When Lynbrook hurdler Eric Surprenant broke his wrist at practice earlier this month, his dream season flashed before his eyes.
But the upstart senior kept right on running, and Friday night he punctuated his Central Coast Section title in the 300 hurdles by pumping his casted fist into the air on the Gilroy High Track.
Surprenant didn't even qualify for this event last year.
Now he is on his way to the State Track and Field Meet at Cerritos College next weekend after running a personal best time of 37.65, the fastest mark in the CCS and tied for second in the state this year.
"I've had that race in my head all year," said Surprenant, who also finished second in the 110 hurdles to Monterey's Mykel Block with a time of 14.59. "Next week my goal is to run another PR and to win a medal."
One of the most impressive performances of the night came from Oak Grove's Sebastian Sam in the 800 meters. Sam defended his title by running away from the field early, winning in 1:53.29.
"That's been my motto to get out front and stay out front," said the Cal-bound Sam. "I think I can go even faster next week with the competition level so high."
Los Gatos senior Colin Quirke repeated as shot put champion with a throw of 61-4. Mitty's Drew Gordon was second (58-0) and Oak Grove's Aaron Huck took third (53-9 1/2).
Quirke also won his first discus title (174-02), edging Gordon (168-0).
"I've been popping some big throws in practice, so I was hoping to go a bit farther," said Quirke. "My technique wasn't really clicking, but next week I'll have something to get pumped up about."
Los Gatos (54 points) finished second in the race for the team title to Monterey (65).
Wildcat senior Nico Weiler easily won the pole vault competition by clearing 17 feet; the question was whether he could beat his own CCS record by getting over the 17-7 height. Weiler nearly did it on his first two attempts, knocking the bar over on his way down.
"I'm looking forward to next week - we have the best field in state history," Weiler said.
Willow Glen's Mohamed Abdalla went for a brutal double - trying to qualify in the 1,600 and 3,200. He fell short in the 1,600, fading at the end to finish fourth in 4:18.35 as Carlmont's Brad Surh repeated as champ (4:11.24).
But the UCLA-bound Abdalla was impressive in the 3,200, running stride for stride with winner Diego Estrada of Alisal (9:06.51) before falling back to second with a time of 9:09.13.
After winning the long jump, triple jump and 100 meter hurdles, Mt. Pleasant's Vashti Thomas was understandably exhausted at the Central Coast Section Track and Field Meet.
But just 35 minutes after blowing away the field to win her fourth consecutive hurdles race in a meet record time of 13.52, Thomas ignored her aching legs and settled into the blocks for the 100-meter final at Gilroy High.
Thomas burst out of the blocks and quickly found another gear, winning the race going away with a time of 11.95. Leland's Katie Nelms was second (12.17).
"My calves were cramping since the triple jump, but I tried to stay focused," said Thomas, who has 12 career CCS track titles. Between her races, Thomas took a quick trip to the triple jump runway and popped off a CCS record 43-1 1/2, the best mark in the nation this year.
"That was a monster jump and I got it on my first attempt of the day - that saved me a lot of energy," Thomas said.
Valley Christian senior Dahlys Marshall was second in the 100 hurdles (14.13) and came back to win her first career CCS title in the 200 meters (24.52).
"It's nice to finally win one, I've been up against some tough competition with Jeneba Tarmoh and Vashti at Mt. Pleasant," said the University of Arizona-bound Marshall. "I got out to a good start and ran a strong first 60 meters, that was the key to my race."
Marshall's teammate Kristen Houp looked strong at the start and hung on to win the 400 meters (55.97) while finishing third in the 200 (24.85).
After losing to Mt. Pleasant for the team title three years in a row, Valley Christian broke through for the first title in school history - edging Mt. Pleasant 52-51. The Warriors needed to win the 400-meter relay to do it, and Marshall ran an outstanding third leg. When she took the baton she was in last, but handed it to Houp leading the pack. Valley won the race in 3:54.90.
"I didn't want to let the girls down, so I ran as fast as I could," Marshall said.
Palo Alto's Mia Lattanzi ran a tactical race to win the 800 meters, followed by Carlmont's Justine Fedronic (2:12.86) and Leigh's Jordan Diaz (2:14.65).
"I've been getting boxed in all year so I wanted to get out front," the Stanford-bound Lattanzi said. "I saw Jordan coming over my shoulder with 300 meters left and knew I had to start moving."
Milpitas senior Luisa Musika won her second straight title in the shot put with a throw of 41-5 1/2. She also won the discus (131-0).
Leland sophomore Katie Nelms had an outstanding meet, winning the 300 hurdles (43.11), finishing third in the 100 hurdles (14.30) and taking second in the 100 meters (12.17).