Watsonville High junior Katelynn Ruiz will compete in the 3200-meters race at the Central Coast Section Track and Field Finals at Gilroy High School on May 18. (Juan Reyes/The Pajaronian)

Watsonville High junior Katelynn Ruiz and several other local athletes are set to compete in this weekend’s Central Coast Section Track and Field Championships in Gilroy.  

The Wildcatz standout distance runner advanced in the 3200-meters finals after she finished in 11 minutes, 30.11 seconds during the semifinals at Gilroy High School on May 11. 

“I felt really confident in myself because of the amount of work I’ve been putting in and in my coaches, they’ve helped me a lot,” said Ruiz following a victory at this year’s Pacific Coast Athletic League Masters Meet on May 3. “I felt really supported throughout the race.”

The CCS finals will also be at Gilroy High on May 18 with field events beginning at 3pm. 

Ruiz set a personal record during the Masters Meet at Pacific Grove. It was the first record-setting finish since her freshman year. 

“I wanted to come back because I haven’t had too many good races, but I’m really happy that I could do this on my own,” she said. 

Apart from being determined, there was also a motivating factor.

Ruiz had been disqualified earlier that evening in the 1600 for a lane violation. She initially won the race, but then PCAL officials voided the result due to her stepping outside of the track. 

Watsonville head coach Rob Cornett appealed to the officials, who then reinstated Ruiz’s hard-earned victory.  

Ruiz has been running with an enormous amount of confidence throughout the 2024 season. She said most of it stems from the early-morning workouts and the support she receives on a daily basis. 

“[I’m] trusting myself more,” she said. “I’ve looked to God, more. That’s one of the key motivators. My dad’s helped me a lot. I feel a lot better here and trust myself, overall.”

During last week’s CCS qualifiers, Ruiz failed to advance into the 1600 finals after she finished 17th overall in 5:21.04. Monte Vista Christian junior Kylie Brunelli was right behind her in 5:21.98. 

Brunelli missed the cut by two spots in the 3200 after she finished in 11:47.19.

Scotts Valley High sophomore Ava Decleve (59.09 seconds) also barely missed the cut in the 400. She finished just behind Santa Clara High sophomore Siena Zylstra (58.40) for the final qualifying spot.

Decleve’s teammate senior Ashlyn Boothby, a Stanford University commit, advanced in the 800 in 2:16.77.

Aptos senior Ella Shoemaker advanced into the finals for both the 100 hurdles (15.66) and 300 hurdles (45.88), while San Lorenzo Valley junior Orea Pollock leaped her way into high jump finals with a mark of five feet. 

Ruiz said there’s always some nerves going into the CCS Championships, especially because there might always be someone better than most. 

“I’m excited to race with them again,” she said. “I’ve raced with a lot of them in competition. Maybe [I can] show them that I could do something.”

On the boys side, Aptos junior Logan Brantley had the third best mark in the shot put with a throw of 54 feet, 4 1/2 inches at last week’s CCS semifinals.

Aptos sophomore Brady Bliesner (2:00.16) and Scotts Valley senior Mason Lantz (1:57.27) both qualified in the 800. Aptos junior Vincent Sandford-Carroll (9:40.49) made his way into the 3200 finals.

Watsonville senior Ruben Mora saw his incredible season come to an end after he failed to advance in the 300 hurdles. He finished in 41.44 seconds behind Monterey High senior Isiah Bivins (40.79) for the final qualifying spot. 

Mora’s journey to get there was just as amazing, though. He almost missed his chance to compete in the CCS semifinals after a near scare during the PCAL Masters Meet.   

Mora tripped on the first hurdle during the 300-meters race, giving him a disadvantage from the get-go. However, he picked himself up and gained some ground to the lead of the pack for fifth place. 

“I was able to catch up and get fifth but still I had to fight for it,” said Mora at the PCAL Masters Meet on May 3. 

Mora also competed in the 110 hurdles and was a member of the 4×400 relay team. He said the season didn’t start off the greatest after trying to make the transition from wrestling in the winter. 

Mora was dealing with rib injuries during the CCS Wrestling Championships, blacking out at times on the mat. He was also dealing with a pulled left hamstring. 

“It wasn’t looking very bright. I didn’t want my senior year to end like this,” he said. 

Mora spent most of the track season recovering but the moment his left hamstring healed, he pulled the right one. 

“It felt like life kept trying to knock me down,” Mora said. “But, God gave me the strength to stand back up every time. It’s been an emotional roller coaster.”

CCS Track and Field Semifinals

Track Events



Monte Vista Christian junior Madison Bandy (13.69)



MVC senior Connor Pallott (23.29)



MVC junior Joshua Tepoorten (51.02)


Scotts Valley sophomore Ava Decleve (59.09)



Scotts Valley senior Mason Lantz (1:57.27)*

Aptos High sophomore Brady Bliesner (2:00.16)*

MVC sophomore Conor Gilliam (2:01.82)


Scotts Valley senior Ashlyn Boothby (2:16.77)*



Aptos freshman Sam Hansen (4:25.78)

Watsonville senior Giancarlo Mendo (4:30.37)


Watsonville junior Katelynn Ruiz (5:21.04) 

Monte Vista Christian junior Kylie Brunelli (5:21.98)

Aptos senior Rachel Hoops (5:30.09)

Watsonville Lizbeth Gomez Abrica (5:35.74)



Aptos junior Vincent Sandford-Carroll (9:40.49)*

Watsonville senior Giancarlo Mendo (9:55.39)


Watsonville junior Katelynn Ruiz (11:30.11)* 

MVC junior Kylie Brunelli (11:47.19)

SLV freshman Beth Gabrielson (12:36.06)

100 hurdles

Aptos senior Ella Shoemaker (15.66)*

110 hurdles

Aptos senior Eddie Lira (17.11)

300 hurdles


Watsonville senior Ruben Mora (41.44)

Watsonville junior Patrick Miller-Brown (43.70)

SLV senior Joshua Gabrielson (44.65)


Aptos High senior Ella Shoemaker (45.88)*

SLV junior Naomi Seastrom (48.48)

4×100 relay


Aptos (43.97)

MVC (44.60)


Aptos (49.83)

4×400 relay


Aptos (3:36.02)

MVC (3:40.25)

Watsonville (3:54.54)


Aptos (4:09.77)

Watsonville (4:26.87)

Field events

Triple jump


Aptos sophomore Ben Comilang (41 feet, 9 1/2 inches)

Watsonville junior Nate Aceves-Aguilar (41-6)

Aptos senior Carlos Gutierrez-Torres (38-6 1/2)


Aptos senior Ava Churchill (32-10)

St. Francis senior Aaliysah Gomez (30-8)

Mount Madonna senior Ona Musoll-Buendia (30-6)

Long jump 


Pajaro Valley junior Izaak Ocampo (20-9 1/4)

Aptos junior Casey MacConnell (19-9 1/4)


Aptos sophomore Ella Boyes (15-3 1/2)

MVC sophomore Ashley Drago (15-3) 

High jump 


SLV junior Orea Pollock (5-0)*

Shot put


Aptos junior Logan Brantley (54-4 1/2)*

Scotts Valley senior Lorenzo Gonzalez (40-10)


Aptos senior Tiana Smith (28-3)



Aptos junior Logan Brantley (133-2)

Aptos senior Tony Perez (133-1)


Aptos freshman Ellie Marta (90-7)

Aptos senior Ashley Matys (81-3)

Pole vault


Watsonville senior Joshua Murillo (11-00)


Watsonville junior Jayleen Arredondo (8-6)

*CCS finals qualifier

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A Watsonville native who has a passion for local sports and loves his community. A Watsonville High, Cabrillo College, San Jose State University and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alumnus, he primarily covers high school athletics, Cabrillo College athletics, various youth sports in the Pajaro Valley and the Santa Cruz Warriors. Juan is also a video game enthusiast, part-time chef (at home), explorer and a sports junkie. Coaches and athletic directors are encouraged to report scores HERE.


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