It was a busy day for Gilroy's Peter Guenther, who sang the national anthem as part of a barbershop quarter before winning a pair of titles at the Central Coast Section track and field championships at Gilroy High.
After hitting the high notes in the anthem, Guenther won his first CCS crown by taking the 110-meter hurdles in 14.68 seconds. An hour and 20 minutes later, Guenther pulled out a victory in the race of the night, just edging Archbishop Mitty's Jeffrey Campbell in the 300 meter hurdles. Campbell closed the gap, and the pair were running side by side as they both stuttered before coming across the last hurdle.
At the end, both dived across the finish line scarring up their knees in a final lunge for the win. Guenther won in 38.16; Campbell finished in 38.20.
"That took so much energy I almost fell over the last hurdle," said Guenther, who will run at UC-Riverside next year. "I was just wondering what place I got when we were down on the track."
There were plenty of great performances. On the girls side, Katie Nelms dominated in the 300 meter hurdles (43.39) and finished second in the 100 meters and the 100 meter hurdles, helping to lead the Chargers to the first team title in school history.
Valley Christian junior Hannah Goranson edged Katie Nelms by running a personal best 14.27 in the 100 hurdles, winning by six-hundredths of a second.
"We were one lane apart; I wish we were right next to each other," Goranson said. "But I could feel where Katie was."
Nelms was also second in the 100 meters (11.95) as Pinewood's Angela Gradiska won in 11.76.
"I'm glad I won the 300; that's my race," said Nelms, who will probably drop the 100 meters at next week's CIF state meet at Buchanan High in Clovis.
Gradiska doubled up by winning the 200 meters (24.05). Willow Glen senior Nohe Lema ran away with the 1600-meter title, opening up a 20-yard lead after the first lap and never looking back. He won his first CCS track title with a time of 4:15.32. The Ethiopian native came to Willow Glen as a sophomore.
Santa Teresa's Meagan McKee, who was second in the shot put and fourth in the discus last year, won the shot put (42-111/2) and finished third in the discus to qualify for state in both events.
Mt. Pleasant freshman Cydney Leath looks ready to carry on the Cardinal tradition of track greatness. Leath won the triple jump with a mark of 39-4, the 10th-best jump in CCS history.
Another young star is Wilcox freshman Iesha Hardiman, who showed excellent form in winning the 400 meters with ease.
"I got out to a great start in the first 200 and tried to keep my composure down the stretch," said Hardiman, who also finished third in the 200 meters.
Oak Grove's Derek White won the discus with a throw of 162-09, edging Silver Creek's C.J. Nwuzi by four inches.
The Evergreen Valley girls 400 meter relay team (Jalisa Taylor, Char'dae French, Erica Arenas and Lia Randazzo) pulled off an upset, winning with a time of 48.89 to defeat St. Francis, Mt. Pleasant and Mitty.
The St. Francis boys 400 meter team (Anthony Andrighetto, Glyn Borel, Marty Manoukian and Phillip Depond) won with a sizzling 41.68 as the Lancers won the team crown.
Sobrato's Lance Wolfsmith won a 3,200-meter race that had three leaders on the last lap. Aptos' Mitch Moriarty led to start the lap before giving way to Garrett Rowe of Mountain View. But Wolfsmith surged to the lead with 250 yards left and held off Rowe, collapsing after the finish line with a personal-best 9:07.10. Rowe (9:08.17) was second, with Palo Alto's Philip MacQuitty third (9:10.93).
"I pushed it to my full maximum," said Wolfsmith, who will run at Air Force Academy. "My legs were done with 50 yards to go.''