The Peninsula Athletic League track and field finals begin Saturday at Terra Nova and while the team titles won’t be decided until the end of the day, there are plenty of intriguing events of which to keep track.
There are at least five athletes who will be going for two titles, while one will have a chance at winning four championships.
Carlmont’s Anaya Alexander could be the PAL’s next track star — and she is only a freshman. Alexander was the top qualifier in the 100, 200 and 400, as well as a member of the Scots’ 4x100 relay team.
Not that it will be easy. In the 100, her time of 13.29 was just a few tenths of a second faster than Terra Nova’s Mikalya Miller’ 13.36. All nine 100-meter finalists ran sub-14 second races.
In the 200, only Alexander and Sequoia’s Willa Friedl Gruver posted sub-27 races, with Alexander clocking a 26.13 and Friedl Gruver coming in at 26.92.
Alexander’s best event, the 400, is where she is expected to shine. Her qualifying time of 58.90 was over a second faster than Aragon’s Alexa Smith. They were the only two to post sub-minute races.
“There are other events she’s run for training, but those are her primary races,” said Carlmont coach Brent Cottong. “We are using the 200 to prepare for the 400. She pretty much coasted to those times in trials.”
Cottong said Alexander will focus on the 400 at the Central Coast Section meet, where she hopes to qualify for the state meet. Her season-best of 56.48 is the fourth-best time in CCS this season.
Westmoor’s Kylie Goo will be looking to close out her high school career with a double in the 800 and 1,600, where she is the top qualifier in both. Her season-best time of 2:11.49 is the second-best time in the section this year. Her main competition in the 800 should be Menlo-Atherton’s Annalisa Crowe, who qualified second with a time of 2:20.90. Goo posted a time of 2:19.32. Goo should not be touched in the 1,600, however, as her time of 5:16.46 was nearly six seconds faster than the second-best time put up by Menlo-Atherton’s Taylor Fortnam.
Aragon’s Savanna Kiefer is the girl to beat in the 100 hurdles, with the top qualifying time and she had the third-fastest time in the 300 hurdles. Her qualifying time of 16.41 in the 100 hurdles was the only sub-16 time recorded and is over six-tenths faster than Sequoia’s Emma Martino. To complete the hurdles double, she will have to chase down Burlingame’s Greer Chrisman, who posted a time of 48.07. The second-place qualifier is Woodside’s Abby Taussig at 48.58 — the only two runners to post sub-49 times. Kiefer goes into the finals with a time of 50.16.
On the boys’ side, San Mateo’s Michael Beery will look to double in the 200 and 400, where he is the top qualifier in both. His qualifying time of 49.18 is nearly half a second faster than Terra Nova’s Jeremy Wright’s 49.57. They were the only two post sub-50 times.
The competition could be a lot tighter in the 200, where Beery is one of three runners to post qualifying times in the 22-second range. Beery ran a 22.74, compared to a 22.88 posted by Menlo-Atherton’s Zack Plante and the 22.95 ran by Terra Nova’s Clark Tolero.
Menlo-Atherton’s George Baier will go for gold in both the 800 and 1,600. He is the top qualifier in the 1,600, but Aragon’s Rory Beyer is right on his tail, about half a second behind. In the 800, Gerardo Castro of El Camino was the top qualifier, with a time of 1:57.03. Second is Carmont’s Tim Layten at 1:57.84. Baier will have to do some work, as his time is nearly two seconds behind those two.
Aragon’s Jimmy Garcia will join his teammate Kiefer in trying to win both hurdles races. He is the top qualifier in the 100 high hurdles and second-fastest qualifier in the 300 hurdles. Garcia was the only runner to post a sub-16 time in the 100 hurdles, with a time of 15.93. He’ll have to chase down Menlo-Atherton’s Kadri Green in the 300 hurdles. Green had the fastest qualifying time of 40.51, the only sub-41 time in qualifying.