Piedmont girls 1,600 relay team eyes state meet

By Glenn Reeves greeves@bayareanewsgroup.com Posted: 05/29/2012 05:31:00 PM PDT Updated: 05/29/2012 09:37:03 PM PDT The Piedmont Hills girls 1,600-meter relay team set a meet record at the Central Coast Section finals while ensuring the school's first team title. Now the Pirates get to test themselves against the best teams from Southern California at the state meet. Trials begin Friday at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Clovis. Piedmont Hills ran 3 minutes, 48.98 seconds at the CCS finals. That time is fifth-fastest among state meet entrants behind four teams from the Southern Section -- Serra of Gardena (3:46.83), Harvard-Westlake (3:47.19), Long Beach Poly (3:48.76) and St. Mary's Academy (3:48.93). "The advantage they have is to consistently get a competitive atmosphere to run in,'' Piedmont Hills coach Chioke Robinson said. "I'm real excited to see what it pulls out of us. We haven't been pushed.'' Ellisa Bryant, who runs the anchor leg on both Piedmont Hills relay teams, qualified in the 200 and the 400, placing second in both at the CCS meet. She will run only the 400 at the state meet. Bryant's best time in the 400 this season is 55.08, which puts her fifth in the state. Palo Alto sprinter E.J. Floreal is among the top boys sprinters in the state. His best in the 100 is 10.52. Khalfani Muhammad from Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks and San Clemente's Herbert Gamboa have run 10.51, the state's fastest wind-legal time. Floreal has run 21.16 in the 200. Muhammad has the top mark in the state at 21.10. Palo Alto's 400 relay team also placed itself Advertisement in the conversation by running 41.56 at the CCS finals, the fifth-best time in the state. "You've got to run your best race Friday night to get to the finals (Saturday),'' Palo Alto coach Jason Fung said. "At 6-4 E.J., is not the greatest starter. But you'd better get a good start against him, because he'll come get you.'' St. Francis junior Marc Toney took first place in the pole vault at the CCS meet by clearing a personal-best 15 feet, 9 inches. He is the son of Steve Toney, a state pole vault champion for Menlo-Atherton in 1986, when he cleared 16-2. "My goal is to be a two-time state champion,'' Marc Toney said. Homestead senior Rachel Bolton and Presentation sophomore Taylore Jaques qualified for the state finals last year in the girls pole vault and tied for seventh at 11-6. Jaques has cleared 13-0 this year and Bolton, the CCS champion, has cleared 12-10. Santa Margarita's Kaitlyn Merritt leads the state at 13-3. Mt. Pleasant's Cydney Leath is the top returning placer from last year's state meet. Leath took second in the girls triple jump as a junior, going 39-11?3/4. Last Saturday she won CCS at 38-11?1/2, which ranks No. 8 among qualifying marks. "Cydney wants 40 feet,'' Mt. Pleasant coach Steve Nelson said. "I just want her to go 39 at the trials and qualify for the finals. If she does that we can take it from there.'' Prospect junior Kamara Biawogi was clocked in 14.42 to win the 110 high hurdles at the CCS finals. That's the sixth-fastest qualifying time. Last year Biawogi made the 300 intermediate hurdles final at state as a sophomore. Monta Vista's Kevin Bishop had the 10th-fastest qualifying time in the 3,200 meters with his CCS-winning time of 9:09.57. Bishop ran 8:59.82 to place 12th at last year's state final. Westmoor junior Kylie Goo was the 10th-fastest qualifier in the girls 800 at 2:12.62. Mountain View's Samantha Sinclair, a two-time CCS champion in the shot put who placed fifth at state last year, will not take part due to a conflict with Mountain View's graduation.