Sonoma Academy's Rylee Bowen reaches state track finals in 1,600-meter race
Sonoma Academy sophomore Rylee Bowen survived a tense heat - and intense heat - to reach the finals of the girls' 1,600-meter run for the second consecutive year during trials Friday in the California Interscholastic Federation State Championships at Buchanan High School in Clovis.
Bowen, the 1,600-meter winner at last week's NCS Meet of Champions, needed a solid performance to gain one of a dozen spots for Saturday's final, finishing fifth in the second of two heats in a time of 4 minutes, 52.33 seconds. The top four in each heat automatically qualified for the final, plus the next four fastest times.
Due to the stifling Central Valley heat - temperatures at race time for Bowen on Friday hovered near the high 90s - the event schedule was pushed back for the trials and finals.
Bowen, 11th in the 1,600 final at the CIF meet last year, will have her work cut out for her Saturday. Among those who qualified in Friday's trials is defending champion Amanda Gehrich, a senior at Tesoro High in Rancho Santa Margarita. She won the first heat in a time of 4:50.14 but has a national best of 4:41.39 set last weekend in the Southern Section Masters Meet.
Also in Saturday's 1,600 final is senior Destiny Collins of Great Oak High in Temecula. Third in the state a year ago, Collins won Bowen's heat in 4:49.33, the best time of the day, and is 11th nationally with a best of 4:45.85, also set at last weekend's Southern Section Masters Meet.
"I love running with Destiny. She is an amazing runner," said Bowen who ran a fast 73-second lap with Collins. “I think it was a good run for me. I'm thrilled to make it to the next run."
Santa Rosa sophomore sprinter Kirsten Carter failed to reach the final of the 200 meters, finishing sixth in her heat and 19th overall in 25.05.