All-Mercury New Track & Field - 2003

Allicia Follmar, Saratoga

Girls athlete of the year,

distance runner of the year

At the beginning of the season, Alicia Follmar told coach Peter Jordan she would win a CCS title. It was meant as a joke. But by the end of the season, the sophomore not only had a CCS crown, but she also was wearing a state championship medal, the first Saratoga girl ever to do so.

Follmar developed a love of running from her mother, Debbie, who has run six miles a day for the past 30 years. Though Follmar showed promise as a freshman, it was the support of her late coach, Marshall Clark, which allowed her to unleash her talent. Clark convinced Follmar she was capable of greatness and, consequently, Follmar developed a self-confidence that manifested itself into a devastating finishing kick, which she used to win the state title in the 1,600 meters (4:51.47).

Nik Kay, Los Gatos

Boys athlete of the year, thrower of the year

The conclusion most come to about how Nik Kay can throw a discus farther than anyone in the state is strength. How else to explain his toss of 204 feet, 10 inches, which broke a 33-year-old Central Coast Section record, and his series of four throws of over 203 feet when no one else in the state broke 192?

But that's not the whole story. Kay, a 6-foot-7, 255-pound senior who didn't throw until his sophomore year, doesn't lift weights and may not be able to crack 200 pounds in the bench press. His ability, however, runs much deeper than muscle.

``What you're seeing is a bona fide athlete,'' said Kay's coach, Ron McKee, of the state champion. ``You're seeing a potential Olympian.''

Kay will attend West Valley College in the fall and hopes to become eligible for a Division I program.

Jacob Evans, Aptos

Distance runner of the year

Former San Jose State standout Dan Gruber has coached a state champion (Gary Passanisi) and junior national medalist (Brett Gotcher), but he said Evans, a junior, may be even better because of his rare combination of toughness, dedication and speed. Evans, the son of 1969 CCS 180-yard low-hurdle champ Jim Petralia of Fremont, has the third-best time in the state in the 1,600 (4:11.09) and fourth-best in the 800 (1:52.85).

Ronnie Drummer, North Salinas

Sprinter of the year

The chances of another Alvin or Calvin Harrison at North Salinas seemed remote. But consider that 10 years ago, future Olympic gold medalist Calvin Harrison won the state 200-meter title in 21.12. This year at the same meet, Drummer ran 21.16. Drummer, a junior, won the 100 and 200 titles at the CCS meet and placed fourth and second, respectively, in his third state meet.

Will Faules, Homestead

Hurdler of the year

Following his success as a running back, Faules makes his second All-Mercury News team of the school year. Faules, a senior, was dominant in CCS competition, sweeping the hurdles at the section meet. Even with a season-best 38.75 at CCS (14.56 was his best in the highs), he lost momentum by chopping his steps. It seems the perfect race is still to be run if Faules chooses to pursue it.

Joel Tuosto, Greenfield

Horizontal jumper of the year

Tuosto, a junior, won the CCS title in the triple jump to become his school's first section track champion. He went on to finish fourth in the state with a jump of 48-10. If Tuosto can match technique with talent, his senior year should be incredible. At the Mission Trail Athletic League finals, he fouled on all four long jumps, but the best, on a close scratch, was measured at a remarkable 24-5.

Fermen Smith, Prospect

Vertical jumper of the year

After failing to qualify for the state meet as a junior, Smith removed all doubt by winning the CCS title as a senior with a jump of 6-6. He broke a 13-year-old school record with a jump of 6-8 at the CCS trials and duplicated the feat at the state trials before finishing eighth in the finals.

Veronica Walker, Oak Grove

Sprinter of the year

Walker, a senior, competed in summer track clubs for years, but she credits her emergence this season to new Oak Grove coach Chioke Robinson, who instilled a mental toughness in her that had been missing. Walker, who lost a possible state meet berth by false-starting out of the 100-meter final in the 2002 CCS meet, swept the short sprints (100 in 12.06, 200 in 24.53) at CCS this year and earned a third state berth in the 400 relay.

Allie Miller, Los Altos

Hurdler of the year

Miller was the section's most complete hurdler, finishing second in the 300 and third in the 100 hurdles at CCS, and reaching state in four events, including the 400 relay and the high jump. It was her overall talent that earned the junior an All-Mercury News spot. She was third in the state in the high jump and her best of 5-9 was not only a school record, but an inch over her head.

Galina Becker, Mt. Pleasant

Horizontal jumper of the year

Becker won three events at the CCS meet and scored 36 of team champion Mt. Pleasant's 56 points. Take those points away from her team's total and Becker would have tied for second in the team scoring by herself. the sophomore went on to earn two medals at the state meet, placing fifth in the long jump and sixth in the triple jump.

Kirsten Loftin, Aptos

Vertical jumper of the year

Loftin capped her season with a mark of 12-4 in the pole vault to set a CCS record for the second time this season. Along the way, the senior captured her second consecutive section title, setting a meet record of 12-1. At the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League finals, Loftin's winning height of 12-2 bettered the winning height in the boys' competition.

Kelechi Anyanwu, Silver Creek

Thrower of the year

Silver Creek Coach Chuck Bean recruited Anyanwu, a senior, from his P.E. class and she became a success story by winning the CCS shot put title and placing second in the discus. Her late season emergence -- her bests are 43-2 and 133-11 -- caught the attention of college recruiters and Anyanwu now appears set on competing at Cal next season.