In French, his name means surprising and Eric Surprenant has been just that as a Lynbrook High hurdler this season.
The senior, who didn't qualify for the Central Coast Section finals as a junior, has the section's top times in the 300-meter hurdles and the 100-meter high hurdles.
Friday night he won both events at the 29th annual Top 8 Track and Field Classic at Los Gatos High. Surprenant got out of the blocks quickly in the 100 hurdles and won going away with a personal best of 14.53 seconds. In the 300, he ran 38.16 to win his race easily.
"I'm surprised by my times this year," said Surprenant, whose winning time of 38.09 last week at the Arcadia Invitational is the second best time in the state this year. "I've worked hard with my hurdles coach, Julia Widstrand, and that has really helped me improve. Winning at Arcadia gave me a lot of confidence because I was seeded sixth."
Today he will compete at James Logan High in the Bay Area Top 8 meet in both hurdles events so he can prepare for the two-day schedule at the State meet.
There were other standout performances Friday. Los Gatos' Colin Quirke underwent surgery on his right (throwing) shoulder in December after hurting it while playing football. But the reigning CCS champ easily won the shot put competition with a throw of 59-4.5.
"I haven't practiced at all - I don't want to put too much stress on the shoulder," Quirke said. "I'm just trying to ease into it. I'm hoping for some bigger throws at the end of the season." Another athlete on the road to recovery is Archbishop Mitty sprinter Thomas Reynolds, who is back after suffering a broken left femur while playing football in November.
Reynolds ran the second leg of the Monarchs 400-meter relay team a week after competing in a dual meet at Bellarmine. His 100-meter time of 11.5 is a half second off his best mark from a year ago. The Monarchs finished third (43.54) as Serra won the race with a time of 42.94.
"I did pretty well considering that I haven't run more than 60 meters in practice yet," said Reynolds, who has a football scholarship at Cal-Poly San Luis Obispo. "I'm definitely happy to be out here on the track again. The last six months have been really tough."
In the girls events - Leland sophomore Katie Nelms had an impressive meet, winning the 300 hurdles (44.45) in front of second place Nicole Sliva of Mitty (45.44). She also won the 100, edging Pinewood's Angela Gradiska (12.29) with a time of 12.24. Nelms was second in the 100 hurdles with a time of 14.99 behind Evergreen Valley's Golde Ibia (14.64). Gradiska won the 200 in 25.23.
"I got off to a great start in the 100 meters - I wasn't supposed to beat Angela, but I thought I got out of the blocks quicker than her," Nelms said. "But I wasn't too happy with my 300 hurdles race, I have a lot I can improve upon there. I'm pretty tired, but I thought this would be a good test because I want to qualify for state in as many events as I can."
The highly anticipated boys pole vault lived up to its billing as hometown favorite Nico Weiler of Los Gatos beat his own meet record by clearing 17-0.75. St. Lawrence senior Josh Cusick was second at 15-6.
By the time Weiler started jumping, the weather had cooled considerably and he was facing a headwind. It didn't seem to matter as the powerful German native wooed the crowd with an awesome display.
Weiler made a huge clearance in warmups and duplicated it with his winning vault, he then raised the bar to 17-6.5, which would have beat his CCS record set last year by a quarter inch. On his second attempt, Weiler cleared the bar, but knocked it down with his chest on the way down.
"I was happy with all my jumps," Weiler said. "I'm not quite consistent at those heights, but I'll get there soon."
Palo Alto's Mia Lattanzi, the top 800-meter runner in the CCS, ran the 1600 instead and won with a time of 5:00.71. Milpitas senior Luisa Musika won the shot put (39-4.75) and finished second in the discus (122-0) behind Santa Teresa sophomore Meagan McKee.
Los Gatos senior Kevin Rutledge won the long jump with a leap of 22-10.5.
"I was looking for a 24-footer today, but my legs weren't cooperating," said Rutledge, who also finished third in the high jump (6-4) behind Homestead's Steve Humer (6-6).
Janelle Coulter of Aptos cleared 5-8 to win the high jump. Kiersten Dolbec of Saratoga also reached 5-8. Aptos' Rylan Hunt pulled off the most impressive double of the night taking the 1600 meters (4:18.47) and the 3200 meters (9:28.03). He said he will only race in the 1600 at the CCS finals. Marquis Caldwell of Lincoln showed off his blazing speed, pulling off a sprint double by winning the 200 meters (22.55) and the 400 meters (49.38).