After weeks upon weeks of training, the Panthers track & field team finally got the opportunity to compete…. traveling to Skyline High School for the 13th annual Skyline Invitational. Led by senior Sophia Alexander’s sprint victory double, the Panthers captured 6 wins on the day and confirmed what the coaches had suspected, that the team is once again talented across many events and ready to start the season.
Among the talented athletes that competed at Skyline, Sophia Alexander shined as bright as any. She began her day by winning the 100 meters in 12.28… more that .2 tenths of a second faster than the runner-up. She later came back to dominate the 200 meter dash, winning that race by more than .5 of a second. Sophia’s times will certainly rank her among the top dashers in the North Coast Section after week 1.
Senior Antoine Morales also cemented himself as one of the top long jumpers in the section, winning the seeded long jump section in a personal best 22’3¾”. Antoine, who finished less than 2” from a state meet birth at last year’s NCS Championships has had a very good preseason according to
jumps coach Jeff Rogers and so “it is no surprise that he won. I expect Antoine to be very competitive all season and most certainly be there at the end when it counts.” Fellow jumper, junior Zach Deering-Haddix also had a nice meet, finishing 3rd in the high jump (6’0”) and 3rd in the seeded long jump with a lifetime best 21’0”.
Junior Sofia Bailey, one of the top returners in the NCS in the girls 300 hurdles, won the event easily in 47.71. She also won her 400 heat very convincingly and showed that she is quite ready to challenge for top honors in the long hurdle event.
Two sophomores, 800 meter runner Jordan Cornet and high jumper Simone Rogers also scored big victories for the Panthers. Jordan, running her first 800 as a Saint Mary’s Panther, torched a very good 800 field to win in 2:18.76. That time, like Sophia and Antoine’s marks, will put her at or near the top of the early season NCS rankings. Simone, who as a freshman won this same meet a year ago, jumped 5’2” to win by an impressive 4”. She too will be among the top ranked high jumpers after the inaugural week of NCS competition.
Elsewhere on the track and in the field, fine performances were turned in by jumper Lydia Howard (PR 17’4” in the long jump, 2nd overall), hurdler Di’Niko Bates (42.59 – 300 hurdles), freshman Maddie Dwyer in the open 400, fellow freshman Anela Thomas in the 100 and triple jump, sophomores Riley Hartney and Olivia Lawson in the 1600, Amelia Tremain in the 100 hurdles, freshmen Sonny Buckner and Amir Cross in the long and high jump, Jeffrey Norris in the 1600 and Najah Williiams in the 100 and 200.
“Overall, it was good to finally get a meet in,” said sprint coach Jay Lawson. “I think we were all anxious to see where the athletes were after our pre-season training. Now, I’d say we’re probably farther along that we initially thought. Our older, more experienced athletes were not surprising. We knew what they could do. But, seeing our younger athletes get a chance to get out there and show a little of what they can do was exciting. Hopefully everyone is ready to get back to work on Monday and continue to get better.”
The Panthers next meet will next Saturday, March 2nd at Amador Valley High School in Pleasanton for the Dan Gabor Invitational.