastest qualifying time in the 800 (1:56.30) and Sacred Heart Prep senior Matt Walter qualified in the 100 with a personal best of 11.13 that established a school record.

Walter ran a season best of 22.91 in the 200, but failed to advance. He also ran on the Gators' 400 relay team that clocked 44.26 and missed by two spots. SHP's John Oppenheimer broke his school record in the shot put with a throw of 46-3, but failed to advance. SHP's Greg Hook matched his PR in the 400 of 50.87, but also just missed advancing to the finals.

In the girls' meet, Gunn kept a tradition alive while qualifying four athletes to the finals. Junior Erin Robinson was second in the 3200 in a season best of 10:54.28. That marks the 11th straight year and 12th time in the past 13 years that Gunn has qualified a girl to the CCS finals in the 3200. Seven different girls have comprised the qualifiers -- Katya Kazakova, Ruth Graham, Tori Tyler, Allegra Mayer, Emma Dohner, Lisa Fawcett and now Robinson.

Gunn sophomore Kieran Gallagher also kept her personal tradition of making the CCS finals intact as she qualified first with a school record of 2:11.36. That time ranks her No. 6 in the state.

"Kieran's plan was just to qualify as easily as possible," said Gunn coach Ernie Lee. "The goal was to go out in 64 and just run as fast as necessary on the second lap to win her heat. However, she got a little frisky in the first lap (approximately 1:01.8). Believe it or not, she actually did try to ease up in the second lap."

Pinewood senior Angela Gradiska continued her comeback from a foot injury by winning the 100 (12.10) and 200 (25.00) to put herself in position to defend her CCS titles on Friday night.

Castilleja's Rachel Skokowski advanced to the finals with the No. 3 qualifying time in the 1600 (5:07.67) while Priory sophomore Kat Gregory qualified No. 6 in the 1600 (5:13.47) and No. 6 in the 3200 (11:14.48).

Gunn sophomore Julie Maggioncalda made the high jump finals with a 5-1 clearance. She defended her SCVAL De Anza Division title recently with a 5-2 jump. Gunn junior Alison Ang also moved on, in the pole vault, with an automatic qualifying mark of 9-6. The Menlo-Atherton (50.35) and Palo Alto (50.47) 400 relay teams qualified seventh and eighth to reach Friday's finals.

-- Keith Peters

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