Terry Bernal/Daily Journal
Menlo-Atherton sophomore Annalisa Crowe led the charge as the Lady Bears took first place at the Peninsula Athletic League Track and Field Championship Saturday at Terra Nova. The Mills boys claimed their first title since 1994. SEE PAGE 14
The Mills boys took first place in no track events while the Menlo-Atherton girls made a run at a clean sweep. Yet both teams won the respective boys and girls’ championships at the Peninsula Athletic League Track and Field Championships Saturday at Terra Nova.
Mills’ boys took a lead in the field events on May 11 which proved to be insurmountable. The Vikings scored an overall score on 80 — 68 of which were totaled in field events — edging second-place Carlmont, which scored 69 total points.
It is the first PAL Championship win for the Mills boys since 1994, according to Mills head coach Tim Tuff.
“It actually caught me a little bit by surprise,” Tuff said. “I knew we performed really well in the jumps, but I didn’t know how deep we had scored and just how good we had done.”
Menlo-Atherton ruled the girls’ meet, winning six of 10 track events and earning first place in two field events to score 143 total points, nearly doubling second-place Mills’ total of 76 points.
M-A girls have big day
Paced by sophomore Annalisa Crowe, the Bears swept the podium in the girls 800-meter and took first, second and fourth place in the 1,600. The M-A girls also took first place in the 4x400 meter relay — with Crowe running the anchor leg — the 4x100 relay, the 100, the 800 and the 3,200.
Despite rugged winds throughout the day, all three M-A girls set personal records in the 1,600. In fourth place, sophomore Madeleine Baier tabbed a time of 5 minutes, 21.60 seconds. In second place, senior Taylor Fortnam finished in 5:19.13. Crowe won convincingly in 5:17.37.
Crowe said she didn’t pace herself as well as she wanted. Striving to set a one-lap pace of 76 seconds in the event, she ran her first lap “just too fast” in 72 seconds. Still, the first-place win is a vindication after the sophomore finished in second place last year to then Westmoor powerhouse Kylie Goo at the 2013 PAL Championship meet.
While Crowe’s time in the 1,600 did not qualify for the Central Coast Section Championships beginning Saturday, May 24, she entered into the PAL Championship with the sixth best time in the 800 in CCS with a 2:17.08. She also anchors the 4x100 meter relay team, which ranked 17th with a 50.66.
M-A’s 4x400 meter relay team also ranks sixth in the CCS with a 4:03.48.
Mills boys rule field
Mills racked up most of its 80 total point in the field events, with first-place wins by senior Jephta Zapata in the boys discus and shot put.
In the discus, Zapata’s winning throw went 139 feet, 5 inches. Sam Smith of Hillsdale took second place with a throw of 137 feet. Mills took third and fourth place, as senior Amien Alazzeh turned in a throw of 134-2 and junior Keven Kwok a throw of 128 feet.
In the shot put, Zapata edged teammate Salesio Langi. Zapata took first place with a throw of 46-5 ?. Langi, a senior, claimed second with a throw of 46 feet, one-quarter inches. Mills junior Elton Xue took fifth with a throw of 42-11.
Mills has nine competitors in 11 events who have qualified for the CCS championships.
“That’s a lot,” Tuff said. “I think we’ve done that before. I don’t think that’s a record for us. But that’s high.”
One of the reasons Mills has such a deep squad this season is because of a carry-over from other sports, Tuff said.
Seniors Victor Beglitsoff and Joshua Sved both made the transition from football, while Marquis Adkins joined after basketball season. Beglitsoff, a senior, hasn’t run track since freshman year. For Sved, a senior, and Adkins, a junior, it is the first year on the track and field team for both.
“That was a sign of things to come,” Tuff said. “We were like, ‘We can make some noise in the league.’ And we won all our dual meets.”
For a Mills track and field tradition going back to the mid-1980s with Vikings legend Ed Parker and former Olympian Leslie Maxie, who holds the girls’ national record of 55.2 in the 400 hurdles, Tuff said he hopes the foundation is in place to put Mills track and field back on the map.
“We have a rich track history,” he said. “So, it may be the coming of our time again.”
Girls’ individual standouts
Mills also got an outstanding performance in the girls’ Championship from junior Caroline Trevithick.
Trevithick took first place in two events, with a time of 16.6 in the 110 hurdles and a jump of 15-10 in the long jump. The junior ran the second leg of the 4x400 meter relay in which Mills finished in third place with a time of 4:23.39.
She also took second place in the 300 hurdles with a time of 49.02. Burlingame’s Greer Chrisman took first in the event with a 46.73.
Burlingame junior Alex Seniff took first place in the 400 with a time of 1:00.09, falling just .02 seconds shy of her personal record which she set on the mondo track of San Jose Community College just two weeks ago.
A fiery competitor, Seniff edged Menlo-Atherton junior Annie Harrier, who took second in the 400 with a 1:00.35. Harrier led in the race until the halfway mark when Seniff made her move, and the Burlingame junior was able to hold off Harrier around the last turn.
“I could see her in my peripherals,” Seniff said. “I did not want her to pass me. I was like, ‘You’re not getting past me.’”
M-A also saw big performances from the versatile Kathyrn Mohr and distance runner Fortnam.
Mohr won first place in three events. The sophomore ran the second leg of M-A’s first-place performance in 4x100 meter relay with a time of 50.47. She also won the 100 with a time of 13.15 and took first in the pole vault with throw of 10-6.
Last year as a freshman, Mohr only competed in pole vault. But this year the sophomore had something of a revelation when she started competing on the track
“I didn’t [run] last year … but I finally got a chance. Last year I was pole vaulting so much, I didn’t really have a chance,” Mohr said. “But it turns out I’m fast.”
Fortnam turned in an exciting win in the 3,200 with a time of 11:48.93. It marks the second straight year she will advance to the CCS championships in the event.
Boys’ individual standouts
M-A senior Deverick Meacham proved versatile as well by claiming first place in both the boys 100 and the long jump.
Meacham topped Beglitsoff of Mills by nearly a foot in the long jump, winning with a jump of 21-5. His finish in the 100 was not so comfortable, as the top three finishers were all within .08 seconds of one another. Meacham won with a time of 11.49, while Woodside’s Justin Borjon took second with an 11.55 and Burlingame’s Faraaz Rashidi took third with an 11.57.
One of the easiest competitors on the track to identify, Meacham — who is set to run track and field for De Anza College next year — sports a signature look with his bright fuchsia shoes and socks. M-A head coach Alan Perry made a deal with Meacham heading into the season that if the senior did well in the classroom, he’d buy him the flashiest spikes he could find. Mission accomplished.
“I just like to be bright,” Meacham said.
Another competitor who is easily identifiable is Terra Nova’s Jeremy Wright. At 6-4, 195 pounds, Wright was the tallest student-athlete on the track Saturday.
It isn’t just Wright’s stature that garners attention though. The junior dazzled with wins in the 200 and 400. In the 200, he won with a time of 22.53, topping M-A’s Zach Plante, who claimed second place with a 22.70. The two also finished one-two in the 400, though Wright’s win was much more convincing with a 47.61, while Plante turned in a 49.09.
A lifer on the track, Wright held a distinct home-field advantage Saturday, as the Pacifica native has been competing on the Terra Nova track since he was 7.
According to Terra Nova head coach Michelle Bokamper through, Wright is still developing the confidence to take his game to the next level.
“Even though he’s very fast and very quick, there’s always that issue of confidence,” Bokamper said. “He’s getting better. He’s improving. … The key is to get him to keep the momentum of his [mechanics] throughout the entire race.”
Having qualified for his second consecutive CCS finals though, Wright doesn’t seem to lack confidence. In fact, he cited such confidence as a weapon in running Saturday’s 400 against Plante.
“[Plante] definitely always starts fast … but I always have confidence to turn it faster than they can,” Wright said.
Carlmont senior Franklin Rice turned in an impressive win in the boys 300-meter hurdles. Rice claimed first place with a time of 40.51, overtaking Aragon’s Liam Richardson on the last hurdle for one of the most thrilling finishes of the day. Richardson took second with a 40.57.
El Camino senior Gerardo Castro turned in one of the most dynamic overall performances of the day. Castro took first place in four events — the 800 with a 1:55.95, the 1,600 with a 4:17.10, and the 3,200 with a 9:31.86. He also ran the anchor leg of El Camino’s first-place performance in the 4x400 meter relay.