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Track and field notebook: Day of triumph, heartbreak

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EMPIRE’S STATE QUALIFIERS AT NCS MEET

at Diablo Valley College

GIRLS

Shot put: Lillian McCoy, junior, Casa Grande (1st MOC)

Discus: Kassidy Sani, junior, El Molino (2nd at MOC)

1,600: Gabby Peterson, senior, Healdsburg (1st MOC), Sierra Atkins, senior, Analy (3rd MOC)

3,200: Peterson (2nd MOC), Harper McClain, sophomore, St. Helena (3rd MOC)

BOYS

Shot put: Bryson Trask, senior, Middletown (1st MOC), Kalathan Laiwa-McKay, junior, Ukiah (3rd MOC)

Discus: Trask (2nd MOC)

High jump: Zavier Rodrigues, junior, Maria Carrillo

110 hurdles: Rodrigues (3rd MOC)

300 hurdles: Brayden Glascock, senior, Santa Rosa (3rd MOC)

4x400: Casa Grande: Matthew Giroux, Logan Moon, Matthew Mason, Jalydon Love (3rd MOC)

I haven’t often seen anyone cross the finish line in front of Healdsburg senior Gabby Peterson. So dominant is the distance ace that I had to ask: With a win in the 1,600 meters earlier in the day, did she want to win the 3,200 meters at the North Coast Section Meet of Champions Saturday, or was she just running for a top three finish and spot at the CIF state track and field championship next weekend?

She wanted the double, she said. She just got outsprinted at the end.

“Kelli (Wilson of Monte Vista) just had a great kick,” she said. “I think I stayed in the pack a little bit too long. I think my kick isn’t as fast as some of the others, so I needed to push the pace a bit more earlier on.”

Her second-place 10:32.53 was off the 10:25.15 she ran at Arcadia in April.

“I could definitely feel it a little bit in the middle of the 3,200,” she said of the toll the 1,600 win took on her legs.

But Peterson said it’s good fodder to think about in the days before the state meet, where she has the goods to make a splash in both. She’s currently ranked fourth in the state in the 1,600 meters and seventh in the 3,200 meters.

“I think it’s good. I’m trying to stay positive,” she said. “I’m really happy with the 1,600 and the 3,200 time was, I think, a good time for a double, so I’m trying to stay positive as I go forward.”

Godinez suffers crushing fall

Healdsburg High senior Dante Godinez had a heartbreaking day. On the final curve of a stacked 800-meter race, Godinez made a move to the outside and crumpled to the track in a devastating crash. He got up and sprinted the final meters to the finish. “I would never not finish a race,” he said afterward.

His fellow racers huddled around him as he sat on the infield, crushed, after the race.

“I was trying to get into the center, the inside, and I got clipped and I fell and I can’t do anything about it,” he said. “Stuff like that happens in races. All these guys are really great runners and they all deserve a spot at state. I just wish I could be one of them, too.”

Swinth misses state cut in 1,600 meters by a whisper

Maria Carrillo junior Colton Swinth experienced heartbreak of a different sort. The distance specialist came within a chest lean of making the state meet in the 1,600 meters.

He finished fourth, one place out of contention for state, in 4:19.77. The third-place runner’s time was 4:19.57.

“It’s been rough,” he said of missing a state berth. “This has been one of my dreams, desires, wishes since freshman year.

“Just to see it come down to the final 100 meters and the gap closing but not closing quick enough definitely was rough,” he said. “But it’s been a great time out here, great facility, great people around, great coaches.

“It was going to come down to the end and I guess I just didn’t have enough in the rain and everything,” he said. “But congratulations to everybody that made it to state. It’s a great group of people.

EMPIRE’S STATE QUALIFIERS AT NCS MEET

at Diablo Valley College

GIRLS

Shot put: Lillian McCoy, junior, Casa Grande (1st MOC)

Discus: Kassidy Sani, junior, El Molino (2nd at MOC)

1,600: Gabby Peterson, senior, Healdsburg (1st MOC), Sierra Atkins, senior, Analy (3rd MOC)

3,200: Peterson (2nd MOC), Harper McClain, sophomore, St. Helena (3rd MOC)

BOYS

Shot put: Bryson Trask, senior, Middletown (1st MOC), Kalathan Laiwa-McKay, junior, Ukiah (3rd MOC)

Discus: Trask (2nd MOC)

High jump: Zavier Rodrigues, junior, Maria Carrillo

110 hurdles: Rodrigues (3rd MOC)

300 hurdles: Brayden Glascock, senior, Santa Rosa (3rd MOC)

4x400: Casa Grande: Matthew Giroux, Logan Moon, Matthew Mason, Jalydon Love (3rd MOC)

“It had to come to an end today, but great year,” he said.

Santa Rosa’s Glascock earns second trip to Clovis

It’s a return trip to state for Santa Rosa High senior Brayden Glascock. For the second time, he finished third in the 300-meter hurdles at MOC to earn a trip to the state meet. It was a bit of a surprise last year, but this year it was more a matter of overcoming the poor racing conditions.

“It’s cold. My steps were off just a little bit,” he said. “I kind of destroyed the third hurdle, I think. But it was all good.

“I’m definitely more prepared,” he said of racing next weekend at the massive stadium in Clovis. “Last year was kind of like a big shock, like ‘Here I am.’ But now I’m ready for it. I’m ready to race on that Mondotrack, I’m ready to throw down a 38-mid, so we’ll see what happens.”

McCoy crushes personal record en route to title

Casa Grande junior Lillian McCoy smashed her personal best en route to becoming the North Coast Section champion in girls shot put Saturday.

She came into the meet this weekend ranked third with a qualifying put of 39 feet, 5.5 inches. In rainy, cold conditions on Saturday, she heaved a toss 11.5 inches farther — 40 feet, 5 inches.

“I knew that I needed to come here and compete,” she said. “And just really show that I deserve to be here and that’s what I did.”

She has no idea what to expect from the state meet. Last year she qualified for MOC but didn’t come close to advancing. It’s a whole different story now.

“I’m just going to go into it with a happy mind and be like, ‘Hey, I made it,’” she said. “I’m just going to throw and have fun.”

Rodrigues makes it two

Maria Carrillo junior Zavier Rodrigues recovered from what might have been his worst start of the season to sprint to a spot in the state meet in the 110-meter hurdles. It makes it a double — he qualified in the high jump Friday.

“He’s an amazing athlete,” Carrillo coach Greg Fogg said.

“With four sets of hurdles to go, I think he was in sixth or seventh place,” he said. “He was the last out of the blocks, probably the worst start ever in the season and he made it up. At this level of competition you are not supposed to be able to do that. It says a ton about his athleticism and his potential.”

The final leg, a final time

Santa Rosa High senior Izel Zamora held the baton for the last time as a Panther Saturday. She ran the anchor leg in the Panthers’ 4x400-meter relay team.

She wasn’t the only one finishing their prep track careers Saturday.

Three out of those four Santa Rosa relay runners who ran to a fifth-place podium finish Saturday are seniors: Zamora, Bria Keelty and Caroline Duffy. They were led off by freshman speedster Kassidy Schroth.

But there was something about watching a senior run the final leg for the final time in the final event of the day.

“It was really emotional,” Zamora said. “Before we even started running we had this group hug and it was really sweet.

“I’m very lucky to have such an amazing team. Everyone is just great people,” she said.

You can reach staff columnist Kerry Benefield at 707-526-8671 and at kerry.benefield@pressdemocrat.com, on Twitter @benefield and Instagram @kerry.benefield. Podcasting on iTunes and SoundCloud, “Overtime with Kerry Benefield.”

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