Malcolm Clemons Leaps To State Championship!
Super sophomore Malcolm Clemons soared above and beyond all his competitors before landing 25’1″ from where he began to capture the state long jump championship on Saturday. With a delighted and supportive crowd of several thousand watching, Malcolm put on a show… jumping in excess of 24’1″ on all 6 of his jumps. Each one of those 6 would have won the competition. The 25’1″ winner was not only the best in California this year, but now stands as the #2 jump in the United States this year and the 2nd best jump ever for a sophomore in the state of California. Congratulations Malcolm!
Joining Malcolm on the medal stand in Clovis was Columbia-bound senior Kali Hatcher. On Saturday, Kali finished 4th in the girls triple jump to secure her 3rd straight state meet medal in the event. It was her 4th straight year at state in the triple jump. Quite an achievement for the multi-talented senior.
In addition to her jumping prowess, Kali also joined Sophia Alexander, Janelle Ingram (who also ran a huge 14.58 PR in the 100 hurdles) and Sofia Bailey on the 4 x 100 relay team that placed 8th in the final while running a seasonal best 47.66. That time is the 6th fastest in school history.
Not to be outdone, the 4 x 400 team of freshmen Jordan Cornet (58.5) and Kaia Gant-Hatcher (56.7), sophomore Sofia Bailey (57.8) and junior Sophia Alexander (56.5) ran, according to coach Lawson, “one of the best races any team has ever run here at Saint Mary’s” on Friday night to make the girls 4 x 400 final. Then on Saturday, Kali joined the Sophia/Sofia’s and Kaia to run the 4th fastest time in school history (3:47.91) and place 7th. This was the 6th straight year the girls have made the 4 x 400 final at the state championships.
Congratulations to this team of sprinters for a great championship meet! And, congratulations to the entire team and coaching staff for a fantastically successful season!
Kali Hatcher Wins Quadruple Gold; Girls Win NCS Open Championship
In what was her final North Coast Section Meet of Champions, senior Kali Hatcher won three individual events and powered her 4×400 relay team to a huge win to capture her fourth gold medal and lead the Panthers to a 2nd consecutive open division championship.
“There was no athlete more valuable today than Kali,” said coach Jay Lawson afterwards. “She showed why she is such a big time athlete. Jumping, hurdling, relaying…. she was a stud this weekend.” After winning the triple jump on Friday, Kali then won the long jump and 300 hurdles on Saturday before anchoring the victorious 4 x 400 team.
Senior Janelle Ingram also had a huge weekend at MOC according to coach Lawson. After running a strong 3rd leg on the bronze medal-winning 4 x 100 team, she came back and ran a lifetime best 14.86 to place 3rd and punch her ticket to Clovis for next week’s state championships.
The Sophia’s/Sofia’s…. junior Alexander and sophomore Bailey…. also played huge roles in the team’s MOC win. Sophia Alexander ran big legs on both relays while also making the finals in both the 100 and 200 where she placed 5th and 8th respectively. Her 200 time of 25.17 was a lifetime best.
Sofia Bailey, meanwhile, ran pivotal legs on both relays and ran a huge PR in the 300 hurdles to place 5th and earn valuable points for the team. Her 45.50 was also a lifetime best and places her in the top 5 all-time in school history. Freshmen Kaia Gant-Hatcher and Jordan Cornet also ran incredibly strong relay legs for the victorious Panthers.
For the boys, sophomore Malcolm Clemons continued his long jump dominance… winning his signature event with a booming 24’4½”. He will be one of the favorites to win the long jump at next week’s state championships. He also placed 2nd in the triple jump with a seasonal best 46’8½”. Teammates Antoine Morales, Zach Deering-Haddix and Ethan Bizzack all recorded lifetime bests at MOC. Antoine placed 4th in the long jump in a PR 22’0”, Zach cleared 6’2” in the high jump and Ethan ran 51.60 in the boys 400.
“As a coaching staff, we couldn’t have been more pleased with how our athletes competed this weekend,” said coach Jeff Rogers. “They fought hard, were smart, and supported each other which allowed the performances to happen much easier. We’re proud of them.”
The Panthers will end their season next week at the California State Championships in Clovis. Qualifiers include Kali Hatcher in the long & triple jumps, Janelle in the 100m hurdles, Malcolm in the long & triple jumps, and the girls 4 x 100 and 4 x 400. Good luck to the Panthers at State!
Panthers Rolling at TCAL Championships
Led by all-state performer Kali Hatcher, the Panthers ran, hurdled, threw and jumped their way to a plethora of impressive performances at the TCAL League Championships at El Cerrito High School. Kali, who’ll compete at Columbia University next year, easily outdistanced her competition in the triple jump – winning by over 6 feet – before jumping a lifetime best 19’6” in the long jump to win by nearly 3 feet. She later finished 1st in the 300 hurdles where she is the defending North Coast Section champion while also leading the 4 x 100 team to a victory in a season best 48.37.
“Kali, without a doubt, was our anchor,” said coach Jay Lawson after being presented the team championship banner. “She is as talented and versatile as any athlete in Northern California and we’re fortunate she’s on our team. She’s been a major part of our team’s success the past 3 years and this year is no different. She’s a stud.”
Joining Kali at the top of the medal stand were senior hurdler Janelle Ingram, discus thrower Gracie Arevalo and sophomore 400 meter runner Sofia Bailey. Sofia’s 58.47 was a huge PR for her and was notable in the eyes of coach Lawson.
“The girls 400 was my favorite race of the meet. Sofia, Kaia and Jordan were awesome. They all ran smart, tough races and their times showed it. Sofia at 58.4 was great and Kaia and Jordan weren’t far behind. Kaia broke 59 and Jordan was two hundreths of a second from going under 60. What a race!”
Other top performances for the girls came from junior Sophia Alexander who finished 2nd in both the 100 and 200, freshman Nan Wemmer who PR’d in both the 800 and 1600, senior Cymone Rice who jumped a personal record in the long jump, junior Fela Williams who PR’d in the 400, and sophomore Lydia Howard who finished 2nd in the high jump and 3rd in both the long and triple jump.
For the boys, freshman Di’Niko Bates won both the 110 and 300 hurdles in his first season as a Panther… while sophomores Zach Deering-Haddix and Malcolm Clemons won the high and triple jumps respectively. Malcolm survived a scare in the long jump after slightly injuring himself in the 100 meter final. He was, however, able to take a jump that was far enough to qualify him for the Bayshore meet in two weeks.
Senior Ethan Bizzack was 2nd in the 400, as were juniors Antoine Morales in the long jump and Taj Castaneda in the triple jump.
For the junior varsity, their season was completed at these championships. Sophomore Jillian Aliakbar won both the 100 and 200… setting personal records along the way. Triple winner Olivia Lawson (800, 1600, 3200) also PR’d in the 800, as did double gold medalist Erika Marbley in the shot put and discus. Sophomore Sophia Kingsbury also had a solid meet according to coach Craig Sutphin.
The JV Boys meet was equally impressive… with sophomores Jordan Walton, Jordan Mure, James Woo and freshman Brandon Brazile shining the brightest. Walton won the silver medal in both the 200 and 400.. establishing new lifetime bests in the process. Brandon was close behind in 3rd in both races. Throwers Jordan Mure and James Woo split the wins in the shot and discus… with James winning the discus and Jordan winning the shot put. Each finished 2nd in the throw they didn’t win.
Up next for the varsity members is the Bayshore Area Championships at James Logan High School on May 19th. Only those athletes that finished in the top 6 at the TCAL Championships are qualified. Good luck to the athletes as they continue their season in search of personal bests and quality performances.
Personal Bests Plentiful as Panthers Complete Invitational Season
The Panthers split their squad on Saturday, with most athletes competing at “Clash of the Titans” at Skyline High School while a select others competed at the prestigious Sacramento Meet of Champions.
On the eve of the TCAL league championships next week, it was obvious that the athletes at Skyline were nearing their peak performances. Senior Kobi Thompson led the way, winning both the long and triple jumps… the former in a lifetime best 16’10 3⁄4. A pair of other seniors, Gracie Arevalo and Ethan Bizzack also scored lifetime bests… Gracie in the shot put with a 2nd place – 32’11 ½ and Ethan in both the 400 (51.99) and 200 (23.19). Ethan finished 3rd and 4th respectively.
Long sprinters Joseph Herbert (24.90, 55.48), Brandon Brazile (24.99, 55.86) and Jordan Walton (25.11, 56.17) also saw their hard work pay off on Saturday… each scoring personal bests in both the open 200 & 400. Another pair of sprinters, junior Fela Williams and sophomore Jillian Aliakbar also ran the fastest races of their lives… each with PR’s in both the 100 and 200. Fela ran 13.84 and 28.52 while Jillian’s times were 13.47 and 27.75.
Other highlights from Skyline were recorded by the distance team… where Jasmine Newson (6:18), Maddy Daganzo (6:27), Eliza Pease (6:28) and Riley Hartney (5:12) all ran lifetime bests in the 1600. Freshman Olivia Lawson led the Panthers with her 6:01.
Sophomores Lucy Inkhen (long jump), Sophia Kingsbury (100, 300h), and freshman Kaia Gant-Hatcher (100, 200) also had very nice meets according to distance coach Denis Mohun.
In Sacramento, senior Kali Hatcher was, once again, the lead story. Against some of the best competition in Northern California, Kali won the triple jump in a state-leading 42’3½ and also won the long jump with an impressive 18’4½ into a -2.7 headwind.
After the meet, Coach Rogers had this to say about the highly-touted senior: “Believe it or not, Kali is continuing to mature and improve as an athlete. Her mental focus and confidence is growing each week and it’s only making her better. I‘m excited for her as she enters this post-season.”
Fellow jumps star, nationally ranked Malcolm Clemons, was also a gold medalist in Sacramento. His 23’3” into an 8 mph headwind was more than a foot better than the rest of the field. He later would finish 4th in the triple jump.
The girls relay teams also ran season bests. The foursome of Kali Hatcher, Sophia Alexander, Sofia Bailey, and Jordan Cornet ran 3:55 in the 4 x 400 to finish 3rd overall… while the first three from that group combined with senior Janelle Ingram to run 48.84 to finish 4th in the
4 x100. Janelle had earlier run a PR 15.19 in the 100 hurdles.. while Sofia Bailey, who coach Lawson praised as having a “huge, breakout meet”, ran 46.11 in the 300 hurdles before splitting 58.5 on her 4x 400 relay leg. Her 300m hurdle time now ranks in the top 5 in the entire North Coast Section!
The team will now head into the post season, with the TCAL league championships trials this Wednesday and the finals on Friday… both at El Cerrito High School.
It’s Official: Panthers Clinch Share of TCAL Track Championship!
After defeating Hercules and Pinole Valley in their final TCAL league meet, the Saint Mary’s Panthers finished their regular season undefeated and with at least a share of the league championship banner. If both teams win the league championship meet next week they will win the league championship outright.
Today’s meet, held at Hercules high school, followed a script that most of the league meets have followed this season: allow the headline performers to win their events…. get strong support from the upperclassmen…. and be impressed with the contributions from a lot of the younger, newer athletes.
Headlining the meet for the girls were triple winner Kali Hatcher, mile winner Genevieve Wiley, 100 hurdle winner Janelle Ingram, and double winner Simone Rogers. Strong performers included Sofia Bailey, Kaia Gant-Hatcher, Jordan Cornet, Grace Arevalo, and freshman Alyssa Watts.
For the boys, sophomore Malcolm Clemons and freshman Di’Niko Bates were both double winners… while junior Zander Lieske, senior Sam Hines, and junior Taj Castaneda all won their events. Solid marks from Ethan Bizzack, freshman Riley Hartney, Zach Deering-Haddix, and Chris Luhn also were crucial in leading the Panthers to victory.
Seniors Dominate Penultimate TCAL Meet on Senior Day!
For two decades, the hallmark of the Saint Mary’s track & field program has been its depth and the contributions it gets across class lines and from both genders. While this was again the case on Thursday against league rival SPSV… the seniors, running in their final home meet, dominated the scoring for the victorious Panthers.
For the girls, all-world Kali Hatcher won 3 events (200, long jump, triple jump) while fellow senior teammate Kobi Thompson finished close behind in the jumps. Seniors Genevieve Wiley (1600 meter winner) and Gracie Arevalo (shot put winner) chipped in with valuable contributions… as did Janelle Ingram (100 hurdles winner, 100 meters runner-up). Other event winners and notable performances were turned in by Sophia Alexander (100), Kaia Gant-Hatcher (100, 2o0, 4x 100), Lydia Howard (high jump), Nan Wemmer (800) and Olivia Lawson (800), and a trifecta of freshmen winners: Jordan Cornet (800), Alyssa Watts (discus), and Simone Rogers (300 hurdles).
For the boys, seniors Ethan Bizzack and Robert Wood both contributed big points in the win. Ethan won the 400 (53.88) and was 2nd in the 200 with a new personal best – 23.84… while Robert was a triple scorer in the long, triple and high jump. Sophomore sensation Malcolm Clemons was the top performer – winning the 100, 200 and long jump… while senior Malo Goslin also recorded a new PR in the open 400 as well as a seasonal best in the open 200. Di’Niko Bates continued his fine freshman campaign with a pair of wins in both hurdle races.
Next up for the Panthers is the Nor Cal Frosh-Soph Championships at Dublin High School on Saturday. Saint Mary’s will send an abbreviated squad. Then, on next Thursday (4/26) will be the final TCAL league meet against Hercules and Pinole Valley at Hercules High School. The meet begins at 3:45 pm.
Sprinters Lead Panthers to Home Wins and @ Woody Wilson Invitational
Thus far, the headlines to 2018 season have been grabbed by the venerable jump squad. On Thursday, in their 2nd TCAL league meet, and on Friday at the Woody Wilson Invitational at UC Davis – the sprint squad showed their impressive talents to lead the Panthers to dominant wins and fast times.
Junior Sophia Alexander, the fastest of the Lady Panthers this season, continued her fine season with several big performances. On Thursday, she won the 100 meters in 12.59 after running a big 2nd leg on the victorious 4 x 100 relay (49.13). Then, in Davis the next evening, she won the 200 meter dash in 25.29 after finishing in a tie for first in the 100 (12.31) and teaming with Kali Hatcher, Janelle Ingram and Sofia Bailey to finish 2nd in the 4 x 100 (49.29).
“Sophia is starting to look like herself,” said coach Jay Lawson after the meet on Friday. “She had an up and down preseason so it was no wonder that her season started a bit slowly. But lately she’s been really consistent and working hard. Her performances this week match what she’s been doing in practice.”
Against De Anza and Salesian, freshman Di’Niko Bates won both hurdle races, senior Ethan Bizzack won the 400, sophomore Zach Deering-Haddix took the high jump, and juniors Antoine Morales and Taj Castaneda had solid days in the horizontal jumps to lead the Panthers.
For the girls in their Thursday TCAL meet, seniors Gracie Arevalo (shot and discus), Janelle Ingram (100 hurdles, 4 x 100), Genevieve Wiley (1600), and Cymone Rice (triple jump) all were event winners…. as were sophomores Lucy Ihnken (high jump) and Sofia Bailey (200). Freshman Simone Rogers also won the 300 hurdles as the Panthers easily won the meet.
On Friday, along with Sophia Alexander… California State leaders Malcolm Clemons and Kali Hatcher each dominated their long jump events. Malcolm winning in 23’7” while Kali spanned 18’3” to win by over a foot.
Other solid performances at Woody Wilson came from Janelle Ingram in the 100 hurdles and open 100 (season bests 15.47 and 12.94), Sofia Bailey, freshman Jordan Cornet and Ethan Bizzack in the 400 (61:01, 61.86, 53.52 respectively), and Kali Hatcher in the 300 hurdles (44.95).
The Panthers next meet is on Thursday at home against St. Patrick’s and Richmond. First event starts at 3:45.
Kali Hatcher Bounds to CA #1, U.S. #2 After Big Arcadia Win!
Senior Kali Hatcher, last year’s state runner-up in the triple jump, made a huge statement on Saturday with a personal best – state-leading- and U.S. #2 – 42’31⁄4 triple jump win at the 51st Arcadia Invitational. The Columbia University-bound senior bested the top jumpers from the Golden State and the western United States to claim the win as well as the “field athlete of the meet” award. She joins teammate Malcolm Clemons as the current state #1 (he in the long jump)… with both being ranked in the top 2 in the United States.
“Kali had a tremendous triple jump competition,” said jumps coach Jeff Rogers afterward. “Her demeanor, ferocity and poise were incredible. After fouling her first two jumps, she could have gotten down and wallowed in her misfortune. Instead, she remained calm but intense and showed what was an incredibly talented field of jumpers who the best was on this day. We’re all very proud of her.”
Aforementioned teammate Malcolm Clemons, competing in his first Arcadia Invitational section, had the best series of jumps in the field but in the end fell a few inches short of the win. His 23’101⁄2” was good enough for 2nd overall.
“Malcolm is certainly the most talented sophomore we’ve ever had,” added coach Rogers on Saturday. “His Stanford win and now his Arcadia performance are just the beginning of what he’ll accomplish as a Panther. I hope his medal and trophy case at home is big enough to hold all the awards he’ll earn over the next couple of years.”
Next up for the Panthers is a TCAL league meet on Thursday against Salesian and De Anza. The meet will be at Saint Mary’s and starts at 3:45.
Malcolm Clemons Now State #1 After Historic Stanford Invitational Win!
Beginning in the late 1970’s, the Stanford Invitational has generally been regarded as one of the two most competitive high school track & field meets in Northern California that routinely features many of the best athletes from around the state. Accordingly, the meet records are venerable, with some dating back to the early 1980’s. One of the oldest and most revered was the boys long jump which dated back to 1981.
On Saturday, sophomore sensation Malcolm Clemons not only broke the 37 year old meet record… but all 5 of his legal jumps exceeded the old record! His best of the day, a 24’5½” bomb on his opening jump, was also a lifetime best, the best jump in California and the U.S. so far this year, AND ties him with last year’s state champion Sanjay Kettels for the all-time school record. How’s that for an evening down on the farm?
Other Panthers competing at Stanford were 100m hurdler Janelle Ingram (15.85), sprinter Sophia Alexander (12.56 – 100m), freshman high jumper Simone Rogers, and all-state returner Kali Hatcher.
On Saturday, Kali finished 4th in the girls triple jump with a season best 40’13⁄4” after finishing 2nd in the girls long jump with a season best 18’113⁄4″ on Friday.
Panthers Win Big in TCAL Opener; Record Big Wins at Castro Valley Invite
After opening their TCAL league season with wins over Albany, El Cerrito and Kennedy on Thursday, the Saint Mary’s track & field teams ran, hurdled, relayed and jumped their way the dozens of medals on Saturday at the Castro Valley Invitational.
On Thursday, all-state performers Malcolm Clemons and Kali Hatcher received plenty of help from their teammates while recording big team wins. On the girls side, Kali was the top point scorer after winning the long jump, triple jump and 400…. while junior Sophia Alexander won the 100 and 200 meters, senior Gracie Arevalo won the shot put and was 2nd in the discus, senior Kobi Thompson was the co-winner of the high jump and finished 2nd in both horizontal jumps. Other top performers included Ace Dora in the discus (1st), Jordan Cornet in the 300 hurdles (1st), and Janelle Ingram in the 100m hurdles (1st).
For the boys, the meet was forecasted to be very tight but turned out to be a runaway by the Panthers. While Malcolm was winning the long jump, triple jump and 200… teammates Ethan Bizzack was winning the 400, freshman Di’Niko Bates was winning both hurdle races, seniors Parker Bosche and Sam Hines were winning the shot put and discus respectively, and sophomore Zach Deering-Haddix was winning the high jump. Throw in solid contributions from senior Malo Goslin, Ben Jaffe and Robert Wood as well as junior Antoine Morales and the end result is a 40 point win.
On Saturday, the Castro Valley Invitational provided an opportunity for younger athletes to get some invitational experience while also providing the older athletes some much needed tougher competition. Once again, the headliner for the Panthers on Saturday was Malcolm Clemons… whose 23’11¼ wind-legal long jump was not only a personal best but ranks amongst the best jumps in California so far this year. High Jumper Zach Deering-Haddix also won his specialty in the f/s boys division.
On the girls side, sophomore Amelia Tremain continued her impressive 2018 seson with another hurdle win, this time in the f/s girls 300 meter race. Freshman Simone Rogers, 2 days into her hurdle racing career, finished 2nd. Simone also won the f/s girls long jump and was 2nd to teammate Lydia Howard in the girls f/s high jump. The girls f/s distance medley team.. Nan Wemmer, Eliza Pease, Lauren Goode, and Olivia Lawson… as well as the varsity girls sprint medley team… Sofia Bailey, Sophia Alexander, Janelle Ingram and Genevieve Wiley… were relay winners at Castro Valley as well.
Next up for the Panthers is the Stanford Invitational on Friday and Saturday, March 30th and 31st.
Hurdlers and Jumpers Take Gold at St. Francis Invitational
As the 2018 season begins to take shape, it’s becoming apparent to the coaching staff that the strength of this year’s team is in the jumping and hurdling events. At the St. Francis Invitational on Saturday, the jumpers and hurdlers confirmed the coaches view.
Sophomore Sofia Bailey was the most decorated Panther on Saturday, running and hurdling to victories in both the frosh-soph open 400 meters and 300 meter hurdles. “Sofia is undoubtedly one of our most improved athletes this year. Her off season commitment to conditioning and hurdling was excellent and it’s showing,” said hurdle coach Moses Jocko after her 300 hurdles win.
Sophomore teammate Amelia Tremain, whose off season work was equally commendable, saw her efforts pay off at St. Francis. She finished a scant .21 seconds behind Sofia in the 300 hurdles… running a lifetime best 50.01. That race was preceded by a dominant 100 hurdles win. “I couldn’t be more proud of Amelia,” said coach Jocko. “She works hard and doesn’t miss practice. She deserves this type of success.”
Both Malcolm Clemons and Kali Hatcher were also event winners… Malcolm winning the varsity boys triple jump (44’1.5”) while finishing second in the long jump (23’1.75”) and Kali winning the varsity girls long jump (17’3”) in an abbreviated day for her. Joining the winning jump crew was sophomore Zach Deering-Haddix who scored a lifetime best in the high jump when he sailed over 6’0”. Look for Zach to make some noise in the high jump as the season progresses.
Other notable performances at St. Francis came from freshman Simone Rogers (4th) and sophomore Lydia Howard (7th) in the high jump as well as the girls f/s distance medley team (Nan Wemmer, Jordan Cornet, Lauren Goode, Olivia Lawson) who placed 6th overall.
Next up for the Panthers is the TCAL opener on Thursday, March 22nd against league rivals Albany, El Cerrito and Kennedy at El Cerrito. The first race begins at 3:45pm.
Panthers Jump Their Way to 5 Wins @ Skyline Invitational
Led by all-state returners Kali Hatcher and Malcolm Clemons, the Panthers scored 6 individual wins at the Skyline Invitational on Saturday – 5 by the jump squad and 4 by the aforementioned Hatcher-Clemons duo. Along with individual gold, a handful of athletes competed their way to lifetime bests and fine opening season performances.
Both Kali and Malcolm swept the long and triple jump events, with Malcolm flying 22’11½ and 43’6 ½ to score his victories and Kali soaring 18’0” and 38’10” to pocket hers. Senior Kobi Thompson finished one place behind Kali in the triple jump to give the Panthers a 1-2 sweep in that event. Senior Cymone Rice also had a solid opening meet according to jumps coach Jeff Rogers.
Like the long and triple jumps, the high jump also had a pair of Panthers flying their way up to the medal stand. Freshman Simone Rogers showed her talents early by winning the girls high jump at 5’2”. Her jump also places her on the school’s top 10 all-time list in this her first high school competition. Fellow high jumper, sophomore Zach Deering-Haddix, also had a nice meet by finishing in 5th place and equaling his personal best (5’10”).
Another sophomore, Sofia Bailey, had a very solid opening meet in winning the open 400 (61.51) and placing second in the 300 hurdles (49.08). Senior hurdler Janelle Ingram also placed 2nd in her specialty, the 100 hurdles (16.33). Lastly, junior sprinter Sophia Alexander opened her season by placing 3rd in the open 100 meters (12.81)…. Just .14 ahead of teammate Kali Hatcher who placed 4th.
Other praiseworthy performances came from: sophomore Amelia Tremain, whose practice and dedication to the hurdles was evident on Saturday as she ran huge lifetime bests in both the 100h (17.85) and 300h (50.66); freshman Olivia Lawson who fought her way to a very impressive 1600 (5:56) – 800 (2:42) distance double: and freshman Jordan Cornet in the 400 & 300h.
In all, despite being without several headline athletes, the Panthers performed quite well according to coach Jay Lawson. “I was a bit apprehensive coming into today. For several different reasons, our training has been inconsistent and sporadic so far. This meet shows me, and more importantly shows the athletes, where they are and what they still need to work on. Now it’s time to start getting some work in.”
2018 Season Outlook: A Q&A with the Coaches
The Saint Mary’s Track & Field 2018 season officially begins on Saturday, February 24th when the Panthers travel to the 14th annual Skyline Invitational. The 2018 Panthers return several athletes who rank at or near the top of the NCS and the entire state. Along with these headliners, the 2018 team will feature many talented, hard-working up-and-comers who hope to garner much individual success while also contributing to the team’s storied success. Coaches Jay Lawson, Jeff Rogers, Denis Mohun and Jonathan Heuer shared their thoughts on their event groups as the season nears.
Jay Lawson – Sprints/Hurdles/Relays
What is the outlook and mindset of the coaches and athletes coming into the new season?
I’d say this year, like most years, there’s a combination of what we know, what we think we know, and what we have no idea about. We know, for example, that we have some athletes that will have dominant seasons; we can also say, based on past performances and expected rates of improvement, that we have some kids that should have solid seasons. Then, of course, we have new faces that we don’t really know about. So, this season, like most will be a mix of realistic expectations and hopeful anticipation.
O.K., so what do you know? In other words, who are you expecting to have big years?
First and foremost will be our returning state meet medalist: Kali Hatcher and Malcolm Clemons. Both of them are super-talented and both should be in contention for top Nor-Cal and/or state meet billing. Kali finished 2nd in the triple jump and 6th in the long jump at the state meet a year ago and returns as one of the top horizontal jumpers in the country. As a senior, we expect that she’ll enjoy plenty of success.
Malcolm, like Kali, was a state finalist in both the long and triple jumps a year ago as a freshman! He’s already won the Husky Indoor Invitational long jump this year… breaking the meet record and establishing his PR at 23’3½. So, I’d say he and Kali will headline our team.
After those two, Janelle Ingram (100h), Sophia Alexander (100, 200) and Sofia Bailey (300h, 400) look like they have a chance to make some noise on the section level. For the boys, David Watts (400) and Trenton Johnson (100, 200) will be the anchors of our team. David is our defending league champion and Trenton is our fastest returning sprinter. In my event areas, these are the athletes most likley to grab the headlines. But, as I’ve said before, sometimes what you think you know isn’t always how it ends up. There maybe some kids who come from nowhere to steal the show. As coaches, we hope there’s things we still don’t know.
For the past several years, the girls 4 x 400 team has been dominant. Can we expect to see the same from again in 18’?
I’d be surprised if our relay team wasn’t solid again this year. We return both Kali and Sophia from last year’s team. Sofia Bailey looks like she’s ready to step in and take a spot and after that we’ll have to wait and see. Xandra Kirkman, freshman Jordan Cornet, Lauren Goode, or even Kaia Gant-Hatcher could be the one’s to watch. As we go through the season it usually becomes evident who will end up on the team.
Speaking of newcomers, are there any who may take a big step forward this year?
Well, I already mentioned Jordan (400, 800) and Kaia (sprints), but we also have freshman Di’Niko Bates (hurdles) and Brandon Bazile (400, 300h)… both who have competed in track in the past. As far as newcomers go, they’re a few I know about. I’m sure there will be a few others…. especially in the field and distance events.
Are there any other people or events we should watch for in 2018?
I’d say to watch for the overall improvement of our team. We usually get a slow start because of our schedule, our winter sports athletes coming out late, and Enrichment Week. However, by late March or early April we should get rolling. I’ll let the field event coaches talk about their event areas, but keep your eye on them. They have a really good mix of experience and youthful talent that maybe the strength of our team this year.
Jeff Rogers – Jumps
What areas are looking strong to you heading into the start of the season?
It’s hard to say since we have some pretty solid talent in all 3 jumps on both the boys and girls side. But, with Kali and Malcolm it would have to be the girls triple and boys long jump. Both of them have state meet medals from last year and both have big aspirations this year. So far, both look strong in the preseason and all signs point to them having championship-caliber seasons. Both, by the way, are good in both horizontal jumps.
You mentioned having talent in all 3 jumping events. Can you talk about some of the other athletes and their events?
Sure. Besides Kali and Malcolm, we have veterans Kobi Thompson, Janelle Ingram, and Cymone Rice lead our long and triple jumpers. All three of those girls are seniors, know our routine and have scored league and NCS-area points. Kobi is also a good high-jumper who we’ll rely on this year. Add in Lydia Howard (who made it all the way to the Meet of Champions as a freshman last year), junior Isabel Ulch, and freshman Simone Rogers and we have 4 girls who all cleared 5’0” or better. With some improvement, that group could be formidable.
On the boys side, senior Robert Wood is a multi-talented athlete who has done well in all 3 jumps in the past. Sophomore Zach Deering-Haddix and junior Josiah Robinson both look to climb over 6’0” and beyond this year. Add in junior Antoine Morales (LJ, TJ) and you have a group of boys that will score plenty of points for us this year.
How have the new athletes been looking so far through the fall?
I mentioned Simone already, who completely dominated CYO track in the high jump and should have a solid freshman season. There are also a few basketball players who have expressed interest in coming out and jumping so hopefully that will add some depth and potential to our roster.
Denis Mohun – Distances
What has you most excited about this group coming off the fall?
Generally, most of the runners have continued to run after cross country season ended in the fall so I like their energy and commitment. Their fitness level seems to be pretty good at this point and the leadership is tremendous. Genevieve Wiley, Katie Woelffer, Ben Jaffe and Zander Lieske have really taken a leadership role and that has me excited. Also, they’ve done a fair amount of weight training so I’m hoping the added strength and power will pay dividends.
Specifically, I’m looking for our upperclassmen to continue to improve and I’m hoping our younger runners will make a splash. I’m excited to watch Genevieve Wiley in her senior year. She’s also coming off a fine cross country season, where she was 1st team all TCAL. Gen’s tenacity and toughness will definitely rub off on the other, younger runners and that will serve us well. She should be our top miler and hopefully she can surprise even herself. I’m certainly a believer that she will have a great year.
Are there any others that are poised to reach a new level this year?
We graduated a lot of top talent last year but we have a lot of talent returning so who’s the next one that can have that breakout track season and can make it out of league?
Besides Genevieve Wiley, I’d say Katie Woelffer and freshmen Nan Wemmer and Olivia Lawson all have a chance to advance beyond league. Can they run a DMR at Stanford this year? How far under 6:00 can they run? That’s an exciting unknown that can only be answered with their will, toughness and dedication.
How did the underclassmen progress through the fall season and who could make some early contributions?
Obviously Ben Jaffe and Zander Lieske both have a running chance to make a splash. They were solid during the fall and look like they have a great chance of going sub 5:00 and much more. I’m hesitant to go any further with predictions for the younger runners. I’m really just hoping the entire group will feel the urge to keep running.
Jonathan Heuer – Throws
What are you most interested in seeing from your group in the early part of the season?
We’re just getting back into training and we have a few new faces this year so I am excited to see our returners’ progression from the last year. I think that the throwers know me well enough now to trust what we’re doing and commit wholeheartedly. This is my third year and in those 3 years the returners have come a long way, so I’m excited to see how much farther we can progress together. We have some really talented throwers and I’m excited to see them step into the ring this year.
What returners do you think will be difference-makers this year?
I think Gracie Arevalo, James Woo and possibly Sam Hines are going to take that next step this year. All of them had good years last year. For Sam and Gracie, they have plenty of experience and years of competition behind them. Both had impressive PR’s last year and hopefully our weight training and conditioning this year will pay big dividends. James is an incredibly hard worker who is going to have a good year in the discus. The Skyline meet is going to be a good indicator of where we are and what we need to gear up and focus on in training.
Where would you say the strengths will be this season?
I’d say the strengths will in the fact that as a coach I’ll be more aware of who they are and what they need and they’ll be much more familiar with me and my coaching style. Last season was still a learning year for me and them. This year, I know the talent level and the abilities of James, Sam, Ricardo, Gracie and the others. I know what motivates them, what drives them, and what we’ll need to work on. As a group, I think we’re excited.
Are their any newcomers or surprises we should look for this year?
Definitely. Freshman Ericka Marbley is talented and was really commited in the pre-season. Sophomore Jordam Mure is shifting over from the jumps to throw this year, which I’m excited about. Senior Chris Luhn is also coming out after basketball season is over and I think he has a chance to be really good. I’m also working on recruiting a couple of others to come out who I think are strong, explosive and powerful.