Terry Bernal/Daily Journal
CCSF sophomore Myles Holmes took first place in each of the four races in which he competed at Saturday’s Coast Conference track and field finals at the College of San Mateo.
Myles Holmes raised his fists in victory as he handed the baton to Zac Schuller for City College of San Francisco’s final leg of the 4x100 meter relay.
Holmes’ triumphant reaction prefaced the first of four first-place wins on the day for the CCSF sophomore at the Coast Conference Championships Saturday at the College of San Mateo.
“As I passed it off I knew it was over,” Holmes said. “I knew he was going to take the win.”
A 2012 graduate of Jefferson, Holmes went 4 for 4 in taking a quartet of top honors. In addition to capturing first place in the 4x100 meter relay (41.30 seconds), Holmes also medaled with the top time in the 200 meter (21.9), the 400 meter (50.54) and the 4x400 meter relay (3:20.25).
In qualifying for the Northern California Finals May 10 in Cupertino in each of the events, Holmes paced the CCSF men to a third-place finish in the Coast Conference Championships. Hartnell took first place with 211 points and De Anza finished second with 203 points. CCSF totaled 135 points while CSM captured fourth place with 82 points.
The Hartnell and De Anza women also finished one-two, with Hartnell taking first place with 212 points and De Anza capturing second place with 165 points. Laney, paced by a prolific day by freshman Kortni Symers-Jones, finished third with 111 points. CSM’s women placed fifth with 43 points.
Holmes has D-I hopes
A two-sport athlete at CCSF, Holmes’ first love is football. As a defensive back for the Rams in 2013-14, the sophomore started all 13 games while totaling four interceptions and two touchdowns.
Holmes said he has weighed several transfer offers to play football, most of which have been from Division II programs, though he has also garnered interest from the Division I program at New Mexico State. With the headway he is making on the track, however, he might be on the verge of pursing a different path in collegiate athletics.
“I want to be a football player,” Holmes said. “But if this track thing works out for me, maybe I’ll get a Division I scholarship in that.”
For Holmes, the proverbial bar was set by Douglas Oyang, CCSF’s track and field head coach. Oyang informed Holmes — who set a personal best this season in the 400 meter with a 48.5 — that his time in the 400 meter was less than a second from being in the wheelhouse of a Division I prospect.
“That’s all I really want,” Holmes said. “I just want a chance to compete at the next level as an athlete. Not so much as a football player now, but as an athlete.”
A dynamic sprinter, Holmes demonstrated his competitive x-factor Saturday by winning his two individual sprints in a combined time of .05 seconds. In the 200 meter, he held off De Anza’s Anthony Greene to edge the second-place finisher by .04 seconds. Then in a CCSF top-three sweep in the 400 meter, Holmes topped his 4x400 relay teammate Edward Lampkin by .01 seconds.
Then in the last event of the day in the 4x400 relay, Holmes achieved something he hasn’t done in six years with the relay victory of him, Lampkin, Juquelle Thompson and Adrian Perez.
“The last time I [won four events] was my freshman year of high school, doing the four-peat,” Holmes said. “I just thank God. This track season has been going really well for me. I’ve come to practice every day, not like I did in my freshman year. And I feel like I’m excelling in every single race.”
The younger brother of El Camino track and field head coach Pat Holmes, Myles Holmes has worked as an assistant coach with the Colts’ sprinters this season.
CSM throwers shine
The lifeblood of the Bulldogs this season has been their field competitors. The CSM squad showcased its abilities by medaling in all four men’s disciplines and three women’s disciplines Saturday.
Paced by sophomore Aaron Volkman, the CSM men captured first place in three events. Volkman took first place in two events, topping all shot put competitors with a throw of 16.1 meters. He also took first place in the hammer throw with a throw of 50.23. CSM’s Scott Chiesa captured first place in the javelin with a throw of 59.93. Volkman also took third place in the discus with a throw of 40.41, ranking behind San Jose City College’s Keanu Foki in first at 47.11 and Monterey Peninsula’s John Irving in second at 40.91.
Volkman is a transfer sophomore who took a long layoff after his freshman season at Diablo Valley College in 2009. That season, he advanced to the state finals. This season he is on track for a convincing return. He has improved as an all-around thrower this season, upping his personal best in the shot put by more than a meter.
“I’m stronger (this season),” Volkman said. “I actually have a coach now. I didn’t have a coach then.”
The coach of whom Volkman spoke is longtime CSM assistant coach Mike Lewis, who has made his home away from home at the CSM throwing platform for over 30 years. A retired fire fighter after 36 years with the San Francisco Fire Department, Lewis takes pride in conveying the intricacies of throwing mechanics to the myriad talents that have competed at CSM over the decades.
Lewis raved about Volkman and Chiesa’s performances Saturday and equated the ability of Chiesa — who is set to transfer to Cal next season — to a current Division I talent.
“He can compete,” Lewis said. “He probably throws further than any Cal javelin thrower over there right now.”
The CSM women were represented exclusively by sophomore Moreen Pahulu. Running away with the discus, Pahulu took first place in the discipline with a throw of 41.38, topping San Jose’s Kelani DeSato in second at 38.61. Pahulu also took second place in the hammer throw with a throw of 47.1, finishing behind San Jose’s Lindsay McKee at 51.87. Pahulu took third place in the javelin with a throw of 32.16, finishing behind the De Anza tandem of first-place Gabby Whetstone at 36.23 and second-place Katie Baxter at 32.95. Pahulu also ranked sixth in the shot put with a throw of 10.48.
A graduate of Mills in 2012, Pahulu is relatively new to the world of track and field. She began competing with the Vikings as a senior. Prior to that, she said a future as an elite thrower never occurred to her. And the reason is quite simple.
“Honestly, I didn’t even know they had a team,” Pahulu said.
At the recommendation of her cousins Josh and Nicole Ukilifi, Pahulu discovered the team at Mills and quickly excelled, taking second place as a discus thrower at the Central Coast Section finals in Gilroy.
Laney’s freshman force
Symers-Jones electrified with one of the best all-around individual performances Saturday. A freshman at Laney, Symers-Jones is a product of the famed East Oakland Youth Development Center run by former Laney head coach Curtis Taylor.
Ranking No. 1 in Northern California in the 100 meter hurdles, Symers-Jones showcased her dominance in the event with a time of 14.11 to top De Anza’s second-place finisher Katie Baxter (16.16) by over two seconds. But Symers-Jones didn’t stop there. She took first place in four events on the day, with a 24.58 in the 200 meter before teaming in the 4x100 meter relay with Jasiri Blake, Inanna Felicity and Stantasia Dossman-Bishop for a first-place time of 47.77.
And in the triple jump, Symers-Jones turned in another standalone performance with a first-place jump of 11.64 meters. Monterey Peninsula’s Kyana Rivera took second with a 10.89.
A product of San Leandro High School, Symers-Jones transferred from Holy Names prior to her junior season, leaving behind her friend and Holy Names teammate Sasha Wallace. With Taylor leaving Laney after the 2013 season to take a coaching position at University of Oregon, he now coaches Wallace, who is a sprinter there.
Still a freshman, Symers-Jones dreams of transferring to a Division I school after the 2015 season. Having trained with Taylor at the EYDC since she was 9 years old, Symers-Jones was all smiles at the thought of a dare-to-dream transfer to Oregon. Either way, she has a fond loyalty for where she got her start in the sport.
“[Taylor] is still my coach in my heart,” Symers-Jones said.