With the Central Coast Section track and field finals behind them – and with first-place medals to show for it – three local competitors have turned their focus to what awaits them at this weekend’s state championships.
CCS champs Zach Fagin (boys high jump) and Lauren Soobrian (girls 3,200 run) of Los Altos High and Mountain View’s Hannah Rutherford (girls 400 dash) made it to state last year as well, but they’re hoping for even better results this time around.
Like last year, Fagin has also qualified for state in the long jump (third at CCS) and with the 4x100 relay team (second), thanks to strong performances at Saturday’s CCS meet in Gilroy. He didn’t get beyond the state preliminaries in 2022 but is optimistic that his approach to this year’s meet will serve him well.
“Take it one day at a time, recover well and get ready for Friday and Saturday,” Fagin said. “I want to enjoy it and have fun; it’s the last one for us seniors.”
Rutherford potentially has two more opportunities to race in the annual meet at Buchanan High in Clovis – she qualified for state in the 200 and 400 as a freshman last year – but she’s eager to take advantage of this one after missing the finals last year. She will again compete in both events, having placed second in the 200 at CCS.
“Last year (at state) was the first 400 I ran where the girls were faster than me,” Rutherford said. “I was really nervous and did not expect to win. I still had a lot left in the tank after that race.”
Soobrian was one of two Los Altos athletes to compete in the finals of last year’s state meet (there is no preliminary race for the 3,200), and she placed fourth to earn a medal. The senior said she’s out to set a personal record this year, hoping her previous experience proves beneficial.
“I think it will help, especially the mental aspect,” said Soobrian, also planning to run in the Nike Outdoor Nationals next month. “I’m more familiar with the track and the atmosphere of racing on such a big stage.”
Soobrian won the CCS race in 10 minutes, 38.16 seconds. That was nearly three seconds faster than the runner-up, but 21 seconds off her best time.
“I wasn’t too happy with the time, but for a tactical race, it was good,” she said.
Soobrian ran with teammates Jasleen Sidhu (third place), Fiona Bodkin (fifth) and Lydia Anderson (eighth) the first mile or so, then said she “picked it up with three laps to go and went for it.”
Sidhu’s third-place time of 10:43.11 also sends her to state – and the junior qualified in the 1,600 as well with another third-place finish (4:54.55).
Fagin is the only Eagle going to state in three events. He’s most proud of his CCS win in the high jump, clearing 6 feet, 5 inches for the first time.
“I’m super happy about that,” he said. “I knew I could get it, I had confidence, I just needed to put all the pieces together.”
Fagin took third in the long jump with a leap of 23-0.25. It was 9 inches short of his best jump, but he expects to beat that this weekend.
“State champ for long jump is a goal for sure,” said Fagin, who also joined Ata Sen, Leo Goebel and Nathaniel Guillory on the runner-up 4x100 relay team that ran a school-record 41.73 Saturday. “My goal is the 24(-foot) range.”
Rutherford said one of her goals at CCS was to break 55 seconds in the 400 for the first time, and she did just that. The sophomore clocked a winning time of 54.81.
“I tried to go out really hard for the first 60 or 70 meters,” she said. “I caught the girl in lane five with 200 left and gave everything I had.”
As for the 200, Rutherford said she was “a little disappointed with the result because I was seeded first going in.” She placed second with a 24.87.
St. Francis standout
St. Francis’ Sabrina Zanetto had what coach Phil Pompei called “a pretty remarkable day” at CCS. She won the 800 in a school-record time of 2:10.35, then anchored the Lancers’ victorious 4x800 (9:12.05) and 4x400 (3:58.49) relay teams.
“She has the heart of a champion and absolutely showed it (Saturday) night,” Pompei said.
LA girls shine in relays
The Los Altos girls placed second to St. Francis in both the 4x800 and 4x400 relays – posting a school-record time of 9:16.02 in the former – and also came in second in the 4x100.
Los Altos senior Megan MacKenzie just missed qualifying for state in the triple jump (fourth with a 37-01), but she is going with the 4x100 and 4x400 relays. The latter relay team, which also included Emma Lewis, Maddie Ross and Maddy Randall, ran a season-best 3:58.98. The effort guaranteed Los Altos the girls team title at CCS with 65 points.
More individuals move on
Mountain View senior Evan Markelz advanced to state with his second-place time of 9:02.70 in the boys 3,200.
Los Altos senior Brandon Louie qualified in the wheelchair 100, 200, 400 and shot put.
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