Eagles excel at CCS semifinal meet

Town Crier file photo
Los Altos High’s Thea Mollerstedt, running in an early-season meet, last week qualified for the CCS finals in three events.

After going undefeated in the SCVAL De Anza Division and winning the league meet for the first time, the Los Altos High girls continued their streak of success Saturday at the Central Coast Section track and field semifinals in Gilroy.

The Eagles will be represented in nine events at the CCS finals, slated to start at 4 p.m. Friday at Gilroy High.

“We definitely have a strong team this season,” said senior Naomi Donovan, who qualified in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs. “We have a really strong girls senior class; they’re dedicated and work really hard.”

Donovan is one of three girls on the team to advance in multiple individual events. Senior Thea Mollerstedt qualified in the 300 hurdles (third, 45.59 seconds) and 100 hurdles (fourth, 14.98), while junior Anna Zaeske made it in the 400 dash (third, personal-best 57.51) and 200 dash (fifth, 25.87).

Mollerstedt also ran on the Eagles’ third-place 4x400 relay team. She joined forces with Jessie Bourgan, Jessie Carlson and Francesca Stepanov for a time of 4:04.34.

Two more Los Altos girls made the finals with sixth-place finishes – sophomore Maura Kelleher in the high jump (5 feet, 2 inches) and freshman Kaylin Mootz in the triple jump (35-7), who “continues to impress and improve,” Eagles co-head coach Dave Barth said.

For Donovan, this marks her second straight year advancing to the finals in the 1,600. But like 2018 – when she seized the 11th of the 12 qualifying spots – it wasn’t easy.

“The mile did not go exactly how I planned,” said Donovan who placed 12th with a 5:07.52. “I wanted to get out a little faster, but mentally I was not in the race. Luckily, I had a little kick at the end.”

She came out stronger for the 3,200, though, finishing fifth with an 11:20.14.

“It was at a hotter time (3:30 p.m.) and it was 85 degrees on the track, so I did not want to go out too fast in that heat,” Donovan said. “So my strategy was to go out a little bit slow and then see what I had left, so I could finish well.”

As for Friday, Donovan has set her sights on not only advancing to next weekend’s state meet, but also setting a few personal records.

“My huge goal is to get through to state,” she said, “and it would be awesome to PR with sub 5 (minutes) in the mile and sub 11 (minutes) in the 3,200.”

Big day for LA boys, too

The Los Altos boys will be well represented in the finals, too. Senior Weston Fairey made it in the long jump (second, 22-2.5) and 200 dash (sixth, 22.26), and he also anchored the sixth-place 4x100 relay team (42.86) that included Steve Feng, Charlie Atkins and Alex Toeller as well.

Toeller later anchored the fifth-place 4x400 relay team, combining efforts with Jimmy Dessouki, McKinley Polen and Daniel Lebakos for a time of 3:25.14.

Adam Sage won the 3,200 in “a sprint to the finish line,” Barth said. The junior clocked a 9:33.34.

The coach added that senior Kristofer Emig “had a massive PR in the shot put” to place seventh with a 49-9. Sophomore Xingyu (John) Zhai qualified in the triple jump by taking 10th with a 42-7.

SF also shines at semis

St. Francis is also sending several athletes to the finals, most of them from the boys team. Euan Cairns won the boys 800 run (1:55.17) and anchored the 4x400 relay team that came in fourth (3:26.58). The relay also included Tyler Roey, Mason Elefant and Andrew Shen. Elefant, a senior, advanced in the 800 (eighth, 1:56.45) as well.

Three Lancers qualified in the 1,600: junior Juan Pablo Garcia (second, 4:20.47) and seniors Eric Eng (fifth, 4:18.25) and Daniel Skahill (sixth, 4:21.71). The same trio also made it in the 3,200: Garcia placed second (9:34.77), Eng finished fourth (9:35.05) and Skahill was eighth (9:38.55).

In addition, senior Desai Lopez advanced in the high jump (second, 6-2) and junior Scott Toney moved on in the pole vault (first, 13-0).

On the girls side, sophomore Isabelle Cairns claimed the 800 run (2:13.83) and freshman Christel Elkins placed seventh in the 1,600 run (5:07.52). Both girls also ran on the Lancers’ sixth-place 4x400 relay team (4:06.11), along with Sophia Fernandez and Amariah Davidson.

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