The best track and field athletes the North Coast Section (NCS) has to offer gathered at Diablo Valley College for the ultra-competitive NCS Meet of Champions (MOC) last weekend.
The ultimate goal for every athlete at the MOC was to perform well enough to make the state meet.
The Bay Valley Athletic League (BVAL) will be represented at state in five different events. Four of those representatives will be from Pittsburg, while the other will be from Antioch.
Pirates senior John Maka was the only BVAL athlete to win a MOC event. He finished first in the discus at 181 feet, 3 inches.
Junior Trinity Bolden came in third in the 100-meter race at 12.18 seconds. Panthers sophomore Jailen Weaver placed sixth in the shot put (48 feet, 4 3/4 inches). All three will be in the state meet.
Pittsburg will also send both 4×100 relay teams to state. The girls team of junior Elaija Danridge, sophomore Ariane Nelson, junior Aqeelah Hasim and Bolden finished second at the MOC with a time of 48.81. Meanwhile, the boys team of sophomore Clarence Strong, senior Willie Harts III, junior Jonzi Smith, and senior Jalen Adams came in third at 43.09.
While no other BVAL athletes qualified for state, a number of others stood out as among the NCS’s best. The league showed particularly strong in the boys discus and long jump events. In both cases, three BVAL athletes finished in the top 10.
Behind Maka in the discus was Weaver, who came in third with a distance of 165-08.00. Liberty sophomore Akili Calhoun placed ninth at 136-00.00. In the long jump, Freedom senior Giovanni Larrea came in fourth (22-03.50), Pittsburg senior Premier Murphy finished seventh (22-11.50), while Deer Valley’s Patrick Robinson took 10th place (21-06.25). Larrea also came in 10th in the triple jump (42-11.25).
Finishing right behind Pittsburg in the boys 4×100 relay was Antioch. The quartet of Jayson Wade, Ahmon Jones, Brandon Canty and Aaron Lacy took fourth with a time of 43.40.
Heritage showed well in the girls 4×400 relay. The team of Sabrina Rogers, Kaya Scott, Lauren Lane and Mariah Lang placed ninth (4:22.28). Patriots senior Ingrid Neukirchen finished seventh in the girls 100 meters (12.32) and fifth in the 200 meters (25.57).
In the boys 800-meter race, Heritage junior Gabriel Preciado took notched a sixth-place finish (1:57.86).
Naturally, members of both of Pittsburg’s state relay teams also did well in individual races. Nelson took ninth in both the 100-meter dash (12.55) and 100-meter hurdles (18.56). Bolden, meanwhile, finished only one spot behind Neukirchen in the 200 (25.64). On the boys side, Smith took fifth in the 110-meter hurdles (15.62), while Adams posted a seventh-place finish in the 200 (22.92). Pirates senior Gabriella Serrianni also finished sixth in the shot put (36-02.50).
The state championship meet will be held May 24-25 at Buchanan High School in Clovis.