Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Catching up with Albany junior, Sophia Nordenholz

Today we chat with Albany junior, Sophia Nordenholz. This past weekend, Nordenholz won both the 1600 and 3200 at the Dublin Social Distance Fiesta, just missing the meet record in both races. Currently, Nordenholz is ranked 5th in the 1600m and 8th in the 3200m in California if you include all the official and unofficial meets that have taken place this year. (Daniel Tyree photo.)

1) How did you get your start in running? Any running experience before hs? If so, any track personal records? Did you participate in any other sports before or during HS?
I started running with my mom in 3rd grade. We would do 3-mile runs in the mornings before school. I started running competitively in middle school where I ran for Albany Middle School and Raptors Club, along with playing soccer. My PR in the 1600 was around 5:40.

2) What do you remember about your freshman year in xc? Highlights? Who were the older runners that you feel helped you transition into being a hs runner?
Freshman year XC was exciting because it was so fun to be part of a team and run in big races. Natalia Porras, Ellery Renger, and Calla Marchetti were upperclassmen who helped me transition. They were so sweet and friendly and made all of the freshmen feel included right away. The highlight of my season was competing at State as an individual. Unfortunately, my NCS race was canceled due to smoke from wildfires but they took runners based on their times from the season. Going to State for the first time was such a fun experience.

3) What about your freshman year in track? Proudest accomplishments?
Freshman year track went really well. I stayed healthy and was able to improve my times throughout. My proudest accomplishment was qualifying for NCS Meet of Champions and running a 3200 PR there.

4) Your last full season was your sophomore year in xc. What did you do over the summer to prepare for the season? What do you feel were you best races that season?
Over the summer, I built up a base but didn’t do any speed work. I started doing speed in August. Sophomore year cross country started off well, but I was disappointed as the season progressed because I was not hitting the times I wanted to. I was especially disappointed after my State meet that year, where I felt lethargic during the race and did not finish where I wanted to. I did not feel that my performances were a good indication of all of the work I had put in. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with my training, which was frustrating. I found out later that I was iron deficient for most of the season.

5) You had a very shortened sophomore year in track. How many races did you get to do? What did you do once the season was canceled? Did you do any additional races or did you just continue to run?
I only ran at 2 meets for sophomore track. One was the Stocking Super 7 invitational, where I ran the 1600, and the other was a league meet where I ran the 16-32 double. I was disappointed with how I performed at these meets. After the season shut down, I continued to train and do speed workouts on my own for a while. I did a couple of time trials on my own, with disappointing results. I was unsure whether the season would resume at that point, so I had no idea how to train.

6) What about the summer before your junior season? What did you change? How many races were you able to do for xc during the official season?
Leading up to and during the summer before my junior year, I focused on running consistent mileage and incorporating hills into my runs. I was still running alone at this point, and I was still not feeling great on my runs because of my iron deficiency. My family went on a road trip during the summer so I had to wake up early to get in runs before hiking with my family. The big breakthrough for me came when I finally got some blood work done and found out that I was iron deficient. Within a few weeks of taking iron, I noticed a huge change in my energy levels and I began to feel much better on my runs. In November, my team was able to resume practice in a limited capacity, and I hit PRs of 5:03 and 10:45 in 1600 and 3200 time trials. January through March, we ran 5 cross country races in addition to a few additional time trials on the track.

7) You had an impressive double this past weekend at the Dublin Social Distance Meet with PRs of 4:55.86 and 10:29.83. Tell us a bit about each race. Did you have a goal in mind before each race? Did you have a race plan or were you trying to win both races? (Jeff Parenti photo above)
For the 1600, my goal was to win and get the MR. I wanted to go out in 2:28 and see how fast I could close. I executed my race plan really well and was very happy with my splits and the time, even though I just missed the MR. In the 3200, my goal was to run under 10:40, which was my previous PR. I didn’t expect to get close to the MR, and I was ecstatic to break 10:30. I have huge respect for the girls I was racing against in both races, and I am psyched to be competitive with girls like Harper McClain and Audrey Allen.

8) Favorite XC course. Favorite XC Invitational? Favorite XC workout? Favorite TF event? Favorite TF Invitational? Favorite TF workout? Favorite long run? Favorite pro runner? Favorite free time activity?
XC Course: Woodward Park
XC Invitational: Clovis
TF Event: 3200
TF Invitational: Dublin (Social) Distance Fiesta
XC Workout: Ladder workouts
TF Workout: Quick intervals on the track
Long Run: Trails in Tilden/Wildcat regional parks
Free time: hanging out with friends, cooking, reading

9) What does a typical training week look like for you from Monday through Sunday with a Saturday invite? How many workouts? Any morning runs? How long are your longest runs? Anything else that you do that you feel helps you as a runner?
Usually, we do track workouts on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Throughout the pandemic, before we had scheduled practices, I was doing tempos on my own once or twice a week instead of track workouts.  When I have the chance, I love to ride my bike up to Tilden Park near my house and get in 10 mile runs on trails. I try to get in an additional run per week of 7-8 miles, preferably with some hills. Any other days are an easy 4-6 miles. I take Sundays off.

10) Tell us about your coach and how he has helped you during your three years in hs?
The most important thing Coach Craig Stern has taught me is to trust the training process and have confidence in my training. As a freshman, I got so nervous about my races that I dreaded them. I psyched myself out and convinced myself that other girls had better training. Coach Craig has taught me to trust that my training will be enough and that sometimes, less is more. He has taught me to be confident and believe that I am capable of running at the front of the pack. In addition, he is extremely reliable and I can always count on him to pull through our team. He was so proactive in getting the cross country season going in January, and after nearly a year of not having a team or a season, I think everyone on the team was grateful. He has been extremely helpful in the recruiting process, which would be hard to navigate alone because I have no experience with NCAA sports in my family. I am so lucky to have someone that is very reliable and cares about his athletes beyond their times.

11) What races do you have left in the season? Any particular ones you are looking forward to? Any goals you have left for this season?
I am definitely looking forward to the 3200 at Arcadia. I’m excited to see what I can do against some of the top runners in the state, and hopefully, run a new PR. I hope to return to the 3rd Dublin Fiesta and get at least one of the meet records. It is unclear what is going to happen with State this year, but if it’s possible, qualifying is a big goal of mine. Time-wise, I want to get my 1600 down to 4:52 or so and my 3200 below 10:20.

12) There is a very good possibility that next year you will be able to experience two full seasons. What are you most looking forward to during your senior year?
I am so excited for cross country next year! I can’t wait to have another shot (or 2) at the Woodward Park course. I have never performed the way I wanted to on that course, so I hope to get my time down into the low 17s. In addition, a goal that I’ve had for a while is to get onto the podium at State for XC. For track, I want to qualify for State and get PRs in the 1600 and 3200. I am very grateful not to be a senior this year and to have another year in high school cross country and track!

13) Have you started to think about college? How interested are you as far as running in college and if so, how much will running be a factor when it comes to deciding on what college to attend?
I definitely want to run in college. My coach has done most of the heavy lifting in terms of reaching out to college coaches, which I am grateful for. I want to go to a program where I can run at a high level but I don’t want track and cross country to dominate my college experience.

14) Anything else you would like to add.
Thank you to my family and teammates for being so supportive. You all are the best!

Thank you very much for your time, Sophia! 

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Timing question from Jim Crowhurst

Trying to keep up with the new technology.

In Track & Field we have Fully Automatic Timing systems (FAT) that are started less than 0.01 of a second after the gun goes off. Hand timers start timer off when seeing the gun go off, which over the years has been decided it takes the average timer about 0.24 seconds to start their watch going.
I see new systems out there like SprintTimer - Photo Finish
It says the timer can either be started by hand or by the sound coming from the gun.
Looks like meets are turning these times in as FAT.
Looks to me like if they are starting the times by hand they should be rounded up to the nearest tenth of a second like hand times- hand time 11.22 becomes 11.3.
Or if they are using sound devise not sure what to do because times look to need to be increased by even more than 0.24.
Speed of sound is 343 meters per second.
So the sound of a gun going off from about 90 meters away, where the starter stands, for the 100 meter race would take about 0.262 seconds to reach the finish line.
More like 0.364 for the 200 meter race.
Or about 0.25 for the 300 meter race.
Loved to hear some thoughts on this.
I keep records for my site and am trying to get up to speed on this.

NorCal Track and Field Results

Dublin Social Distance Fiesta Results

BCL #2 Results

San Ramon Vallee Sprint/Field Festival

SCCAL League Finals results

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Dublin Social Distance Fiesta Meet #2 Preview now posted

You can check it out at this LINK. To the left is a photo of former starter Bob Shor starting one of the many heats at a past DDF. Bob sadly passed away on August 9, 2017, and is still sorely missed.

If you disagree with any of my mentions for any events, feel free to comment below. If you also feel like I missed an athlete or two in any of the events, please add them in the comment section below.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Friday, April 09, 2021

Dublin Social Distance Fiesta Meet #1 Preview

You can watch the meet live at this link:

The most formidable distance meet in Northern California will be a bit different this year due to Covid. Tomorrow's meet will feature athletes from three counties, Alameda, San Mateo, and Santa Clara. 

Although this will be the smallest DDF in many years, the talent pool will still be outstanding and we should still have some great competition.

Below I will attempt to highlight some of the top athletes in the meet.

Girls 800
This will be a potential West Bay Athletic League preview with the top four athletes in this field hailing from the WBAL and more specifically two schools. The fastest entry belongs to SHP senior Luci Lambert who was outstanding during the just-completed XC season. Her official HS PR is 2:19.75 but she is capable of running faster. Her main competition will come from Castilleja sophomore Samira Kennedy. She ran 2:15.56 at last year's Rustbuster Invitational. The other two athletes who will be in the hunt will be Sacred Heart Prep junior Lucy Paynter and Castilleja sophomore, Daniella Henderson.

Boys 800
The top two entries in this field will be El Camino junior Yutaka Roberts (1:56.37) and Archbishop Mitty Taylor Iden. Roberts ran his time as an impressive frosh while racing at the CCS Final. Two other athletes that will also contend are the two Bellarmine runners, Tristan Lalonde and Jack Glanville.

Girls 1600
Lambert is entered in this race as well and has the fastest entry time here. She had an outstanding freshman season qualifying to the CCS final and will have a great opportunity to dip under the 5 minute mark officially in her HS career. Her main competition should come from Albany junior, Sophia Nordenholz who will also be after a PR here near the 5 minute range. El Camino junior Noel Diep will also be in the mix and will not be afraid to go out with the leaders and challenge them for the lead.

Boys 1600
The competition here should be between a herd of Bellarmine runners and one Woodside runner. The Bell crew will include Daniel Vaca, Ryunosuke Yanashita, Ben Callon, Casper Aliaga and Aiden Theocheung. Casey Orton of Woodside should be ready to run in the low 4:20s and see about defeating the already mentioned runners.

Girls 3200
A lot of the entries include athletes entered in multiple events. Both Sophia Nordenholz and Noelle Diep are entered in the 1600 as well as this event. They will both be after fast times here as well as a victory if they double back to this event. Woodside junior Elle Marsyla as well as Mircea Kippes of Adrian Wilcox will attempt to keep up with the leaders in search of a fast time.

Boys 3200
This will be the main event of the meet featuring three of the fastest runners in California. Bellarmine seniors Colin Peattie, Nolan Topper, and Galen Topper are all capable of running in the low 9s and perhaps even dip under. In the history of the sport, there have been two schools that have had 3 athletes run faster than 9 minutes in this event so we may be watching history tomorrow. I will certainly be rooting for them.

Saturday, April 03, 2021

Dan Gabor Invitational Preview

Death, taxes, and rain at the Dan Gabor Invitational...” That was the way that last year’s Dan Gabor Invitational meet preview began. Five days later, the world changed and part of that change was the abrupt end of the 2020 track and field season…and the end of all high school sports for the rest of 2020. For a long time it looked like the Dan Gabor Invitational itself wasn’t a certainty, never mind the rain. 

But if you’ve ever read a Dan Gabor Invitational meet preview before, whether it was something that I’ve written, or something written by one of my predecessors, you know that Dan had his own way of doing things. So it makes sense that his meet would stubbornly find a way to be contested as the last meet of 2020 and now as the first meet of 2021.  

Where our traditionally massive gathering of forty schools and two thousand athletes has been significantly downsized this year, the field does not lack for talent at the top. And the smaller number of participants has allowed the meet to add events that in most years, we don’t have time to contest in with so many competitors.  

The track events will kick off with the short hurdle races the first championship heat of the day features 

2019 NCS MOC finalist Amelia Liao of Dublin High School. She will have competition from her teammate Alaina Adamos, who also boasts a 2019 PR under sixteen seconds. Both of these athletes have a chance to set off some early fireworks at tomorrow’s meet.  

The sprint meet will also feature Leila champion, who looked to be one of NCS’ exciting young sprinters, winning the Dan Gabor Invitational 100m run last year as a freshman in a time of 12.45 before the season got derailed. The 100m might be one of the deeper races of the day with three athletes seeded at under 13 seconds. Dublin’s Antonina Fillari owns a PR of 12.78 and will line up to the right of Champion. Leila is entered in the 100m and 200m this weekend, but is only the second seed in the 

200m. Fellow sophomore Cate Peters will run out of lane 4 in that event and has already blasted a 59.07 400m this season. Although she doesn’t have a mark in either the 100m or the 200m, that time validates her seeded marks of 12.95 and 25.87. We should see some great racing tomorrow in the girls’ sprints. 

On the boys’ side, Amador Valley’s Tim Lester holds the top seed times in both the 100m and 200m. Tim’s season got off to a great start in 2020 where as just a sophomore he finished second in the 100m and 6th in the 400m at the Dan Gabor Invitational, going under 51 seconds in the 400m.  

Tim won’t be running the 400m at this year’s meet, but even if he was, he wouldn’t be the top returner. That honor belongs to Dublin’s Manogya Yara who ran 50.78 at last year’s meet, which is still his PR.  

Amador Valley’s Kiana Lum looks to take care of business in the girls’ horizontal jumps with the top seed marks in both the long jump and the triple jump while in the boys’ horizontals Cal High looks to lead the way with Cole Muller coming in with a mark of 21 feet, 6.5 inches from last season and Joel Puthankalam who tripled jumped 43 feet even at the start of last season. Amador Valley’s Jad Khansa had a promising start to the season last year throwing 47 feet, 6 inches in the shot put. He has the top mark in the shot and discus at this year’s meet and will be looking to eclipse 50 feet in the shot put and 140 feet in the discus. Meanwhile, Monte Vista’s Ashley Rosati leads the way in the girls’ shot discus with a mark of 100 feet, 2 inches and Granada, always a power in the women’s throws, has another strong shot putter in Sabrina Mejia who threw 32 feet, 1.5 inches as a sophomore in 2019 and had only one opportunity to throw last year. The girls’ pole vault should be a tight competition as Dublin’s 

Morgan Lee and Robin Han have marks of 10 feet 6 inches and 10 feet 3 inches, while Cal’s Sabrina Contreras sits right behind at 10 feet. It doesn’t appear to be as close on the boys’ side, but we could see an exciting early season jump if Monte Vista’s Cameron Harris is on his game. Harris has jumped 13 feet 6 inches three times in the last two years including his only competition last season.  

The 3200m run will go uncontested this year, but the 1600’s and 800’s will remain strong. Granada’s Shea Hill, coming off of a very strong cross country season looks to lead the way under 5:10, but will be challenged by Monte Vista’s Abby Binder who had a terrific cross country season in her own right and has already run 11:24 this season. Shea will look to double back in the 800m, where she also holds the top mark and in this one it will be a different Monte Vista athlete in pursuit. Mia Rueb, whose PR is just 2 seconds behind Hill’s, will be running fresh and should make for a very entertaining matchup.  

On the boys’ side, Amador Valley’s Euan Houston holds a large edge with his seed time. He is the defending Dan Gabor Invitational 1600m champion, having run 4:18.86 last year in his only 1600m race. Euan validated that performance throughout cross country season, winning four of his five races and breaking fifteen minutes for three miles twice. In the first meet of the season though, seed times don’t always tell the story and there is a strong group of athletes who have run around 4:30 or just under who will be looking to challenge Houston and propel themselves into the upper echelon of local talent. Houston also boasts the second fastest 800m time in the meet, but the slowest time in the field is closer to Euan than Euan is to the leader. Amador Valley’s John Lester took the nation by storm last year repeatedly running impressive times despite the pandemic. He ran the nation’s leading time in the 800m crushing a high level field in a time of 1:48.26 in Arizona, followed that up by running another 1:48 on a negative split on the Amador Valley track, and for good measure drove up to Eugene, Oregon and beat a high quality mile field in a time of 4:06.97. John won last year’s Dan Gabor Invitational in a time of 1:52.06 and will be looking for an even stronger opener tomorrow evening.  

Despite the meet being smaller than usual, I think Dan Gabor would have been very happy to see his meet go on this year and last without interruption and to see the quality of the athletes running in his meet. The show may not be quite the same as usual, but there will still be a show. It is about 85 degrees as I write this and hit 88 degrees yesterday, but wouldn’t you know, the forecast is showing a 10% chance of rain on Saturday. So if history is any indicator pack your umbrellas because we know that we can always rely on death, taxes, and rain at the Dan Gabor Invitational.  

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