Thursday, March 19, 2009

Dublin Distance Fiesta Preview (by Dublin coach Chris Williams)

The Dublin Distance Fiesta is finally here! Nearly 40 schools, 700 athletes, great music and fantastic racing headline this wonderful DyeStatCal Featured meet for the distance runners. Two special edition t-shirts are up for grabs in every race (four in the fast heat) and a special sombrero to the fastest time of the day in each event can make for some great opportunities to set personal records. No Distance Fiesta record is safe!

Girls 1600

Meet Record – 5:16.55 – Sammy Hamilton – Half Moon Bay

Four very tough and very fast ladies will duke it out for the first prize sombrero of the evening. Carondelet’s Nicole Hood has the leading personal record of this group with a fantastic 4:52.83. However, Theresa Divine of Marin Catholic (5th place in Division 4 Cross Country State Championships) and Alice Baker of St. Mary’s (currently 23rd in California in 3200) both bring great strength and have sub 5:20 credentials. Making the trip all the way from South Tahoe High School will be Kelsey Smith, who has a history of sub 5:10 efforts. Our first meet record could very well be set in the first hour of the meet!

Boys 1600

Meet Record – 4:18.43 – Derek Thomas – Arroyo

This race could be a very special one with all of the superstars signed up to run in it. Five of the top 25 currently ranked in the state in the 1600 are in this race, including #2 Erik Olson (4:19.6) of Novato and #3 Dan Mitchell (4:19.89 this year with a PR of 4:15.49) of Del Campo. Both of these fine young men had outstanding cross country seasons, with Olson taking 4th in D3 and Mitchell taking 16th in D2. Adam Kelly-Strong (currently 19th at 4:25.74) of Jesuit and Bisrat Zerehaimanot (24th at 4:26.18) of Hayward have each had great early season showings. While the meet recorder Derek has graduated, his brother Danny Thomas (25th at 4:26.19) of Arroyo is very capable of keeping the winner in the same house. Mendocino’s Skyler Thomas (4:22.59) and Del Campo’s Josh Mercado (4:24.51) add great depth while some dark horses Brian Hernandez of San Rafael, Matt Case of Del Campo, and Branson’s Steven Iglehart (2nd in D5 Cross Country State Championships) lurk to battle for the prized t-shirts.

Girls 800

Meet Record – 2:20.30 – Kristina Llorin – Piedmont Hills

This race features five young women who could all break the meet record. Lowell’s Tamara Purpura has already run 2:16.9 this year, which is good for 4th in California and also very close to her PR of 2:13.77. Two other sub 2:20 girls also will be in the mix – Castro Valley’s Chelsea Schneider (2:15.95) and St. Mary’s Ashley Davis (2:18.96). Ayla Granados (2:21.79) of Castro Valley and Robin Roque (2:21.91) of Livermore can also a little spice to the fiesta!

Boys 800

Meet Record – 1:54.21 – Sebastian Sam – Oak Grove

This could end up being a two-man race up front with San Ramon Valley’s Kevin Griffith and Jesuit’s Adam Kelly-Strong. Both young men have sub 2 credentials, with Griffith at 1:54.77 and Kelly-Strong at 1:59.31. However, there are fast people doubling back from the 1600, including Bisrat Zerehaimanot of Hayward, Skyler Thomas of Mendocino, and Josh Mercado of Del Campo. And they definitely won’t let those two sub 2 boys have all the fun.

Girls 3200

Meet Record – 10:53.81 – Heather Cerney – Carondelet

Livermore’s Diana George is the heavy favorite in this race, with a very fine personal record of 10:35.55. She had another great cross country season this past fall, with a 6th place finish in Division 2. There are a couple of girls hanging out, though, that could give George some trouble. Castro Valley teammates Kelsey Santisteban (5:12.3) and Elise Wummer (5:10.6 – 11:38.62 PR in 3200) both are ranked in the top 20 in the 1600 in California for 2009. Abigail Gregg (11:24.68) of Livermore and Theresa Divine of Marin Catholic will also be duking it out for some t-shirts.

Boys 3200

Meet Record – 9:34.74 – Sterling Lockert – Petaluma

This meet record is most definitely in danger of being crushed. Liberty’s Wyatt Landrum (9:11.00) and Mountain View’s Garrett Rowe (4:24.64 – 9:38.5 in 2009) had a tremendous battle in the Division 2 Cross Country State Championships, with Rowe 2nd and Landrum 4th. Del Campo’s Dan Mitchell was also in that race with a not to shabby 16th finish, and he already has rolled out a 9:29.51 effort for 8 laps which is currently 6th in California. Skyler Thomas of Mendocino (9:30.58) will be gutting it out with the likes of cross country state championships podium maker Dan Maxwell (5th in D4 – 9:42.70) of St. Mary’s, Marin Catholic’s Alec Govi (16th in D4), and Del Campo’s Josh Mercado (9:44.08). What could make this race so special, though, is the #1 runner in the state in the 1600 Sean Colaco of San Ramon Valley will be moving up in distance this week to challenge for the hallowed sombrero!

Girls Distance Medley Relay

Meet Record – 12:53.95 – Livermore

Coach Eddie Salazar of Livermore could very well be adding his second Distance Fiesta sombrero to his collection with his defending champion girls team looking to repeat. Their team is fresh off a 5th place finish in Division 2 cross country state championships. They were followed by 10th place finishers Carondelet, who are also in this race. Oh, did we forget to mention that the 4th place team in D2 of Mountain View is also signed up, along with D4 runner-ups St. Mary’s. These are four very capable teams of cracking the vaunted 13 minute barrier and make a run at the meet record.

Boys Distance Medley Relay

Meet Record – 10:30.69 – Monte Vista

Last year we saw a very heroic performance out of Petaluma’s Sterling Lockert, who 30 minutes after setting the meet record in the 3200 jumped onto the track to anchor Petaluma when they took a close second to the current meet record holder Monte Vista. Will we see another performance like that? The teams currently scheduled to run have the supernatural runners to do it! Granada (10:53.00) and Novato (10:55.03) both are currently ranked in the top 20 in the state, with Novato getting a Lockert like 4:17 anchor out of Erik Olson at the San Rafael Twilight Relays just last week. Mountain View, with the likes of Garret Rowe, made the podium with their 3rd place finish in Division 2 cross country state championships and they had the best performance there of any team in Northern California. Amador Valley and Bellarmine are two other teams who had very good cross country seasons and are really looking forward to laying claim to the sombreros!

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