May 25th, 2013, Edwards Stadium UCB. The Road to State is a tough one. Athletes must qualify in League to move on to the Regionals and qualify again to move on to Sectional where only the top 3 athletes in each event move on to State. If you’re one of the elite to qualify for Sectionals, you have to be one of the top eight qualifiers in the trials to move to finals which competes the very next day.
It was a windy day and the top sprinters in the North Coast Section battled strong head-winds all day, but that didn’t stop the Fabulous Four from San Leandro High School from making their marks. Gabriella Cantrell won both the 100 and 200 and anchored the winner 4×100 with excellent times of 12.15, 25.11 and 47.28, all top 10 times in the State. Kortni Smyers-Jones placed 2nd in the 100 High Hurdles with a time of 14.31 and Long Jump of 18’11” and ran second leg on the 4×100. Nijae Jones showed why she has been the top 800 runner in the section for the last 3 years by taking command of the 800 early and never relinquishing the lead, crossing the tape at 2:11.21 for her best time of the year. Nijae also showed her speed in a blistering third leg on the 4×100. Camille Watson made the finals in the long jump and ran a terrific 1st leg for the girls 4×100 giving them a lead they never released. Their combined score of 56 points was enough to earn them the NCS Women’s Track & Field 2013 Championship.
In the men’s division San Leandro High ran into very tough competition. Stephen Johnson ran second in the trials with a great time of 10.82 , but finish 8th in the finals as a strong head wind and tired legs prove to much. Christian Carter was also 2nd in the Trials with a good time of 48.21. In the finale, Christian again battled heroically and ran his second best time of the year of 47.71 only to finish 4th in the fastest 400 race in NCS history – six out of eight runners ran better then the automatic State qualifying time of 48.56. The Pirates 4 x 400 also ran into a buzz saw. The 4 x 400 team of Ruben Baker, Tavion Robinson, Stephen Johnson and Christian Carter gave it their all in the trials and qualified 2nd for the finals in a excellent time of 3:19.21. But in the finals the Pirates finished 5th with 3:20.63 behind Amador Valley’s 3:15.15, Hercules 3:16.59 Maria Carrillo’s 3:17.59 and DelaSalle 3:18.17.
Other qualifiers for the NCS meet include Islam Sbeith in the shot and Demytrick Aliifua in the shot and discus, and Courtney Bazile in the 110 High Hurdles and 300 Intermediate Hurdles, and Kennon Noble in the triple jump.