The 2019 track & field season ended appropriately on Saturday night with the quartet of Sofia Bailey, Sophia Alexander, Maddie Dwyer and Kaia Gant-Hatcher finishing 5th in the girls 4 x 400 relay at the California State Championships. From Friday’s preliminaries, the Panthers advanced to the finals in 5 events – both girls relays, the girls 100, girls triple jump and boys long jump – with the 4 x 400 squad earning the top finish for the Panthers.
“Our girls relay teams have been the strength of our team all season,” said coach Jay Lawson after it was over. “We have some very talented individuals, but collectively is where we are the strongest. California is a big state with a ton of individual talent. Our philosophy has always been that together we can compete with anyone. Our relay teams consistently prove us right. I’m really proud of our team and what they were able to accomplish this season.”
The girls 4 x 100 sprint, ranked between 16th and 20th coming in, pulled the first shocker of the meet by running a seasonal best 47.70 to grab the 9th and final relay spot into the final. The team, the same as the 4 x 400 team, finished 8th in the final.
UCLA – bound senior Sophia Alexander, already the fastest in school history, finished her Panther career as a California state finalist in the 100… running 11.91 in the prelims and 11.87 in the final to finish 8th.
Sophia’s younger sister, 9th grader Julia Alexander, finished her freshman campaign on a meteoric rise… jumping a PR 38’5¾” in Friday’s prelims to make the girls triple jump final. In the final, Julia bounded out to 37’10¼” to place 12th. Coaches reminded those watching that Julia began triple jumping in late February, jumping a PR 31’6” just 12 weeks ago.
Junior Malcolm Clemons, whose nagging hamstring injury re-surfaced after Friday’s preliminary round, made the long jump final but was unable to jump in the triple jump prelims or the long jump final.
Non-qualifiers from Friday included Sofia Bailey in the 100 and 300 hurdles, Zach Deering-Haddix in the high jump, Antoine Morales in the long jump, Sophia Alexander in the 200, and Amelia Tremain in the 100 hurdles.
“This season has equaled and even exceeded all expectations we had going in,” said coach Lawson after some thought. “We broke school records, won league, Bayshore and NCS championships, cultivated some incredible young talent, and set ourselves up to have as good or even better 2020. Hopefully our kids are excited about next year as we are. 2020 should be great.”