Local girls ruled the Central Coast Section track and field championships.
Area athletes won six events and came in second in three races. Two more girls qualified for the state meet with third-place finishes Friday at Gilroy High.
No participant had a better day than Pinewood School sprinter Angela Gradiska. The junior won the 100- and 200-meter dashes – both in personal-record times. Gradiska ran the 100 in 11.76 seconds and the 200 in 24.05.
"I am so happy with both of my times," the Los Altos Hills resident said. "Both races went exactly as I wanted them to. My goals were to win both and get great times, and I'm so happy to do so – and with such big PRs."
Gradiska topped her previous bests by 0.16 seconds in the 100 and 0.41 seconds in the 200.
"In the 100, I knew I had run really fast – toward the 50-meter mark I pulled away from everyone else – but I was shocked by my time," she said. "In the 200, I thought I ran the turn really well – it's always my favorite part – and after I shot out of the turn to the straightaway, my legs were going so fast and I pulled away."
Gradiska won the 200 by almost a full second and took a commanding lead in the 100 at about the halfway mark, beating runner-up Katie Nelms of Leland by 0.19 seconds.
Gradiska aspires to run even faster at the state meet, scheduled Friday (trials) and Saturday (finals) at Buchanan High in Clovis.
"I hope to break 24 (seconds) in the 200 and in the 100 it would be great to run 11.5 or 11.6," she said. "I think I have a chance, especially in the 200. I feel really strong and my form is really good."
Another Hills resident, Valley Christian High's Hannah Goranson, qualified for two events at state as well. The junior won the 100 hurdles and ran the second leg of the Warriors' victorious 4x400 relay team.
Goranson ran the hurdles in 14.27 to edge Nelms (14.33) and set a personal record.
"My first few hurdles were OK, then I saw Katie two lanes over from me and that helped push me," Goranson said.
Goranson ran a personal-best in the relay, too, helping Valley Christian come from behind to beat St. Francis High in 3:55.46. The Warriors were seventh when Goranson took the baton and fourth when she handed it off.
"It all came together and we all ran times we should have run, for the most part," said Goranson, who ran her leg in just over 58 seconds. "It was a lot of fun."
Goranson said she won't run the relay at state if she makes the hurdles finals because her coaches want her to focus on that event.
"I really want to break 14 (seconds), but we'll see how it goes," she said. "I have a good chance of making the finals if I run the way I've been running lately."
Gunn High's Sunny Margerum didn't do as well as she would have liked in the hurdles, placing fifth in the 100 (15.03) and 300 (personal-best 44.58) races, but made up for it in the long jump. The junior won the event with a leap of 18 feet, 1 1/4 inches.
"I was really pleased with my long jump – I finally broke 18 again this year," said Margerum, who jumped 18-10 last season. "Winning my first CCS title is exciting."
The Hills resident was the lone competitor to leap more than 18 feet Friday and won the event by 3 1/2 inches. Margerum knows it will likely take a better jump to reach the state finals.
"There are some really good people – a few have jumped in the low 20s and high 19s and there are a bunch in the 18s," she said. "I'll probably need to get into the mid-18s to get to the finals, but you never know."
St. Francis' Christina Roche is headed to state in the pole vault, which she won at CCS by clearing 10-6. The junior edged Gunn's Alison Ang, who also went 10-6 but needed two more jumps than Roche to do so.
"It felt a little off, but everyone told me it was one my best jumps and that I cleared it by a lot," Roche said of her winning vault, two inches shy of her personal record. "I guess it's good to be a little off."
Roche, who missed making state by one place last year, expects stiff competition in Clovis.
"I'm not getting my hopes up too much – I hear the other girls are pretty good," the Los Altos resident said. "But I want to get 11 feet."
The youngest local preparing for state comes from Mountain View High. Allison Sturges, a freshman, qualified by taking second in the 1,600 run with a personal-record 4:59.32.
"I was thinking I had a good chance at making it to state, but I didn't think I would break 5 (minutes)," said Sturges, whose previous best was 5:01. "The other girls pushed me to go faster."
Sturgess came in just 0.24 seconds behind champ Courtney Allen of San Benito and beat third-place finisher Erin Robinson, a Gunn sophomore from Los Altos Hills, by nearly 3 seconds.
Sturges said she plans to approach state "like a normal track meet" and aspires to be among the 12 girls in the trials who advance to the finals.
"There's a slim chance of me making it," she said. "Most of the girls run under 5 (minutes), so it's going to be tough."
Other local girls moving on to state include St. Francis senior Shanie Landen in the 400 dash (third at CCS) and the Lancers' 4x100 and 4x400 relays (second).
A few boys advance, too
On the boys' side, St. Francis' 4x100 relay was the lone winner from the local schools. The Lancers' team of Anthony Andrighetto, Marty Manoukian, Glyn Borel and Phillip Depond combined for a personal-best 41.68.
Mountain View junior Garrett Rowe placed second in the 3,200 run with a 9:08.17, eclipsing his previous-best by nearly 7 seconds. He came in 1.07 seconds behind Sobrato's Lance Wolfsmith.
"I wasn't expecting the race to come out that fast," said Rowe, who missed CCS last year due to a foot injury. "I was surprised there were so many runners in the front of the pack. I was really pushed by Lance – he helped me run a fast last lap."
Rowe moves straight to Saturday's state finals (there are no trials for the 3,200) and has set his goal for the race.
"I want to run sub-9 minutes," he said. "If I do that, I'll be happy with any place I get."
St. Francis senior Lasjohn Johnson will join Rowe at state. Johnson finished second in the triple jump at CCS with an effort of 46-1 1/2. Teammate and fellow senior Jeff Butler made it in the shot put (third, 51-3 1/2) and discus (third, 158-7).
Others oh-so close
Several local athletes came close to making state. Among the girls, Los Altos' Kristin Rimbach took fourth in the high jump, Mountain View's 4x400 relay placed fourth and Spartan Mary Reynolds was fifth in the 1,600.
Five St. Francis boys nearly advanced: Borel in the 100 dash (fourth), Johnson in the long jump (fourth), Shawn Toney in the pole vault (fourth), Carter Lyman in the 110 hurdles (fifth) and Depond in the 300 hurdles (fifth).