Benefield: Rain can't wash away competitive drive at Santa Rosa's Twilight Invitational track and field meet
In weather more suited to rowing than running at the Santa Rosa Twilight Invitational track and field meet, local athletes put on some gutsy performances in conditions that were, uh, suboptimal at best.
The rain didn’t let up the entire meet and the temperatures were downright cold.
“We had a great day before and a great day the day after; it just seems that our Northern California meets need to have an element of swimming to them,” said Greg Fogg, coach of Maria Carrillo’s track and field team, which co-hosted Friday’s event.
“It was not an ideal track day,” said Casa Grande coach Jamie Pugh.
Still, Casa Grande junior Logan Moon had one of the big performances of the night, winning the 800-meter race in a dominating display, cementing his place among those to beat at that distance this season.
Moon started the two-lap race in what looked like a dead sprint.
“His approach to racing is, ‘If you are going to race with me, it’s going to hurt. If you want to go, you are going to have to kind of bleed with me,’ ” Fogg said.
He finished in 1:58. Daniel Rios, a junior from Napa High, finished in second in 2:02.
“Logan Moon had an outstanding, unbelievable race,” Montgomery coach Melody Karpinski said.
To look at Moon’s times last season (he finished 11th in the North Bay League with a time of 2:09), his performance could strike one as a surprise, but clearly, his pace has been building. He certainly heralded his emergence as the guy to beat when he posted a massive personal record at the Dublin Distance Fiesta on March 16.
The junior finished fifth in that race with a time of 1:56.04. Also in that race? Stanford-bound Liam Anderson, a runner who won the North Coast Section, CIF state and Nike Cross Country Nationals last fall.
“(He) has really come to life in the last couple of weeks,” Pugh said. “He’s starting to believe that he can run fast.”
Moon is currently ranked third fastest in the 800 in the North Coast Section.
Another breakout performance came from a guy who has barely had space or time to train. Montgomery senior Brent Oru-Craig returned from a hiatus from running only to deal with little track time and even less time with the hurdles, as the Vikings’ track is being resurfaced.
And still, he busted out a dominating 300-meter hurdle performance at Twilight, finishing in 39.81, good enough for the third-fastest time in the section.
“We were all kind of looking at each other like, ‘Brent is back,’ ” Karpinski said. “This is his first meet back. His performance was just unbelievable, just outstanding. By the first 100 he was ahead of the whole field. It was pretty incredible just how far ahead he was.”
Considering the wet conditions, Oru-Craig’s mark was indeed impressive. Because of the jumping element and traction, in poor conditions the hurdles are the third event to be cut from a meet after pole vault and high jump, according to Fogg.
In the sprints, Santa Rosa freshman Kassidy Schroth won both the 100- and 200-meter races, posting the sixth-fastest time in Redwood Empire history for a freshman in the 100 — 12.84. Of course, she follows in the very large footsteps of fellow Panther and current UC Davis freshman Kirsten Carter, who won last year’s Twilight 100-meter race in 12.12.