After his team won the first Central Coast Section boys track and field championship in school history and tied for sixth at last year's state meet, Palo Alto coach Jason Fung had high hopes for the future. He talked about wanting to win a state title this year.
But that was with the expected return of sprinter E.J. Floreal, a double-winner at CCS who placed in the 100 and 200 at the state finals. Floreal moved to Kentucky when his father, former Stanford track coach Edrick Floreal, took the job at the University of Kentucky.
"Why dwell on what could've been?" Fung said. "Move on, focus on the kids you have."
And those kids are doing quite well. Even without Floreal, Palo Alto has the fastest 4x100 relay time in the CCS this season at 42.31 seconds. Junior Nick Sullivan has the fastest time in the CCS in the 400 at 48.67.
A state title is probably out of reach without Floreal, but a repeat at the CCS finals is in the realm of possibility.
"You need a lot of things to fall into place, like they did last year," Fung said. "We'll definitely give it a gallant effort."
Many of the top performers in the CCS will take part in the CCS Top 8 meet Friday at San Jose City College. Field events start at 3 p.m., running events at 4:30.
Piedmont Hills won its first CCS girls track and field title last year, thanks to a group of sprinters that scored all the team's points, winning both relays, going 1-2 in the 400, 2-4-5 in the 200 and taking third in the 100.
That entire group -- Ellisa Bryant, Timarya Baynard, Alex Diaz and Bianca Bryant -- is back this season and running well. But Los Gatos, with high jump state leader Madeline Fagan (5 feet, 103/4 inches), CCS cross country champion Danielle Katz in the distances, CCS-leader Greta Wagner in the pole vault and a group of sprinters that has recorded the fastest 4x100 time in the CCS so far, could give the Pirates a serious run for the team title.
Westmoor's Kylie Goo, like Fagan, is a state leader in her best event, the 800 meters (2:11.49). Last week, she was a quadruple winner in Westmoor's dual meet with Sequoia, winning the 400, 800, 1,600 and 3,200.
Top 8 entrants from local schools with CCS-leading marks in their respective events include Goo, Fagan, Wagner, Sullivan, Homestead's Joseph Ilaoa (boys discus), Wilcox's Marisa Kwiatkowski (girls triple jump), Archbishop Mitty's Matthew Wong (boys long jump and triple jump) and Mills' Sabrina Mendoza (girls shot put).
That list also includes Leigh's Casey Buck (girls long jump), Notre Dame-San Jose's Juliana Mount (girls 300 hurdles), St. Francis' Khalid Johnson (boys 100), Harker's Sumit Minocha (boys 200), Milpitas' Yohaness Estifanos (boys 3,200) and St. Francis' Marc Toney (boys pole vault).