Seniors looking for final highlights to cap stellar careers
The St. Mary’s High girls’ track team won its first North Coast Section title last weekend. This weekend at the state meet in Cypress, the Panthers’ focus will be more on individual accomplishments.
Heading the field for St. Mary’s will be their four stellar senior girls and Solomon Welch. Senior Danielle Stokes is probably the Panthers’ best hope for a win in Saturday’s finals, as she goes into the 100-meter hurdles with the fastest time in the state, a blazing 13.90 in last weekend’s final. But four others ran sub-14.10 in regional action, including Stokes’ rival Talia Stewart of James Logan High, so a win is anything but assured. Stokes will also run the 300-meter hurdles and likely the anchor leg of the 4x100 relay.
Tiffany Johnson will take part in four events, the most of any athlete: the 100-meter dash, long jump and triple jump, all of which she won at the NCS meet, as well as the relay. With stiff competition in the sprint from the southern schools, it will be an accomplishment for Johnson to reach Saturday’s final; ditto for the jumps, where it will take a strong effort from the St. Mary’s senior to finish in the top 10.
Kamaiya Warren will throw the shotput for the third straight time at the state meet, but her focus will be divided with her entry in the discus, which she missed last year. Warren set a personal best in the discus last weekend and should be in the top five in both events.
Rounding out the senior quartet is distance runner Bridget Duffy, who will run the 3,200 and 1,600. She finished second in the shorter race at the NCS meet, which produced the top three qualifying times in the state.
Welch qualified for the long jump, triple jump and 110-meter hurdles, but will forgo the hurdles race to concentrate on his jumps. The senior specializes in the triple jump and beat his previous best by more than a foot last weekend, so he’s clearly in top form. His mark was less than six inches behind state leader Demetrius Ragland of Tulare Western High, so with a little improvement Welch could be a state champion.
The St. Mary’s relay teams, a traditional strength for the program, continued their success at the NCS meet, with the girls qualifying in the 4x100 relay and the boys winning spots in both events. The boys’ win in the 4x400 at the NCS meet was the school’s seventh straight victory in the event.