The “Strength in Numbers” moniker has famously been the moniker of the 3 time NBA champion Golden State Warriors. However, long before the Warriors began their title runs, the girls track & field teams from Saint Mary’s have employed the same philosophy while winning 4 of the past 5 North Coast Section Meet of Champions titles. After Saturday, that number is now 5 championships in 6 years. With scorers in 11 different event areas, the lady Panthers completely dominated the rest of the North Coast Section while more than doubling the point total of runner-up Campolindo High School.
“Our girls scored more points than the 2nd and 3rd place teams combined,” noted distance coach Denis Mohun after the meet. “It’s been quite a few years since a team was that dominant against every other school in the North Coast Section.”
Despite the rainy, cold conditions, the Panthers fared very well in the sprints, relays, hurdles and jumps. The quartet of Kaia Gant-Hatcher, Sophia Alexander, Maddie Dwyer, and Sofia Bailey ran away from the field to win the 4 x 100. The same quartet, minus Sophia Alexander and insert Jordan Cornet, won the 4 x 400 as well. Sophia Alexander, who normally runs the 4 x 400, was rested so that she could concentrate on the 100 and 200… which she placed 2nd and 3rd in respectively. Kaia Gant-Hatcher was 5th in the 400 as was Jordan Cornet in the 800.
Junior hurdlers Sofia Bailey and Amelia Tremain showed the muscle, talent and hard-work that coach Moses Jocko’s group has been putting in when they finished 1st and 2nd in the girls 100 hurdles. Bailey also finished in the bronze medal spot in the 300m hurdles.
“I’m so proud of both of those girls,” said the thrilled Jocko afterwards. “The work they’ve put in and the challenges they’ve overcome makes this special. They deserve it. They represented our group and our work well.”
Coach Jeff Rogers’ jump crew also showed off their “Strength in Numbers” muscle. Freshman Julia Alexander may have pulled off the shocker of the meet when she spanned 38’0” in the triple jump to finish 2nd. Freshman teammate Anela Thomas also PR’d at 36’2” to finish 6th. High jumper Simone Rogers placed 5th in the high jump…. as did teammate Lydia Howard in the long jump.
On the boys side, junior Malcolm Clemons stamped his ticket to next weekend’s State Championships by finishing 2nd in the boys triple jump… as did Zach Deering-Haddix when he climbed over a lifetime best 6’4” in the boys high jump. (Note: due to inclement weather, the boys long jump was postponed and will be completed on Monday).
After the meet, coach Jay Lawson reflected on the title run the girls have been. “Our girls’ teams has been so good the past 6 -7 years. Today, we showed again what a total team effort can accomplish. We constantly preach that consistent hard-work and commitment are what win championships. We only had one individual winner on Saturday yet we totally dominated the competition. As a group of individuals we would score pretty well, but as a group were great. I think that’s a great lesson for our athletes to take away.” Next weekend’s State Championships will, once again, be at Buchanan High School in Clovis. All events (except the 3200) have a qualifying round on Friday with the finals being on Saturday.