The Central Coast Section track and field trials are Saturday in what could be the start of one of the section's best postseasons.
It already boasts two state leaders and a two-time defending champion. Here's a quick look at some of the CCS's top contenders for a title or medal at the state meet, which is June 3-4 in Sacramento.
-- Alicia Follmar (Saratoga senior, 1,600 meters): The Stanford-bound runner is the section's best bet, considering she already has back-to-back crowns in 4 minutes, 46.47 seconds and 4:51.47, respectively. Both years she dueled current Stanford freshman Lindsay Allen, then at College Park, before out-sprinting the competition down the stretch.
Follmar has had a superb and consistent senior year, highlighted by the remarkable triple she enjoyed at the Hampton-Phillips Invitational at San Jose State, winning in season bests in the 1,600 (4:50.27) and the 800 (2:10.00), while running the 400 for fun in a pretty good time of 57.27. She is second to Oak Ridge's Alex Kosinski (4:49.26) on the state leader list, but figures to be able to drop at least another four or five seconds in order to become the third girl -- and the first from Northern California -- to win three straight 1,600 titles.
-- Khrystal Carter (Valley Christian junior, 100 and 200): Carter thrust herself into state title contention with a stunning performance at Saturday's WCAL meet, running 11.62 and 23.97, respectively, in the 100 and 200, which rank first and fourth in the state this season. Both were the third- fastest marks in CCS history.
"That's just how we had it planned," Carter said. "Now we just have to go a little faster. That was about a perfect race, though to win state, I'll probably have to get 11.5. I can get a better start."
-- Libby Jenke (Menlo senior, 800): The state leader was second at the state meet last year in 2:10.97, well back of then-Canyon senior Alysia Johnson (2:08.97). Jenke, who has signed with Duke, ran 2:07.47 in Idaho last month, the fifth-best mark in the country. A superb all-around talent, Jenke has run the Bay Area's second-best 400 (56.41) and she's among the CCS leaders in the 1,600 (5:07.69) and 200 (26.15).
-- Christine Whalen (Mitty senior, 800): If Jenke falters, Whalen, with the state's second-best 800 at 2:08.97, is ready to pounce. She is headed for Georgetown next season.
-- Evan Anderson (Menlo-Atherton senior, 1,600): Anderson recorded one of the Peninsula's finest triples over three days at last week's PAL Championships (see Athletes of the week). His best single-race performance came in the nationally acclaimed Arcadia Invitational in which he finished second in the mile. His converted 4:11.41 mark is third in the state behind Oceanside's A.J. Acosta (4:08.63) and Loyola of Los Angeles' Mark Matusak (4: 10.71). "That race (in Arcadia) gave me a lot of confidence," Anderson said. "But to win, it's going to take a heck of a race to beat those two guys. I'm not counting it out at all."
-- Pole-vault central: It's not likely any one will reach the heights of
Granite Bay's Scott Roth (17 feet, 1 inch), but four St. Francis athletes --
Casey Roche (15-7), Kyle Mills-Bunge (15-3), Ben Sheehan (15-0) and Chris
Chronis (15-0) -- have cleared 15 feet, along with Riordan's Joe Fazio (15-
6). Any of the five will be in position to place, as should female vaulters
Natasha Barthel and Taylor Franklin, both of St. Francis; Castilleja's Tori
Anthony, and St. Ignatius' Liza Lozovatskaya, all of whom have cleared 12-0.
CCS trials: San Jose City College, 9:30 a.m. (field events), 11 a.m. (running)
NCS Class A: Mendocino College, Ukiah, 11 a.m.
NCS Redwood Empire: Santa Rosa High, 9 a.m.
NCS Bayshore: James Logan High, Union City, 11 a.m.
NCS Tri-Valley: Liberty High, Brentwood, 9 a.m.
E-mail Mitch Stephens at email@example.com.