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Greg Fogg wants to do something historic.

Rare as it is for a school to win both the girls’ and boys’ team titles at the North Coast Section Redwood Empire championship meet (the last school to do it was Petaluma in 2009), rarer still is the program that is able to win both titles back-to-back. In fact, under the current competition configuration that has been in place since 1995, no team has won both the girls’ and boys’ titles back-to-back.

“It is very important for Maria Carrillo,” Pumas head coach Fogg said of the team titles. “Being good at both boys and girls speaks volumes relative to your program.

“I’m looking to try and do what has never been done before,” he said. “We have that special group of seniors to make it happen.”

The meet at Santa Rosa High will send the top seven finishers in each event from the NCS Redwood division on to the NCS Meet of Champions May 25-26.From there, it’s on to the CIF state meet in Clovis June 1-2.

But first things first.

Leading the charge Saturday for the Pumas is the boys’ 4-by-400 relay team — the top-ranked squad in the North Coast Section with a time of 3:18.73 posted at the Sacramento Meet of Champions April 28.

“We are seven seconds ahead of everybody else and we plan on running faster,” Fogg said. “We are hoping to podium at state.”

But as Fogg well knows, relays are tricky. His excellent girls’ 4-by-100 relay team nearly didn’t move on from the North Bay League championship meet last Friday after an errant handoff almost disqualified them. That miscue put a very fast foursome in the slowest heat Saturday — something Fogg said will challenge his team.

The weather at the NBL meet was the worst some coaches had seen in decades, putting sprinters a half-second off their standard times in some cases. And jumps were hampered by powerful headwinds as well.

But Fogg said the exchange that nearly cost his girls’ team their spot Saturday didn’t have anything to do with weather. He also said his team has the talent to make up for their gaffe.

“The fastest times move on,” he said. “It all just depends on how much they let themselves get pumped up for it.”

The squad ran the sixth-fastest time in the section — 49.30 — at the Viking Track Classic in April.

And like no school ever winning back-to-back boys’ and girls’ Redwood titles, Fogg said he thinks there has never been a 4-by-100 relay team to win the event coming out of the slowest heat. He has issued his team a challenge: see if they can pull it off.

Santa Rosa has a commanding seed time in the girls’ 4-by-400 relay, having posted a remarkable 3:59.9 at the NBL finals in dreadful conditions. Their time puts them as the second-fastest crew in the section.

A key race, not for team title points but simply for gutty speed, is expected to be the boys’ 400-meter showdown between the re-emerging Jaymes Tischbern of Montgomery and Marin Catholic’s Max Glasser.

Tischbern, who has been stymied in his senior year by injury, ran a 48.99 in the rough conditions last Friday.

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That time puts him 11th on the all-time Redwood Empire list. Glasser’s seed time was 50.9 but he ran a personal best of 47.3 seconds at the Stanford Invitational March 21.

Maria Carrillo junior Tyler Van Arden qualified in poor conditions with a 49.57.

Another good head-to-head battle should be Maria Carrillo’s senior hurdle ace Habibah Sanusi and McKinleyville senior Lizzie Dolan.

Both qualified with times on the plus side of 15 seconds, but both have proven capable of going faster. Dolan recorded a 14.85 at the Humboldt Del Norte White Star meet May 12 and Sanusi ran a personal best of 14.88 at the Arcadia Invitational in April.

Sanusi said she is targeting a time of “mid-14” in the race.

In the 300-meter hurdles, it’s again Sanusi versus Dolan, but with the added speed of two Tamalpais stars: junior Lauren Ross and sophomore Mikayla Lin.

And Sanusi’s seed time of 12.84 is not her best, so she and Redwood sophomore Nava Khan should put on a show in the 100 meters.

In the boys’ 300-meter hurdles, Montgomery junior Brent Oru-Craig is the only racer to have posted a sub-40-second seed time. Oru-Craig is currently ranked No. 4 in the section.

Maria Carrillo’s junior speedster Severin Ramirez was hammered on his seed times by the harsh conditions Friday, but track watchers said his raw talent will see him through Saturday.

“Kids like him are going to advance. He’s just too fast,” Santa Rosa coach Doug Courtemarche said.

Ramirez has a seed time for Saturday’s meet of 11.42 — well below the 10.94 he ran at the NBL trials two days before. His qualifying time in the 200 meters was 22.45, also below his best. He, like Tischbern, will have to battle Marin Catholic’s Glasser for the win. Santa Rosa’s Trevien Prince, just a sophomore, and Carrillo’s Van Arden will also be in the mix.

And Ramirez isn’t worried about his seed times or which lane he’ll be assigned.

“You just focus on yourself and execute,” he said. “It’s the same track, same length.”

Ramirez is also a key piece of the Pumas’ 4-by-100 and 4-by-400 relay teams. His goal is for both of those teams to make it to the state meet.

A duel to watch will be in the girls’ distance races. Local phenom Gabby Peterson will have her hands full with Gillian Wagner, a senior from Redwood High. But as more than one coach has said about Healdsburg’s Peterson, she’s a gamer who has the goods to shine against the best.

Peterson comes in ranked second to Wagner among section bests with a 4:51.47 in the 1,600 meters to Wagner’s 4:49.76. In the 3,200 meters, Peterson has posted a 10:34.83 to Wagner’s 10:14.11.

Maria Carrillo’s distance duo of senior Sydnie Rivas and Aimee Armstrong are both trying to break five minutes in the 1,600, Fogg said, and Rivas will contend in the 3,200 while Armstrong could win the 800 meters, he said.

In the boys’ distance races, Redwood’s junior Liam Anderson is the star. Among area contenders are Piner senior Jonny Vargas, who is ranked 19th in the section with a 9:34.01; Carrillo’s Harrison Frankl with a 9:39.41 and Windsor junior Lucas Chung, who won both the 3,200 and 1,600 at the NBL finals and ran a 9:43.52 at the Viking Classic.

Chung has the top local time in the 1,600 this season with the 4:20.34 he put down at the Sacramento Meet of Champions last month. Petaluma’s Jack Dunbar emerged from a solid field at the Sonoma County League finals last weekend with a 4:23.

Fogg called the boys’ 1,600 the deepest event of the whole meet. The pace could be such that athletes who are out of the top seven still move on to the Meet of Champions because they could hit the qualifying time of 4:24.

Dunbar is also in the mix in the 800-meter race with a seed time of 1:58.84, just ahead of Santa Rosa senior Langston Hay, who pulled off a gutsy 2:00.51 in the punishing headwinds of the NBL finals.

Santa Rosa’s Kirsten Carter, Redwood Empire record holder in every sprint category, qualified with the fastest 400-meter time of 58.35, just ahead of Carrillo senior Assata Polk’s 58.35. Carter is also the fastest seed in the 200 meters and is the second-highest seed in shot put.

“She’ll break 25, probably,” Fogg said of Carter, who ran a record-setting 24.35 in the 200 last season. “When Kirsten Carter runs, everybody else looks slow, but 26 is very fast.”

In the throws, it’s a logjam at the top of the girls’ discus, with Santa Rosa junior Caitlin Grace an inch behind El Molino senior Sara Flores and 7 inches behind top seed El Molino senior Lily Krauss’s 114-foot qualifying toss.

Grace is in the mix in the shot put, with a qualifying put of 35-feet, 4.5 inches behind Kirsten Carter’s 36 feet, 3 inches and Casa Grande sophomore Lillian McCoy’s 36 feet, 6 inches.

Santa Rosa’s Scott McCamish is a clear leader in the boys’ discus with a qualifying toss of 144 feet, 7 inches, ahead of Montgomery’s Brian Day and El Molino’s Avery Ransome.

It’s a three-way scrum atop the boys’ shot put ranks with Ukiah’s Kalathan Kaiwa-McKay in the lead, just ahead of Marin Catholic’s Jamar Sekona and Montgomery senior Austin Vaccaro.

In the jumps, the boys’ long jump is North Bay all the way. El Molino ace Jack Fricker is the top seed with his qualifying jump of 21 feet, 5 inches, ahead of Maria Carrillo’s Mason Adams and Windsor junior Casey McLaughlin.

The girls’ triple jump should be a great battle between Fortuna’s Katie Hurst and Petaluma’s Dennis, who posted qualifying marks within an inch of each other.

In the boys’ triple jump, Fricker is again the guy to beat, more than 10 inches ahead of the next athlete, Tamalpais’s Will Holden-Wingate.

It’s Fortuna’s Hurst again in the high jump at 5 feet, 5 inches, with the next-closest local contenders, Santa Rosa’s Grace Alchemy and the Montgomery duo of Isabelle Ponts and Natalie Barr, coming in at 4 feet, 11 inches.

Montgomery’s Waisea Jikoiono is tied for seventh in the section at 6 feet, 5 inches and is a contender for a trip to the state meet. Teammate Jacob Williams has posted a seed mark of 6 feet, 1 inch.

Maria Carrillo senior Savannah Nied is the fourth seed heading into Saturday’s pole vault competition, with a mark of 10 feet, 6 inches.

On the boys’ side, Carrillo’s Cooper Plattus could contend for the title Saturday. He’s coming in tied with Justin-Siena’s Roberto Medina at 14 feet.

Maria Carrillo sophomore Sarah Aanenson could advance to the state meet in the long jump if she can replicate the effort that saw her soar 17 feet, 9¾ inches at the Sacramento Meet of Champions, a mark that puts her seventh in the section. Windsor freshman Emily Johnson and Petaluma junior Sydnie Dennis should be in the mix Saturday.

With Saturday weather expected to be partly cloudy and topping out at 72 degrees with only a slight breeze, it should be all about the competition and not about the conditions.

You can reach staff columnist Kerry Benefield at 707-526-8671 or kerry.benefield@pressdemocrat.com, on Twitter @benefield and on Instagram at kerry.benefield.

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