Last weekend, Muppy Gragg, Keaziah Smith and Ryan Nall competed in the California State Track and Field Trials. This a two day event, trials on Friday and finals on Saturday (they are also expecting 100 degree weather for the finals.)
Before I go further, the event was held at Buchanan High School in Clovis. Buchanan has a grammar school, middle school and a high school on the same campus. The campus itself is big enough to put Acalanes, Las Lomas and possibly Campolindo on the same site. The stadium was built by the Clovis school district and is the host to all five high schools in the district for football. The stadium was also designed for track, with the specific purpose of hosting the State Track Championships. It can seat up to 10,000 or more; it has four long jump pits, so if the wind changes the direction of the runway changes; two pole vault pits that can also be changed due to wind; two shot put rings; and a nine lane “Mondo” track which is the fastest surface a runner can run on with exchange zones that vary in color and are used for relays.
To get to the meet an athlete must first qualify out of league to the sub section championships. In Acalanes’ case, you have to finish in the top six at League to move on to Tri-Valley or run a qualifying time. From Tri-Valley an athlete must qualify in the top seven to move on tho the section championship or in our case the Meet of Champions. At the Meet of Champions an athlete must qualify in the top three or run a qualifying time to move on to the State championships If I am correct, there are eight sections in the state, some larger than others and they follow the same procedure. Out of those eight sections a total of 27 athletes qualify for the State Meet (that number may be larger in some events because additional athletes qualify by meeting a qualifying time.)
In California, the most populated state in the Union, we have over 800,000 high school athletes competing in sports. California has some of the best athletes in the nation, and this meet will bear that out. After trials you will find out how you rank in your event in the state. Either you are in the top 9 in running events or the top 12 in field events, but if you finish in 10th or 27th that is how you rank out of all the athletes in the state that participated in track and in your particular event. There are no losers when it comes to this meet, because just to get to this meet, you have to be the best of the best (and this may mean the best in the nation.)
Muppy finished 10th in the 300 hurdles with a time of 43.77, which breaks the school record she broke last week and she finished 15 in the long jump with a jump of 17′ 11.75 (she was a scratch away from being in finals); Keaziah Smith finished 25th in a field of 32 with a jump of 21′ 8.50; Ryan finished with a throw of 53′ 8.5 to finish in a tie for 15. Keaziah is returning to Acalanes next year and now that he has been to this meet he will be focused to return. Muppy and Ryan are moving on to college where they will also compete in track, Muppy to Dartmouth and Ryan to MIT.
This meet also featured para ambulatory athletes that competed and represented their school as did every athlete in the meet.
Head Track & Field Coach
All-League honors were announced for softball. Representing Acalanes:
First TeamMorgan Salmon- freshmanAmy Schwing- freshmanEllie Palma- freshmanBailee Takano- JuniorSecond TeamRiley Nicosia- sophomoreHonorable MentionRosie Shackett- seniorAlexis Carlson- seniorThe team was 3rd in academics for all of North Coast Sectionals!Way to go, Lady Dons!
Saturday, Ryan Nall will compete in the shotput at the CIF State Championships at Veterans Memorial Stadium at Buchanan HS in Clovis.
Acalanes Boosters Club Most Outstanding Senior Athletes
Congratulations to Muppy Gragg and Ryan Nall, who at last night’s Senior Awards, were presented with the Acalanes Boosters Club Most Outstanding Female and Male Senior Athlete Awards, respectively. This award is given by Boosters each year to an individual female and male athlete who have made the most significant contributions in several sports during the entire Acalanes career while maintaining strong academic performance.
The CIF track & field championships are Friday and Saturday at Veterans Memorial Stadium at Buchanan HS in Clovis. Muppy Gragg will compete in the 300 hurdles and long jump, Ryan Nall in shotput and Keaziah Smith in long jump.
Meet of Champions
This past Friday and Saturday the track team competed at North Coast Section Meet of Champions at UC Berkeley. The girls team finished 5th overall and the only Division 3 team in the top five. This team continues to prove that it can compete with the best track and field teams in the section. The boys team finished in a tie for 16 out of 40 teams.
We had two school records broken at this meet and we had two personal bests, and a fifth fastest time in school history.
It started Friday with the first event, boys shot put. Ryan Nall equaled his PR with a throw of 55’2 to finish second and qualify for the State Championships (this is Ryan’s second trip to the State Meet). Then Muppy Gragg qualified for finals in the 400 and 300 hurdles (finishing 4th with a 45.43). Johnny Choi, (who currently holds the 2nd place Acalanes high jump record of 6’6″), cleared 6’2″, finishing 10th. The most exciting event was the last, the girls 4 x 400. Charlie Koehane, Emily Sverak, Mikaela Truong and Mari Florine made up the team. The last time these four were paired together was on April 11 and they ran a time of 4:22.02. This past week each athlete had to make an individual commitment to this race, I was asking them not to do anything they were not capable of doing, but I was asking they all to do what was possible. I thought a 4:05 would get them to finals; I was wrong. They ran 4:02.54 to finish 7th and qualified for finals. What these four athletes accomplished is what legends are made of. They made a 20 second improvement from April 11 to May 25.
Saturday started the same way. In the girls long jump, all the jumpers were jumping below their personal best. Yet Muppy was able to jump 17′ 7,25 to finish 2nd and qualify for the State Championships. Ryan Nall finished on the podium for the second time in the discus with a 6th place finish and a throw 147’01. In the 400 Muppy finished 6th in a race that a girl from Bishop O’Dowd ran a 52.69, the fastest time in the state, and the fifth fastest in the nation (and girl from Newark Memorial ran a 53.95). This was not a race that I thought Muppy would qualify in. Then Keaziah Smith in the boys long thought after the event that he did not qualify only to find that he qualified third and won a ticket to the State Championships. In the girls 800 freshman Nicole Frigon finished 8th with a personal best of 2:19.08 (the eight fastest in school history) in a race that included the two time state champion in this event. While that was happening, Scarlette McCullough was having the time of her life pole vaulting, which resulted in a school record 10′ 7, only to be followed by a pole breaking on Scarlette’s final attempt at 10’11. Muppy’s next event was the 300 hurdles and with no memory of the previous day’s time, Muppy ran a 44.03 breaking the school record of 44.88 and finishing second and qualifying for the State Championship in a second event. The last event of the day was the 4 x 400 and I had to make a change. In an attempt to qualify for the State Championship, I had to include Muppy on the 4 x 400 team. This was something I had discussed with the girls weeks ago and they all knew that this was going to happen. Getting to the finals and running in the finals took all five athletes, this 4 x 400 team was a team of five. So the team that ran was Charlie Koehane, Emily Sverak, Mari Florine and Muppy. Prior to the Meet of Champions there had been only been four teams that had run sub 4:00 4 x 400 in the section. In this race there were seven, us being the seventh with a time 3:58.22, the fifth fastest in school history and the fourth straight year we have had a girls 4 x 400 team under 4:00 and in the MOC Finals.
I would like to recognize the seniors that ran yesterday and Friday. Muppy Gragg, Ryan Nall, and Mari Florine contributions to the team cannot be overlooked. Each person is an outstanding representative of Acalanes and the Acalanes Track and Field Team. Each individual made a commitment to excellence, hard work, academics, were respectful of others and were leaders. They never look down or up to anyone, treated everyone as equals. Athletics is only a fraction of what they represent.
The track & field team performed well at the NCS Meet of Champions. The girls finished 5th overall and the boys 16th.
The following placed at the NCS Meet of Champions to qualify for the CIF Championships Friday, June 1 and Saturday, June 2.
Muppy Gragg, 2nd in 300 hurdles and 2nd in long jump.
Ryan Nall, 2nd in shotput.
Keaziah Smith, 3rd in long jump.
Also performing well at the NCS Meet of Champions.
Muppy Gragg 6th in 400
Ryan Nall, 6th in discus.
Nicole Frigon, 8th in 800.
Emily Sverak, Muppy Gragg, Charlie Keohane, Mari Florine, 7th in 4×400.
Aimee Gee and Lena Johnson, 5th in unified long jump and 4th in unified 100.