One Spartan throws, the other walks

Mountain View High senior Rachael Estell, who won the long jump at the Central Coast Section finals, chose to skip last weekend’s state meet so that she could graduate with her class.

Rachael Estell chose to walk rather than run and jump Friday, while Mountain View High teammate and fellow state meet qualifier Sinai Fatafehi opted to throw the shot put and discus instead of her graduation cap.

Estell and Fatafehi – both top-three finishers in two events at the Central Coast Section finals the week before – seemed fine with their decisions regarding the state track and field championships, which coincided with Mountain View’s graduation ceremony.

For Fatafehi – who transferred to Mountain View last spring – it wasn’t that difficult to choose the state meet in Clovis.

“I don’t really know my class,” said Fatafehi, who attended three high schools because of her mom’s military career. “So I didn’t see a good reason to walk – it wasn’t that personal.”

Her only regret was not performing as well as she would have liked at the meet.

Fatafehi fouled on all three of her attempts in the shot put and two of her three throws in the discus. Fatafehi’s one good throw – which traveled 110 feet, 2 inches – put her 24th; only the top 12 advanced to Saturday’s discus finals.

“There was a lot of sitting around and waiting, and I was not mentally ready,” Fatafehi said. “The waiting and the heat were pretty tough.”

Seven days earlier in Gilroy, she helped the Mountain View girls claim their first CCS team title. Fatafehi won the shot put with a throw of 41-4 and was second in the discus with a 126-11.

“CCS was amazing,” said Fatafehi, who has committed to Cal State Fullerton. “It was a great day.”

Estell enjoyed the meet as well. She seemed just as proud of her team’s accomplishment as of her win in the long jump (18-9 1/2) and third-place finish in the 200-meter dash (25.29 seconds).

“I’m really happy about (the team title),” she said. “We had no idea we were in position to win it, and we had all left the meet when we found out.”

It proved to be her last high school meet. Estell opted for graduation over state, a decision she made prior to qualifying in the long jump and 200.

“I would regret not going to graduation more than state,” said Estell, who competed in the meet as a freshman, sophomore and junior. “My mom wanted me to go to graduation, and my dad definitely wanted me to go to state, but they left the choice up to me, which is nice.”

Estell nearly qualified for state in two other events. She finished fifth in the 100 dash at CCS (12.46) and ran the second leg of the Spartans’ 4x100 relay team, which also came in fifth (48.98). The top three in each event advanced.

Somewhat satisfied with her efforts in the long jump and 200, Estell said she was “disappointed” with her 100 race but was especially pleased with how her 4x100 relay team performed.

“We did really well,” the Harvard University-bound Estell said. “We were ranked sixth and got fifth, and we broke our PR (personal record), which was awesome.”

Andrews anchors Eagles

Tommy Andrews was among four Los Altos High athletes who competed at the state meet and the lone Eagle in two events.

The senior finished 26th in the preliminaries of the 200 dash (22.65) and anchored the 4x400 relay team, joining forces with Derek Mark, McKinley Polen and Austin Townsend to place 10th – one spot shy of making the finals. Their time of 3:19.87 was a season-best, ranking among the top five in school history and No. 1 among CCS teams this year.

“All four legs of the race were lightning fast,” Eagles co-head coach Dave Barth said. “Breaking 3:20 in the boys 4x400 for high school track and field is a huge accomplishment.”

SF sends several to state

St. Francis High sent a slew of athletes to state, but only one of them advanced to the finals. Senior Emily Skahill – who ran a speedy 4:52.47 to finish second in the preliminaries of the 1,600 run – took 12th in the finals with a 5:01.92.

Sophia Pace competed in two individual events. The sophomore placed 18th in the 100 dash (12.14) and 24th in the long jump (17-03 3/4).

Junior Camille Esterlechner finished 26th in the triple jump (36-6 1/4). The Lancers’ girls 4x100 relay team took 12th (48.44).

On the boys side, Brandon Bains – the CCS champion in the 100 dash – finished 14th in the state trials. The senior ran a 10.71.

CCS kudos

Although they didn’t qualify for state, several other local athletes performed admirably at the CCS finals.

Los Altos High’s Max Molchanov made it to the podium with a fifth-place finish in the boys triple jump (44-5 1/2). The senior took 10th in the high jump (5-11).

Senior Victor Yu placed 11th in the long jump (20-1), and fellow Eagle Owen MacKenzie was 12th in the 3,200 run (9:55.50). McKenzie was the fourth-fastest sophomore in the race.

For the Los Altos girls, freshman Anna Zaeske secured seventh in the 400 dash with a personal-best 58.56. She was the fastest freshman to make the 400 final and finished the season as the second-fastest freshman in CCS this year.

“Anna has been consistently improving,” Barth said. “I am excited to see how Anna continues to progress in upcoming seasons.”

Mountain View junior Gabrielle Joffe notched ninth in the 800 run (2:18.86). St. Francis senior Julia Bounds was 12th in that race (2:26.77).

Bounds’ teammate Annika Opsasnick, another senior, took seventh in the triple jump (36-10 1/2).

Castilleja’s 4x400 relay team – which included freshman Hannah Ashby of Los Altos – came in sixth with a 4:00.26.

Mountain View boys Daniel Frees (1:578.48) and Rohan Sarathy (1:58.34), a junior and senior, respectively, finished 9-10 in the 800 run.

Teammate Austin Raiff, a sophomore, cleared 6-1 in the high jump to claim eighth place.

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