Rylee Bowen comfortably won three distance races and Sonoma Academy teammate Remy Barbiero captured two field events at the North Coast Section Class A meet on Saturday at Montgomery High.
Bowen and Barbiero will join 18 other Redwood Empire small-school athletes and the Fort Bragg boys’ 4-by-100 relay team Friday in Berkeley, where the two-day Meet of Champions will be held on the University of California campus.
The first three finishers in each event Saturday qualified for the MOC.
Bowen began her day with a victory in the 800 meters and defeated Branson’s Grace Dailey by just over a second.
Dailey chased Bowen to the finish line again in the 1,600 meters. Bowen was clocked in 5 minutes, 1.58 seconds, more than six seconds ahead of the runner-up.
It turned out those races just warmed up Bowen. She came back to run the 3,200 meters in 11:00.67 with College Prep’s Brianna Bourne (11:36) checking in second.
Bowen will have to run faster to win at Berkeley and the CIF State Championships on June 3 and 4. However, coach Danny Aldridge said they aren’t paying attention to Saturday’s times.
“Our plan was to win races and not worry about times,” he said. “She did that and she’s moving on to the next meet. In all three races she never had to strain. She was always running comfortably.”
The sophomore employed different running styles in the three races. She led all the way in the 800 and 3,200 meters and then, in the 1,600, ran in third place until effortlessly taking the lead with two laps to go.
“It wasn’t a PR kind of day,” Bowen said. “I just wanted to qualify for next week. It turned out I didn’t have to run my hardest and I was able to save some energy. I know the MOC and state meet will be tough.
“I was a little tired because the rain and wind made it rough. Also, it’s hard to triple. I felt good while running and I feel good now.”
Barbiero, Bowen’s classmate, took the blue ribbons in the long and triple jumps.
The junior’s distance in the long jump was 21 feet, 6¾ inches, and he went 40-4 in the triple jump.
“He bettered his PR in the long jump by nearly a foot,” Aldridge said. “He did it in his second-to-last jump. To win two events in a meet like this took phenomenal effort.”
Willits’ Will Smith also captured two field events. He tossed the discus 140-05 and won the shot put with a 48-01 throw. Tony Macias of St. Helena was second in the shot put at 43-7.
Other Empire boys coming home with first-place honors were Fort Bragg’s Paul Gorman, Jr. (400 meters in 51.80), Rincon Valley Christian’s Robbie Leng (5-10 in high jump) and Fort Bragg’s Chase Waddington (12-6 in pole vault).
The only girl besides Bowen to win a blue ribbon was Clear Lake’s Kiana Richardson, who cleared 5-0 in the high jump.
The Timberwolves had the only relay team to qualify. Their 4-by-100 boys team (Shane Giaccani-Reynolds, Gorman Jr., Brenden Valador and Kyle Shin) finished second.
As for team results, San Francisco University took home the trophy in both the boys and girls competition.