SANTA CRUZ—Monte Vista Christian senior Daniel Castillo was lights out in four events at the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League track and field championships, including a win in the 110-meter hurdles in 17.50 seconds.
His performance at Harbor High on April 24 was good enough to earn him the Bob Enzweiler Award as the highest point-earner with 24. Castillo said it was a high honor to earn the award because of all the hard work that he and the rest of the team put in during this shortened Covid-19 season.
“It’s really exciting to know that I really helped contribute today,” he said.
Castillo placed second in the triple jump in 38 feet, 4 1/2 inches, third in the 300m hurdles (45:01) and eighth in the long jump (18-08), which helped MVC win the team title with 116 points.
The Mustangs were followed by Aptos (90), SLV (66), Watsonville (65), Santa Cruz (51) and Scotts Valley (51).
“Coming into this meet, I knew it was really important and I knew I had to go all-out for us to win [the] league,” he said. “So, I really pushed myself today and the outcome was pretty exciting.”
MVC also received wins from seniors Andrew Bachman in the 800 (1:58.55), Justin Lomeli in the 400 (51.05) and Derek Brown in the discus (132-3).
The Mustangs joined the SCCAL just for this season after the Pacific Coast Athletic League decided it wasn’t a good idea for schools to compete across county lines due to restrictive Covid-19 youth sports guidelines set by the state.
Castillo said last year they had a high chance of winning the PCAL title and they fell short of bringing a banner home. But, he was expecting a lot of those same athletes to return this season and he knew they had a legitime shot of winning the SCCAL.
He also realized that being in a new league with different teams doesn’t mean they won’t compete just as hard as others they’ve been accustomed to.
Castillo said there was a different mentality going into this season, especially going up against some new faces. He credits coach Jeramiah Spears for strategically placing athletes where they needed to be in order to earn points each week.
“We knew we had to come out here and win everything we can as much as possible,” Castillo said.
Aptos High senior Ben Laughlin was the runner-up in the 1,600 (4:21.89) and 3,200 (9:29.53). He finished one second or less behind winner Jeremy Kain of Scotts Valley, who finished the 1,600 in 4:20.89 and the 3,200 in 9:29.47.
San Lorenzo Valley High senior Alex Castro-Neri is a first-year track athlete but he finished with three first place finishes on Saturday.
He won the 200-meter dash in 23.36 and he helped the Cougars’ 4×100 and 4×400 relay teams take home the gold.
Castro-Neri, who plans to compete at Hartnell College next year, ran the anchor leg for both relay races. He nearly won a fourth race but took second in the 400 (51.45), just behind Lomeli.
“My legs just gave up in the last 100 [meters],” he said. “In the first 300 [meters] I was doing really good but I hit the wind when my leg felt stiff.”
It was just the second time in his short career that he’s competed in the 400. Last year, he was involved in a dirt bike accident that left him sidelined for a month.
Then the track and field season was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Castro-Neri said his mindset was to win these races and he felt that he did an amazing job despite not sweeping his events.
“Unfortunately in the 400 [meters] I couldn’t [win], but I feel happy because I got second place and I feel happy for the guy [Lomeli] who won it because he trained hard for that,” he said.
Watsonville senior Jonathan Arroyo won the pole vault (11-6), Soquel senior Nathan Lapp (41-3.75) won the triple jump, and Aptos junior Wade Watson won the shot put (46-1) and placed second in the discus (130-8).
When: June 12, TBA
1. MVC, 116; 2. Aptos, 90; 3. SLV, 66; 4. Watsonville, 65; 5. Santa Cruz, 51; 5. Scotts Valley, 51.
100: 1. Caleb Womack, Santa Cruz, 11.51; 2. Jake Morris, MVC, 11.62; 3. Adan Rivas, Watsonville, 11.93.
200: 1. Alex Castro-Neri, SLV, 23.36; 2. Jake Morris, MVC, 23.60; 3. Justin Lomeli, MVC, 23.80.
400: 1. Justin Lomeli, MVC, 51.05; 2. Alex Castro-Neri, SLV, 51.45; 3. Brody Staley, Soquel, 52.24.
800: 1. Andrew Bachman, MVC, 1:58.55; 2. Austin George, Scotts Valley, 1:59.98; 3. Casey Crouch, 2:01.36.
110 hurdles: 1. Daniel Castillo, MVC, 17.50; 2. Jorge Guerrero, Watsonville, 17.76; 3. Jaime Haro, Watsonville, 18.37.
300 hurdles: 1. Troy Capela, Santa Cruz, 43.45; 2. Jonathan Arroyo, Watsonville, 44.00; 3. Daniel Castillo, MVC, 45.01.
1,600: 1. Jeremy Kain, Scotts Valley, 4:20.89; 2. Ben Laughlin, Aptos, 4:21.89; 3. John Eikemeyer, Aptos, 4:22.55.
3,200: 1. Jeremy Kain, Scotts Valley, 9:29.47; 2. Ben Laughlin, Aptos, 9:29.53; 3. John Eikemeyer, Aptos, 9:35.54.
4×100: 1. SLV (Nathan Beverly, Alex Castro-Neri, Joe Rosenquist, Noah Seastrom), 45.54; 2. MVC (Sage Oliver, Will Mesa, Justin Lomeli, Jake Morris), 45.71; 3. Santa Cruz (Troy Capella, Paulo Pena, Cesar Anya, Caleb Womack), 46.41.
4×400: 1. SLV (Nathan Beverly, Alex Castro-Neri, Casey Crouch, Joe Rosenquist), 3:32.89; 2. MVC, Andrew Bachman, Jake Morris, Sage Oliver, Justin Lomeli, 3:36.84; 3. Scotts Valley, Austin George, Gavin Abel, Patrick Goodrich, Jeremy Kain, 3:41.95.
High jump: 1. Sebastian Sanso, Santa Cruz, 5-10; 2. Koen Vandenberg, MVC, 5-8; 3. Sebastian Abonce, Watsonville, 5-8.
Pole vault: 1. Jonathan Arroyo, Watsonville, 11-6; 2. Giovanny Melgoza, Ceiba, 9-6; 3. Rylan Sampson, Aptos, 9-0.
Long jump: 1. Sebastian Sanso, Santa Cruz, 19-9.5; 2. Oliver Annon, Kirby, 19-9.5; 3. Lukas Rettenwender, Aptos, 19-8.25.
Triple jump: 1. Nathan Lapp, Soquel, 41-3.75; 2. Daniel Castillo, MVC, 38-4.5; 3. Jaime Haro, Watsonville, 37-1.
Discus: 1. Derek Brown, MVC, 132-3; 2. Wade Watson, Aptos, 130-8; 3. Octavio Morano, Mount Madonna, 129-9.
Shot put: 1. Wade Watson, Aptos, 46-1; 2. Octavio Morano, Mount Madonna, 44-6; 3. Holden Eldredge, Aptos, 40-11.