Although the photo finish for second place in the girls 4x400-meter relay didn’t favor Los Altos High at Friday’s Central Coast Section track and field finals, the Eagles still left Gilroy with plenty to smile about.
Los Altos co-head coach Dave Barth said the relay team of Jessie Bourgan, Jessie Carlson, Thea Mollerstedt and Anna Zaeske “gave everything they had” to finish in a season-best time of 3 minutes, 56.75 seconds and qualify for the state championships. The meet is slated Friday (trials) and Saturday (finals) in Clovis.
“The relay was amazing,” said Mollerstedt, who also advanced to state in the 300 hurdles. “We expected to drop a little time, but not 2 1/2 to 3 seconds. We lost (second place) by .01 and got third, but we’re still going to state.”
Menlo’s Charlotte Tomkinson barely caught Zaeske at the finish line. The Los Altos junior ran despite a sore knee that kept her out of the CCS semifinals the week before.
“We were a little worried during the week, but Anna pushed through,” Mollerstedt said. “I couldn’t be prouder of her.”
Zaeske also made it to state in the 400 dash. Although she finished fifth with a 58.34, two of the three CCS qualifiers scratched out to focus on other events.
Mollerstedt’s time of 44.78 in the 300 hurdles was good enough for second place and just .01 away from her personal record.
“I was pretty confident that I would make it to state, but there’s always a little doubt,” said the Cal-bound senior. “I had to work for it – the other girls are really good. I didn’t get off to a great start, but I was consistent throughout, with no stutters.”
Mollerstedt nearly advanced in the 100 hurdles as well, placing fourth with a 14.92.
“I wasn’t expecting to go to state in the 100, but I was close,” she said. “It was my second-best time, so I was happy with it.”
Teammate Naomi Donovan didn’t have as memorable of a night at CCS, as the senior was injured running the 1,600. Barth said Donovan “was cruising” and “looking super strong when she got tangled up in the race, fell to the ground and then got spiked.” She got up and finished, placing 12th with a 5:44.56, and then came back later in the evening to run the 3,200 but wasn’t able to finish.
“Talk about grit and toughness,” Barth said in praise of Donovan.
The Los Altos boys have four athletes headed to state. Weston Fairey qualified in the 200 dash with a third-place effort of 22.23 and also anchored the Eagles’ 4x100 relay team that advanced. The senior joined forces with Steve Feng, McKinley Polen and Alex Toeller to run the relay in a season-best 42.27 for second place. Barth said the foursome nearly set the school record and “had close to flawless handoffs.”
Los Altos senior Kris Emig just missed state in the shot put, finishing fourth with a personal-record throw of 52 feet, 4.25 inches. Junior Adam Sage placed sixth in the 3,200 run (9:33.88).
Led by their distance runners, the St. Francis boys placed second at CCS with 56 points.
“Our boys laid it all out there for the team on Friday night,” co-head coach Phil Pompei said. “Their races were composed, mature and fearless. I couldn’t be prouder of their efforts.”
The Lancers’ finished 2-3-4 in the 1,600 run; Juan Pablo Garcia ran a 4:13, Eric Eng a 4:14 and Danny Skahill a 4:20. Garcia and Eng qualified for state.
In the 800 run, Euan Cairns placed second (1:55.44) and Mason Elefant took third (1:55.98) to advance as well.
Cairns and Elefant also ran on St. Francis’ 4x400 relay team – along with Tyler Roey and Andrew Shen – which seized the third and final spot in state with a 3:24.20.
Two field athletes also advanced: Scott Toney in the pole vault (first, 15-9) and Desai Lopez in the high jump (third, 6-4).
Isabelle Cairns will represent the St. Francis girls at state; the sophomore placed third in the 800 run (2:15.61).