May 30 – Wednesday Sports

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.

John Crain
Instructional Assistant
Head Track and Field Coach