San Jose Mercury News - Thomas blows past CCS 100 hurdles record

Vashti Thomas has had her share of frustrating moments on the track, but Saturday's performance wasn't one of them.

Thomas, a Mt. Pleasant junior, smashed the Central Coast Section record in the girls 100-meter hurdles with a time of 13.46 seconds at the Stanford Invitational and beat a field that included the top two finishers from last year's state meet.

"I didn't think it would be that fast," she said. "Nobody thought it would be that fast."

Thomas broke quickly and kept her focus even as defending state champion Julian Purvis of St. Elizabeth smacked the third hurdle next to her and tumbled to the ground. Meanwhile, Thomas built a substantial gap over 2006 state runner-up Ke'Nyia Richardson of Holy Names all the way to the finish line.

The time, under wind-legal conditions, was the 19th-fastest in national high school history and fourth-fastest in state history. Thomas broke Undine Becker's school record of 13.85 (2001), the CCS mark of 13.72 by Monterey's Sani Roseby in 2000 and the state junior-class mark of 13.58 held by Nichole Denby (J.W. North, 1999) and Natasha Neal (James Logan, 1997).

Denby set the state and national high school record of 13.20 in 2000.

Valley Christian junior Dahlys Marshall was third in 13.90 (the No.6 time in CCS history), and 2006 state finalist Golde Ibia, a junior from Evergreen Valley, was fourth in 14.16 (No.8 all time).

Mt. Pleasant Coach Steve Nelson tried to keep the early season mark

in perspective.

"It's a great sign," Nelson said. "But if I could give it up for a state or junior national championship, I would. It's just a check to see where you are."

But even Nelson couldn't hide his enthusiasm when the time flashed on the scoreboard.

"Damn," he yelled, followed by a pump of the fist.

Thomas said she has been motivated somewhat by her struggles in the state meet the past two years. She false-started as a freshman and had to scratch from the hurdles as a sophomore after twisting her ankle in the 400 relay.

Her personal record before this weekend was 14.16, set as a freshman, a time she crushed with a 13.81 in Friday's trials.

"She's doing very well because she's focused," Mt. Pleasant hurdles coach Angela Hill said. "She's mentally prepared herself to be a lot better."

Long after she had crossed the finish line, Thomas couldn't sit still.

"No one's going to break that record," she said with a smile.

Sophomore Justine Fedronic set a Carlmont school record by winning the 1,600 in 4:55.29. Teammate Brad Surh, a junior, won the boys' race in 4:14.31, the fastest in the state this season.

Bellarmine's Thomas Phillips won the 400 hurdles in 54.66, ahead of Los Altos' Eric Hersey (55.37), who also was second in the 110 highs.

Los Gatos junior Kevin Rutledge won the high jump at 6 feet, 6 inches, and Archbishop Mitty's Drew Gordon, a week removed from a state championship basketball game, was third in the discus with a section-best 175-8.