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Prep track and field stars shine at North Bay League championships

The league’s top runners, throwers and jumpers went toe to toe on Friday evening in front of an energetic and lively crowd. Find out who rose to the top.|

The North Bay League’s top runners, throwers and jumpers went toe to toe on Friday evening in the finals of the NBL track and field championships. In the return of the meet after a two-year hiatus, the league’s best put on a show in front of an energetic and lively crowd at Piner High School.

While the Maria Carrillo boys took home the regular-season NBL title this year — beating Santa Rosa in the final dual meet of the season last week — the Panthers returned the favor on Friday. They won the team competition with 98 points, ending Maria Carrillo’s nine-year reign. The Pumas, who finished with 91 points, had won every NBL championship meet since 2011.

“We’re both teams that really like to win and we know it takes a big team and a lot of dedicated coaches who know their craft to get kids to perform at the level they performed at today,” said Santa Rosa head coach Carrie Joseph. “I’m just super proud of the boys and the girls.”

Santa Rosa’s girls took second place behind Maria Carrillo. The Pumas scored 136 points as a team, while the Panthers finished with 117.

“It was just a solid day overall,” said Maria Carrillo head coach Greg Fogg. “Really proud of (pole vaulter) Lily Mulligan, getting one inch over 13 feet — that was a pretty good highlight for us — but right now I think we’re ready to go into next week. We’re going to be chasing after our school record in the 4x100 for the girls. We’re looking forward to going to (the North Coast Section Meet of Champions) and bringing as many as we can.”

The top five individual finishers in each of Friday’s varsity events automatically advanced to the NCS Redwood Empire meet next week. Others could also qualify depending on their times.

The top finishers there will advance to the NCS Meet of Champions, which will in turn decide who makes it to the CIF state meet at the end of the month.

For complete results from Friday, check online at redwoodempirerunning.com.

Boys

Santa Rosa all but sealed its win on Friday with a thrilling victory in the 4x400-meter relay, the final running event of the night. Last Wednesday, Maria Carrillo clinched the NBL dual-meet title with a win in the same event, pulling away in the final 50 meters to edge Santa Rosa by three points.

On Friday night, Santa Rosa returned the favor.

Panthers anchor Dylan Mooney, who didn’t run in the 4x400 last week due to an injury, pulled ahead of Maria Carrillo’s Noe Vieyra in the final 200 meters of the race and held him off down the stretch, crossing the finish line in 3 minutes, 34.19 seconds — .19 seconds ahead of Vieyra.

“It feels good to get redemption,” said an exhausted Mooney after the race. “Two years ago here, Monty beat us, and then Carrillo beat us this year, and it feels good to just get back at that. It’s just really exciting.”

Mooney also finished second in the 800, running a personal-record 1:59.28.

Santa Rosa thrower Jordan Zamora earned a win in the discus with a toss of 142 feet, six inches. He also took second in the shot put with a 47-07, trailing only Cardinal Newman’s Albert Beerbower, whose winning throw of 51-03 was the best in the area so far this season.

Rancho Cotate’s 4x100 relay team also recorded an area best, winning the event in 43.95.

Montgomery’s Jude DeVries was a double winner, taking the 1,600 (4:23.31) and 3,200 (9:31.47). A furious finished decided second place in the 3,200, as Maria Carrillo’s Jacob Donohue (9:53.32) held off Santa Rosa’s Andrew Stevens (9:53.34) by a step.

Donohue (4:35.97) was also among a trio of Maria Carrillo runners who finished behind DeVries in the 1,600 along with Adam McCorquodale (4:32.61) and Vieyra (4:34.55).

Santa Rosa’s Alexander Manning held off West County’s Ethan Dierke to win the 110-meter hurdles in 15.15. Dierke finished second in 15.42, but went on to beat Manning to win the 300 hurdles in 39.49, a school record.

Windsor’s Valentino Bugica ran an area-best 51.19 to win the 400.

In an exciting 100, Rancho Cotate’s Jacob Pruitt finished in 11.21, a step ahead of Cardinal Newman’s Gavin Doig in 11.30. Doig then evened the score in the 200, winning in 22.79. Santa Rosa’s Elijah Hansen finished third in the 100 (11.45), took second in the 200 (22.96) and second in the high jump (six feet).

The 800 went to Piner’s Jared Hayes, who finished with a time of 1:57.60 ahead of Mooney (1:59.28) and Vieyra (2:00.60).

In the field events, Piner’s Dave Baraka won the high jump with a leap of 6-02 and Maria Carrillo’s Jai Gray took the long jump with a 19-10. Gunnar Erickson of Windsor claimed the triple jump with a winning mark of 39-06.

In the pole vault finals on Wednesday, Cardinal Newman’s Dallas Coogan was the only competitor to clear 12 feet, recording a jump of 12-08.

Girls

The Maria Carrillo girls were in a tight battle with Montgomery and Santa Rosa after five events but ultimately pulled away later in the meet.

The headliner for the Pumas was pole vaulter Lily Mulligan, who set personal, meet and area records by clearing 13 feet, 1 inch, breaking her own previous area record of 13 feet. The junior has fought through a wrist injury this season that’s kept her from breaking the 13-foot record she set last year, but she said she’s feeling healthier as the postseason begins.

“I made it, I’m here now, and it feels really good,” Mulligan said. “I felt really good coming into this meet and I’m really happy I was able to do what I wanted to do. That was really awesome.”

Mulligan also finished second in the long jump with a leap of 16-11.

The Pumas got the meet off to a roaring start with a win in the 4x100, leading from start to finish with a time of 49.64 seconds. Elianah DeMange provided the second win of the event for the Pumas, taking the 400 with a time of 58.24.

In between those events, Montgomery freshman phenom Hanne Thomsen ran an outstanding 1,600, setting multiple records with a personal best of 4:45.51. Not only did it shatter the previous meet record of 4:49.34, set by Healdsburg’s Gabby Peterson in 2019, but it also broke Sara Bei’s school record of 4:46.17.

Thomsen said she didn’t enter the race trying to break the record, but after a fast first lap she decided to push the pace.

“I was trying to go fast, but it ended up being a lot faster than I thought,” Thomsen said. “I’m really excited about that because going into this I was like, ‘Oh, I don’t know if I can beat it this year because I’m running alone,’ but I just came through and it was like, woah.”

Later in the evening, Thomsen easily won the 3,200, crossing in 10:21.15, a minute better than the second-place finisher.

Santa Rosa multi-event star Cocome McKamey of Santa Rosa handily won the 100-meter hurdles with a 15.56, took first in the long jump with a leap of 17-03 and claimed victory in the triple jump with a 35-04.5.

Santa Rosa star sprinter Kassidy Schroth, a Sacramento State commit, was a double winner in the 100 (12.53) and 200 (26.38), finishing off a perfect career in local meets. Over her prep career, Schroth won every NBL race in dual and championship meets she participated in.

“I realized that, but I didn’t realize how big of a deal it was until (Santa Rosa head coach Carrie Joseph) came up to me and gave me a hug,” Schroth said. “It was kind of a perfect way to end my NBL season. I haven’t necessarily gotten the times I wanted today, but it’s just so cool to know that. I have a lot of great teammates who have reiterated that and it just means a lot.”

Schroth, who also anchored the 4x400 team in a win, will have a good chance to advance far in the postseason and hopes to end her high school career with a trip to the state meet.

In the 4x400, Santa Rosa and West County were locked in a heated battle until a mishandled baton exchange heading into the third lap caught West County some valuable time. Santa Rosa went on to win the event in 4:06.58.

In the 800, West County’s Carolina Dawson pulled ahead from the pack after the first lap for a dominant win in 2:20.78. Ukiah’s Kaylee Gaylord took the 300 hurdles with a 50.02.

In the early field events, West County’s Ellie Roan, a Boston University commit, was a double winner in the shot put (36-04.5) and discus (123-01).

On Wednesday, Healdsburg’s Moana Cook cleared 5 feet on the dot to take first in the high jump.

You can reach Staff Writer Gus Morris at 707-304-9372 or gus.morris@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @JustGusPD.

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