In all, BVAL athletes will be competing in more than 20 events, and several of those feature multiple BVAL stars. Deer Valley and Heritage boast the most representation. The Wolverines earned those spots off a second place performance at last weekend’s NCS Tri-Valley Meet for the boys; fifth for the girls. The Patriots boys weren’t far behind Deer Valley, finishibng in fourth place, which pleased head coach Kevin Bain.
“The boys team did well,” Bain said. “The girls team had kind of a rough time of it, but I’m really happy with the way we performed. We were fourth overall, and when you consider injuries, that’s pretty good.”
Patriots sophomore Frank Kurtz was one of the Tri-Valley Meet’s best performers. He won both of his individual races, finishing first in the 200- and 400-meter sprints. Other strong showings from BVAL athletes were made by Freedom senior Adrian Perez, who finished just behind Kurtz each time. In the 200, Deer Valley senior Shawn Simms took third, while Deer Valley junior LaValle Hamlin placed fourth in the 400. All athletes posted a strong enough time to qualify for the Meet of Champions.
Hamlin also finished second in the 300-meter hurdle, and his time of 39.07 was good enough to advance. Rounding out the Wolverines’ Meet of Champions placement in the individual races was junior LaShall Hamlin’s runner-up performance in the girls 100- and 200-meter races. In addition to placing third in the 200, Simms won the 100-meter race and finished second in the long jump.
The boys’ 100-meter race promises to be one of the Meet of Champions’ most competitive events. Pittsburg junior Jamal Lockett finished ninth in that event, but posted a time good enough to join Simms at the Meet of Champions. Joining Lockett will be Pittsburg teammates junior Heather Hernandez-Shaw (800), junior Janeek Mollique (300 hurdles), junior Montel Brown (high jump) and senior JaVonte Brooks-Brown (shot put and discus).
Perez was the only Falcon to qualify, but he did so in both the 200- and 400-meter races. Joining him will be junior Lindsay McGrath (400) and senior Jeremy Bittle (long jump) from Antioch. Liberty will send sophomore Cody Mayer (800), senior Jesus Morales (pole vault) and junior Nick West (triple jump).
In addition to Kurtz and the possible return of previously qualified injured stars Miguel Aguilar and Carter Blaise, Heritage will field a large group. The Patriots send junior Zoey Millington (girls high jump), senior Clifford Obodo (boys high jump), senior Anthony Bowman (pole vault) and senior Kyle Thacker (discus).
“Excluding the exhibition relays, we’ve got 18 kids going to Meet of Champions, which is the most we’ve had,” Bain said. “Last year we were pretty close to that. They’ve really come out and impressed. I wasn’t sure how they’d do this year, because we’re young. We have graduating seniors, but we’ve got a lot of good young kids.”
In addition to the individual races, BVAL schools in all four relay races qualified. Girls from Pittsburg, Deer Valley and Heritage qualified in the 4x100, while the Wolverines and Pirates qualified in the 4x400. Antioch contributed the only qualifying boys for both relays. While the 4x100 team was the only BVAL team to qualify, the 4x400 teams Deer Valley and Heritage will join them in Berkeley.
The Meet of Champions can be followed live online at www.cifncs.org.