The 2020 Saint Mary’s Track & Field Season opened on Saturday at the annual Skyline Invitational, with five Panthers taking home individual gold, several others earning either silver or bronze, and many more scoring lifetime bests. Among the victors, junior hurdler Di’Niko Bates stood the tallest. After running a strong second leg on the victorious boys 4 x 100 relay team, he came back to win the 110 hurdles before breaking the 40 second threshold in the 300h hurdles for his 3rd gold medal of the meet. His 15.15/39.76 hurdle double was the best of his life and a precursor to what should be a fine season for one of the top hurdlers in the North Coast Section.
Teammates Kai’Lib Copes, freshman Anthony Jones and senior Jordan Walton also had “very strong days” according to coach Jay Lawson. Kai’Lib ran 49.57 in the open 400 to earn the runner-up spot… Anthony Jones – running in his 1st high school meet – finished 2nd in the 200 (23.00) and 3rd in the 100 (11.37) – and Jordan Walton ran a lifetime best 52.64 in the 400 after anchoring the victorious 4 x 100 squad.
Another senior, Zach Deering-Haddix, won the high jump with a personal best 6’5”. His jump vaults him to the top spot in the NCS and makes him one of the early season favorites to grab one of the three state meet spots later this spring. Other strong performances on the boys side came from junior Brandon Bazile and freshman Will Bain in the open 400, freshman Adrian Licea and sophomore Jeffrey Norris in the 1600, sophomore Amir Cross in the high jump and long jump, and sophomore Ahmad Wanzo in the high jump.
For the girls, the jumpers ruled the day… with three different Panthers winning all 3 jumping events. Sophomore Julia Alexander, a 2019 state meet finalist in the triple jump, hopped – stepped – and jumped her way to a dominant win in her specialty event. The 2nd place finisher, senior teammate Lydia Howard, exacted her revenge later on in the meet with a win in her best event… the long jump. Finally, junior Simone Rogers won her 3rd consecutive Skyline Invitational in the girls high jump.
“Our girl jumpers are 3 of the best around at what they do,” said longtime jumps coach Jeff Rogers. “They had a solid day today, which I and they expected. I’d say it’s a good start but just a start. They all have a lot more in the tank.”
Senior Amelia Tremain ran a nice 100 hurdle race in placing 3rd before running maybe even a better open 100 (12.92) to place 2nd overall. Joining the senior with a bevy of solid performances were the underclassmen– led by Taryn Fettig’s pair of 5th place finishes in the open 100 (13.14) and 200 (27.05). Fellow sprinter Dylan Hedgspeth, fresh off the soccer field, ran “impressive” races in the 100 (13.74) and 200 (28.13)… while Georgia Rogers (high jump, long jump, 100-300 hurdles) and Najah Williams (400, 100-300 hurdles) both had very busy but productive days. Lastly, freshman Cally McIntyre also had a strong run (2:47) in her first ever 800 meter race.
Next up for the Panthers will be the Dan Gabor Sprint & Distance Carnival on Saturday, March 7th at Amador Valley High School.