Qualifying for the MOC on the girls’ side were senior Joy Gee (100 meters, 200 meters), senior Erica Wilson (100 meters, 300 meter hurdles), junior Audrena Harlan (triple and long jump), seniors Darnella Jenkins (long jump), Raven Fox (400 meters) and sophomore Chantell Taito (shot put). Wilson won both of her races, Jenkins won the long jump and Harlan won the triple jump. Also qualifying were the 4x100 team of Harlan, Wilson, Gee and Jenkins (4x100), and the 4x400 team of Fox, Gee, Wilson and Jenkins.
Joining them will be senior Dariel Patton (100 meters) and junior Shawn Simms (100 meters, long jump). Also qualifying for the Wolverines was the 4x400 team of senior Andrew Hunte, juniors Isaiah Reed and Tajae Smith White, and Simms.
“They performed pretty well,” said Deer Valley head coach Bernard Stephens. “It was a surprise to me; I wasn’t really expecting that. It’s been a long and a trying year. Sometimes you get years like that. All you can ask for is that they go and compete – and our athletes have done that.”
The Heritage boys and girls made an impressive showing. Both won the overall Bay Valley Athletic League Championship, the boys finishing second and the girls tying Freedom for the No. 17 position.
One girl who qualified for the MOC was freshman Sarah Toelkes, who edged senior teammate Alex Grant in the 800-meter race for the final spot. In a sign of sportsmanship, Toelkes gave her spot to Grant, as Grant had the race won before tripping on a spike and falling just short of the finish line. She got up and crawled across the finish line in the eighth position, which would have been one spot short of MOC qualification.
“We took home second place and we get a banner for that. That’s a big step for our program; we’re extremely proud of that,” said Patriots head coach Kevin Bain. “That’s the most kids that we’ve ever had qualify for the Meet of Champions.”
The Heritage boys who qualified were seniors Eric Morford (1600m), Brandon Brum (800m), Bryan Cuellar, Billy Eng (high jump), Jake Rounds and Alex Horncliff (shot put, discus), junior Miguel Aguiar (400m), and freshman Frank Kurtz (400m). Rounds won the shot put. Also qualifying were the 4x100 team of sophomore Carter Blaise, Aguiar, Kurtz and Cueller, and the 4x400 team of Kurtz, senior Kruger Story Jr., Brum and Aguiar.
Joining Grant at the MOC is Asha Giles (100m, 200m) and the 4x400 team of Grant, freshman Kylee Smith, Toelkes and Giles.
If Saturday’s meet proved nothing else, it was that Antioch fields a phenomenal quartet of girls that make up two strong relay teams. In both the 4x100 and 4x400 relays, sophomore Lindsay McGrath ran the second leg between seniors Taevionna Wilson, Le’Shay Evans and Khadija Suleman. The Panther girls earned a second-place finish.
Those runners also enjoyed predictable success in individual races. Suleman won the 100- and 200-meter races. Evans also qualified for the MOC in the 100, while Wilson joined her teammate in the 200 at 25.71. McGrath and Wilson also qualified in the 400.
“They exceeded my expectations in terms of how they finished at the meet,” Panthers head coach Joshua Tezeno said. “I had only a four-girl squad. They took second at the meet, and that was a good surprise.”
The achievement was magnified by the fact that Antioch is one of the few schools in the NCS Tri-Valley that competes on a dirt track, and that Evans, who played basketball for four years at Antioch, didn’t join the track team until this season.
Sophomore Alex McCauley-Simmons (200m) and senior Peter Tirade (discus) will join their female teammates at the MOC.
In addition to Freedom’s tie with the Heritage girls, the Falcons boys finished in seventh place. Qualifying for the MOC were senior D’Amora Cooper (110 hurdles, long jump), junior Adrian Perez (100m, 200m), senior Mike Kicenski (high jump) and senior Timazray Shepherd, who won the 100. Senior Sara Radda qualified for the girls MOC in the 100-meter hurdles. The 4x100 team of Cooper, Perez, Shepherd and sophomore Darrell Daniels also qualified.
Liberty juniors Nicholas West (triple jump) and Jesus Morales (pole vault) were the only Lions to qualify for the MOC. Pittsburg’s boys qualifying were seniors Javen Butler (100), John Lacey (shot put) and junior Miles Walker (long jump). The Pirate girls placed Idorenyin Udoh (shot put) and the sophomore 4x100 relay team of Jazmin Grizby, Janeek Mollique, Jasmine Huey and Chanel Jones also qualify.