Half Moon Bay spotlight at the Peninsula Athletic League track and field championships
Half Moon Bay High junior distance runner Mitch Martin
“(I’m) a little aggravated. My coach keeps telling me to keep everything in perspective, but I’m not going to go home with a big smile on my face for doing worse a year later.” – Martin, who battled a groin injury this season, on the disappointment of failing to defend his 2010 PAL title in the 3200-meter race. Martin finished a distant third.
The Menlo-Atherton High track program captured team titles in both the girls and boys divisions at the Peninsula Athletic League championships at College of San Mateo on Wednesday afternoon.
M-A’s route to the girls championship was powered by first-place sizzle. The Bears opened the meet by streaking to a big win in the 4x100-meter relay. Then Catherine Carpenter handily won the 200- and 400- meter dashes in 26.43 and 58.64 seconds, respectively, and freshman Naomi Tovar (12.97) took the 100 in a photo finish.
How M-A claimed the boys title was more subtle. The Bears didn’t win a single event on Wednesday – senior Stas Della Morte’s long jump title came a week earlier – but the team rode a slew of complementary finishes to the championship. Chief among those highlights: junior Michael Hester was second in the 800 (2:01.65) and fourth in the 1600 in 4:30.89, Della Morte took second in the high jump (5 feet, 9.25 inches) and fourth in the 100 (11.54), and Di’jonn Williams placed third in the high jump (5-9.25).
“It’s kind of the culmination, right about now,” said Hester, who gave ample credit to M-A first-year coach Alan Perry for the program’s resurgence. “When we came in as freshmen, that was pretty much the low point. I think next year will be the peak. It’s a lot of fun. It’s definitely exciting.”
The M-A girls finished with 74.5 points, edging Westmoor (71.5) by taking second in the final event, the 4x400 relay. Woodside was third with 58 points, and Aragon (51 points) fourth.
The depth of the M-A boys team proved just enough to top star-studded Woodside. Woodside (67 points) claimed individual titles in the 400 (Jason Chandler), 800 (Chris Waschura) and 1600 (Waschura), and finished one point behind M-A. San Mateo (63.5) and Mills (57) were third and fourth, respectively.
San Mateo senior Jesse Wong was the day’s top individual finisher among the boys, claiming league championships in the 110 hurdles (15.91) and 300 hurdles (41.16), and taking third in the triple jump (41-10.75).
“It’s definitely a big day for me,” Wong said. “I don’t think I’ve ever (had) double firsts. I try not to get too caught up in medals, maybe because I don’t usually win too many anyway … so each one is special to me.”
Woodside’s Waschura, a junior, was the other double winner among boys. He won the 800 for the third year in a row at 1:56.52, and also defended his 2010 PAL title in the 1600 (4:24.78).
Waschura, who entered the week as the Central Coast Section leader in both events, was eager to get the postseason underway with the section semifinals at Gilroy High on May 21. (The top five PAL finishers in each event advance to CCS.)
“Now it’s really time to get focused and run the fast times, a whole different aspect to be nervous about,” Waschura said.
Chandler, his teammate, also repeated as league champion in the 400 (49.70).
Woodside’s Christina Dobbins enjoyed an outstanding showing among PAL girls. After winning the high jump a week ago, the senior claimed the 100 hurdles title in 15.78 and finished second in the 300 hurdles (46.88). Teammate Taylor Duffner won the triple jump, an event she took up this year, in 34-0.5, and was second behind Dobbins in the 100 hurdles (16.28).
Mills sophomore Sabrina Mendoza ensured a sweep of the throws, winning the discus in 109-8. She took the shot put last week.
Westmoor sophomore Kylie Goo was another double winner -- taking the 800 in 2:18.36 and the 3200 in 11:41.79. She added a second-place finish in the 1600 (5:15.67).
Burlingame’s Allison Daley, a 2010 state qualifier and the current CCS leader, defended her league title in the 300 hurdles in 45.26. Teammate Madison Mason, who won the long jump a week earlier, finished second in the triple jump at 33-8.
Aragon’s Lauren Croshaw took the 1600 for the second year in a row in 5:15.24. Her teammates Kimi Hashizume, Addy Eveslage, Chanel Joyce and Candice de Sauvage won the 4x400 relay in 4:09.39, an event in which the Dons are among the section leaders.
Terra Nova senior Reina McAlexander won the girls pole vault in 9-0.25.
M-A’s Peyton Bush, Daryn Tinsley, Megan Kurtz and Tovar teamed to win the girls 4x100 in 50.85.
Hillsdale senior Chris Carter claimed the boys shot put with a toss of 46-10. South San Francisco junior Dominic Goodman won the triple jump in 42-1.5, narrowly beating Woodside’s Anthony Hillerby (42-0.25). Mills senior Marcus Chew took the high jump in 5-11.25. Aragon sophomore Christian Pedro (9:45.42) won the 3200 by more than 13 seconds.
Sequoia junior Gabriel Ortiz recovered from a broken left leg a year ago to win the 200 in 22.77. He narrowly missed taking the 100 as well, finishing second in 11.50, just behind Westmoor’s Turner Washington (11.48).
Carlmont’s Theo Yeh, Shane Callan, Brian Wyatt and Thomas Yeh won the boys 4x100 in 44.67.
Woodside’s Kyle Feuerhelm joined Hillerby, Chandler and Waschura to cap the meet by taking the boys 4x400 in 3:27.63.