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NCS track and field finals: De La Salle sprinter pulls off upset, Clayton Valley senior gets emotional win

NCS track and field finals: De La Salle sprinter pulls off upset, Clayton Valley senior gets emotional win

DUBLIN — De La Salle sprinter Jaden Jefferson never beat Acalanes’ Paul Kuhner in a race before Saturday. 

The sophomore knew in order to upset the current state leader in the 100-meter dash, it was going to take a special performance. 

In what ended up being one of the tightest races of the night, Jefferson barely edged Kuhner as he took first place with a time of 10.46 at the North Coast Section Meet of Champions on Saturday. Kuhner finished the race in 10.50.

Jefferson’s time would have been a top-10 finish in the state, but a wind reading of 2.4 prevented that. 

“It’s just an honor to win NCS as a sophomore,” Jefferson said. 

Jefferson got off the blocks fast and didn’t give up the lead the whole way through. Kuhner made the race interesting in the end, but couldn’t get ahead of the De La Salle sprinter. 

“Paul’s a great racer,” Jefferson said. “He’s got long legs and he has good form, so I knew I had to keep the lead for the rest of the race.”

Later in the day, Jefferson upset another Acalanes standout. 

He finished the 200 in 21.39, beating out Acalanes’ Trevor Rogers who finished in 21.80.

“I knew Jaden was on my outside,” Rogers said. “I got a taste of his speed before and I knew he was going to be a hard guy to catch.”

De La Salle ended the night in first in overall team points with 53. Jefferson will be a favorite to win the both the 100 and 200 at the state finals next week. 

Jaden Jefferson of De La Salle wins the 100 meter beating Peter Kuhner with a wind-aided time of 10.46 at the NCS track and field championships at Dublin High School, Saturday, May 18, 2024, in Dublin, Calif. Jayla Addison of Carondelet places third. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group) 

Zoe Lahanas wins 800 after near-season ending car crash

There were serious questions about whether or not Clayton Valley’s Zoe Lahanas would step on the track again this season.

In March, the Cal commit was hospitalized after getting into a car crash. Lahanas was bedridden, not even allowed to go outside for two weeks. 

But after working her way back, the senior pulled off one of the biggest wins of her high school career by finishing first in the 800 with a time of 2.15.85.

“I didn’t even know if I’d be running now,” Lahanas said. “Everything right now is a privilege. It feels so good just to be out here again.”

Lahanas led most of the way, but was given a good push by Las Lomas’ Charlotte Orr and Carondelet’s Jayla Addison. Orr finished in second place in 2:16.54 and Addison clocked in 2:17.42 in third place. 

When Lahanas crossed the finish line, she sat on the infield emotional, realizing she had won the race. 

“I’m glad that mentally I was tough enough because now I can look back and smile at what happened,” she said.

Zoe Lahanas #2 of Clayton Valley leads the pack enroute to victory in the 800 meter run at the NCS track and field championships at Dublin High School, Saturday, May 18, 2024, in Dublin, Calif. Jayla Addison of Carondelet places third. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group) 
Zoe Lahanas #2 of Clayton Valley leads the pack enroute to victory in the 800 meter run at the NCS track and field championships at Dublin High School, Saturday, May 18, 2024, in Dublin, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group) 

Acalanes takes third in team scores behind big day from Rogers

Rogers had himself a day. 

The senior took second in the 200, anchored a first-place finish (41.65) in the 4×100 relay and won the long jump in 24 feet, 2 inches.

“I have to give 100% of the credit to the coaches,” Rogers said. “They worked us out really well. Everybody was able to run their events to full potential and that’s 100% the coaches.”

Acalanes fell behind early in the 4×100 to De La Salle and Pittsburg. Kuhner gave the Dons a boost in the third leg, making up some ground for Rogers to finish the race strong. 

In the last 100 meters, Rogers put his head down and sprinted as fast as he could until he could see the finish line. 

Acalanes just barely finished ahead of second place De La Salle which came in at 41.79.

“Everybody did their thing on their leg and got us in a position to win the race,” Rogers said.

Pittsburg runner finishes in first place to attend other plans

Pittsburg senior Milani Bell had one thing on her mind when she put her feet on the starting blocks: Making prom on time.

Bell came back to win the 400, finishing in 56.33. The senior stayed in the middle of the pack for a majority of the race, but finished the last 200 meters strong as she beat out second place Sadie Sanders from Montgomery by a tenth of a second.

“My mindset coming into this race was to get through it as fast as possible because I gotta go to prom,” Bell said.

After receiving her first-place medal, Bell made a beeline to the changing area and took off her track cleats as fast as possible. Her teammates cheered her on from the sidelines as she sprinted off the podium.

“I wanted to hurry and get this race over with, but it means a lot to me,” she said. “Last year, I didn’t do so well in this event, so I wanted to show what I was actually supposed to do. Also, I just wanted to prove to myself that I could do it and I did.”

Pittsburg took the girls team crown, finishing with 64 points.

Milani Bell of Pittsburg, center, wins the 800 meter dash at the NCS track and field championships at Dublin High School, alongside second place winner Sadie Sanders of Montgomery and third place winner Eden Enoru of Heritage, Saturday, May 18, 2024, in Dublin, Calif. Sadie Sanders of Montgomery placed second. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group) 

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Other champions

Boys

Triple jump: Bishop O’Dowd’s Brandon Rush, 47-00.50

4×800: Granada, 7.49.76 (meet record, eclipsing previous mark of 7:58.10 set by Clayton Valley Charter in 2023)

Pole vault: Pittsburg’s Khaliq Muhammad, 16-00.00

1,600: Dougherty Valley’s Arrin Sagiraju, 4:12.34

110 hurdles: El Cerrito’s Zion Shelton, 14.32

3,200: Albany’s Lucas Cohen, 8:56.42

4×400: Clayton Valley, 3:19.85

Khaliq Muhammad clears the bar at 14’ 8’ to win the boy’s pole vault at the NCS track and field championships at Dublin High School, Saturday, May 18, 2024, in Dublin, Calif. Muhammad continued to jump clearing the bar at 16 feet. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group) 
Zion Shelton, right, of El Cerrito heads to victory ahead of La’Ricoa Tezeno of Pittsburg in the 110 meter hurdles at the NCS track and field championships at Dublin High School, Saturday, May 18, 2024, in Dublin, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group) 
Arrin Sagiraju of Dougherty Valley wins the 1600 meter run at the NCS track and field championships at Dublin High School, Saturday, May 18, 2024, in Dublin, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group) 
Leighton Sproul of Berkeley wins the 800 meter run at the NCS track and field championships at Dublin High School, Saturday, May 18, 2024, in Dublin, Calif. Tamalpais’ Caeden Gardner was disqualified. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group) 

Girls 

Discus: Campolindo’s Pinkie Schnayer, 128-04.00

Pole vault: Pittsburg’s Jathiyah Muhammad, 14-01.00

Triple jump: Bishop O’Dowd’s Lanai Mitchell, 37-07.50

4×800: Granada, 9:10.30, (meet record, eclipsing previous mark of 9:25.91 set by Monte Vista in 2023)

Long jump: Acalanes’ Natalie Lyons, 18-06.00

Shot put: Campolindo’s Pinkie Schnayer, 45-02.50

4×100: Pittsburg, 47.49

1,600: Campolindo’s Shea Volkmer, 4:53.78

4×400: Monte Vista, 3:55.36

Shea Volkmer of Campolindo takes an early lead of Granada’s Sade Bumpus enroute to winning the 1600 meter run at the NCS track and field championships at Dublin High School, Saturday, May 18, 2024, in Dublin, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)