Girls track and field athlete of the year

Julie Dufresne, Harbor

When Julie Dufresne was asked what she would remember about her senior season at Harbor High, she didn't have to think twice.

``Being trained by Al,'' she said of Al Feuerbach, the former world-record holder and two-time Olympian in the shot put.

Before Dufresne met Feuerbach this spring, she was already a Central Coast Section champion in the shot put. But under his watch, she went from being the best in the section to the best in the state.

The results were immediate.

In her first meet of the season, Dufresne beat her previous best throw by two feet.

``We instantly clicked,'' Dufresne said. ``We're both pretty mellow.''

Dufresne knew she was onto something when she won the shot put at the K-Bell Classic at Los Gatos in March with a throw of 44 feet, 2 3/4 inches. And at the CCS finals, Dufresne shattered the previous section record by 2 1/2 feet, launching the shot 50-7 1/4. The throw marked an eight-foot improvement from the previous season.

But the best was yet to come.

A week later, Dufresne's throw of 47-7 1/2 won her the state title.

``I never would've dreamed that in a million years,'' said Dufresne, who will attend Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo in the fall.

-- Dylan Hernandez

Scott Robinson, Santa Clara

Boys track and field athlete of the year

Scott Robinson, Santa Clara

Scott Robinson finished second at the California Interscholastic Federation state meet in the 300-meter hurdles, but he doesn't intend to specialize in the event at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. He wants to be a decathlete.

Juggling events will be nothing new to Robinson, who was on Santa Clara's swimming and track varsity teams during the spring season of his freshman year. One day, Robinson said, both teams had dual meets against Wilcox on the same day at the same place. Robinson competed in four events in each meet.

``I was going back and forth all day,'' he said. ``But I set PRs in most of the races.''

Robinson dropped swimming as a sophomore and got out of the water altogether as a junior, quitting water polo in favor of cross country. The decisions paid off, as he won the 110 hurdles and was third at the Central Coast Section finals in 2004.

To prepare himself for his college ambitions, Robinson tried a variety of events this season, competing in the triple jump, 800 and 200. He even tried the pole vault.

But when it came time to get serious, Robinson stuck with the hurdles. Though he was fourth at the CCS finals in the 110 hurdles, the endurance he gained over two seasons of cross country helped him capture the title in the longer event. He went on to finish second at state in the 300 hurdles in a personal-best 37.88 seconds.

-- Dylan Hernandez

Ghosh, Lynbrook

Girls swimmer of the year

Nilasha Ghosh, Lynbrook

Lynbrook High junior Nilasha Ghosh hasn't been to India since she was 4 years old. Though it's swimming that has kept her away, it's swimming that may bring her back.

Her parents, Indian immigrants Mridul and Krishna, both biochemists, have been unable to visit their homeland because of their daughter's busy swimming schedule. But Nilasha has considered pursuing a spot on the 2008 Indian Olympic team.

India had one female swimmer in the 2004 Athens Games -- Shikha Tandon, who raced in the 50-meter freestyle and 100 free. Ghosh specializes in other events, but her times in the 100 free were comparable to Tandon's.

Of course, Ghosh is only 16, and there appears to be plenty more to come.

``The overall goal is to go the Olympics,'' Mridul said. ``Right now, it seems a farfetched goal. But she has the potential.''

Ghosh was the only swimmer to set a meet record at the Central Coast Section championships, winning the 100-yard butterfly in 54.35 seconds to break a seven-year-old mark. That came after winning the 200 individual medley (2:01.86).

But records are nothing new to Ghosh. After growing up in Flower Hill, Md., she still holds seven individual age-group records with the Curl-Burke Swim Club and eight with the Rockville-Montgomery. Since moving to the West Coast three years ago, eight with De Anza Cupertino Aquatics. Combined with the four records she set at Lynbrook this season, Ghosh owns 27 club or school individual records.

-- David Kiefer