GILROY— The fastest and strongest boys’ track and field athletes from the Pajaro Valley flocked to Christopher High School on April 30 to compete in the Pacific Coast Athletic League Mission Division finals.
Monte Vista Christian senior Clayton King showed off his arm strength by snagging two first place finishes. He won the shot put with a throw of 44 feet, 0 inches and the discus (130-00).
“We wanted to come into today relaxed but at the same time we wanted to bring the most intensity we could, while also maintaining our balance,” he said.
King and other athletes who placed in the top five of their respective events earned a chance to compete in the PCAL Masters Meet at Gilroy High School on Friday at 4pm.
King said he was happy with the win but he wasn’t completely satisfied with his performance.
He was unable to beat his season-best mark of 150 feet in the discus that he set two weeks ago at the CCS Top 8 Meet in Los Gatos.
“Move your foot here, wait a little longer there,” he said. “It’s just the little things we can clean up and polish, take them into the next meet and hopefully do better.”
Fellow senior teammate Aiden Keegan won the 110-meter hurdles in 17.35 seconds and third in 300 hurdles (42.54).
Keegan credits some of his natural ability to his mother, who was a talented hurdler in her day.
“I’ve been training for hurdles. It is my first year doing it but it’s something I just felt comfortable with,” he said.
For Keegan, representing the Mustangs at the highest level possible motivates him rather than a passion for track events.
“I think it’s nice cause Monte Vista doesn’t go to CCS very often, and I’m definitely looking at a chance. I think that helps keep me going,” he said.
Watsonville sophomore Ruben Mora won the 300 hurdles (42.52) beating Keegan by mere milliseconds. Mora also qualified for the Masters Meet with a third place finish in the 400 (52.79).
Mora said the build up to a race can be nerve wracking, but the whole experience of competing is something he wouldn’t change at all.
“The moment I race, everything in the world goes away, my mind is just clear and it focuses on [the race],” he said. “It doesn’t matter what kind of physical mental spiritual pain I’m going through, the race just always clears my head. It’s a beautiful thing.”
Mora was quick to acknowledge all the types of support he’s received in his athletic journey, including from his coaches who convinced him to compete in the hurdles.
“My friends, my family and my loved ones are the keys to my success,” he said. “Honestly I’m just the one running but they’re the ones giving me the confidence and the speed to go.”
North Monterey County junior Gael Godinez placed second (2:04.47) in the 800 and fellow junior teammate Miguel Alvarado placed fourth (2:06.63).
MVC junior James Ponzio took second in the 3,200 (9:57.86), followed by Godinez (10:17.39) in third and NMC junior Irineo Navarro (10:18.49) in fourth.
Ponzio and Navarro also qualified for the 1,600, finishing third (4:36.29) and fourth (4:39.83), respectively.
Watsonville sophomore David Rocha-Vargas placed second (119-08) in the discus and fourth (38-03) in the shot put, qualifying him for Friday’s championships.
MVC senior Andrew Hendrickson qualified with a second place finish in the shot put (39.07).
Watsonville senior Sebastian Abonce placed third in the high jump with a jump of 5-10, earning him a spot in the championship.
Ceiba College Prep senior Giovanny Melgoza took third (11-06) in the pole vault, followed by NMC sophomore Jonathan King (10-06) in fifth.
NMC junior Aidan Ibarra placed third in triple jump in 37-08.50, and fellow senior teammate Jose Pastrana took fourth in discus (108-04).
MVC’s (Hudson Cortez, Connor Pallott, Nathan Hanson and Keegan) 4×100 relay team placed second in 44.87. Watsonville (Brambila, Adan Rivas, Dominic Coria, Mora) placed fourth in 45.19.
Watsonville (Brambila, Mora, Abonce, Rivas) placed third in the 4×400 relay in 3:35.37, while MVC (Cortez, Keegan, James Rose, Hanson) took fourth in 3:35.81.
Rivas also placed second in both the 100 (11.05) and 200 (22.64) meter dash. Both events were won by Stevenson School phenom Evan Johnson, who set a new school and Monterey County record in the 100 in 10.41 seconds.
Rivas said going into the race he was imagining how it would play out, and had his worries about going up against Johnson.
“I think [Johnson] being so fast helps me a lot, brings more out of myself, so that was good,” Rivas said.
Rivas recorded a new personal record in the 100, but he said he wasn’t completely satisfied. He said improvements to his start could help him shave off time and achieve his goal finishing under 11 seconds.
“I’m gonna try and do a lot this offseason,” Rivas said. “I’m just looking forward to putting in work again, to try and get faster.”
PCAL Masters Meet
Where: Garcia Elder Sports Complex, Gilroy High
When: Friday at 4pm
PCAL Mission Division finals
- Discus: (1st) Clayton King, Monte Vista Christian; (2nd) David Rocha-Vargas, Watsonville; (4th) Jose Pastrana, North Monterey County
- High Jump: (3rd) Sebastian Abonce, Watsonville
- Pole Vault: (3rd) Giovanny Melgoza, Ceiba; (5th) Jonathan King, NMC
- Shot Put: (1st) Clayton King, MCV; (2nd) Andrew Hendrickson, MVC; (4th) David Rocha-Vargas, Watsonville
- Triple Jump: (3rd) Aidan Ibarra, NMC
- 100: (2nd) Adan Rivas, Watsonville
- 110 Hurdles: (1st) Aiden Keegan, MVC; (3rd) Connor Lopez, MVC
- 200: (2nd) Adan Rivas, Watsonville
- 300 Hurdles: (1st) Ruben Mora, Watsonville; (2nd) Aiden Keegan, MVC
- 400: (3rd) Ruben Mora, Watsonville
- 800: (2rd) Gael Godinez, NMC; (4th) Miguel Alvarado, NMC
- 1600: (3rd) James Ponzio, MVC; (4th) Irineo Navarro, NMC
- 3200: (2nd) James Ponzio, MVC; (3rd) Gael Godinez, NMC; (4th) Irineo Navarro NMC
- 4×100: (2nd) MVC, (4th) Watsonville,
- 4×400: (3nd) Watsonville, (4th) MVC
For full results, visit https://www.athletic.net/TrackAndField/meet/443825/results