Cougar, Falcon runners gear up for CCS

Courtesy photo

The Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League track and field finals took place this past Saturday and, for Scotts Valley and San Lorenzo Valley high schools, several of their runners' seasons will continue at the Central Coast Section finals on May 24 at San Jose City College.

For Scotts Valley, junior Hayley Herberg qualified in four events for CCS, taking first place as the anchor in the 4x100 and the 4x400 relays. She also finished in first place in the 400 and took second place in the 200. The top-two finishers, as well as those that meet the qualifying standards in each event, qualify for CCS play.

"It's pretty exciting to see her compete and succeed at this level," said Scotts Valley coach Jeremy Ball. "To see her pull it off consistently, and do it in multiple events, shows quite a bit of physical and mental maturity. It makes coaching a whole lot of fun to see someone reach the potential they have."

The Falcons also swept the pedestal in the triple jump, sending Lexi Stevens and Lola Strbac to CCS in the process.

Madi Volk will compete in the shot put at CCS, after taking second place at the SCCAL finals along with Valerie Morrison, who took second in the 3,200.

On the boys' side, senior Cody Giguiere will compete at SJCC after qualifying in three events. He finished first in the 400, and second in both the 200 and as the anchor of the 4x400 relay.

A team captain, Giguiere has led by example all season, according to Ball.

"The leadership and camaraderie that he's brought to the team has been extremely valuable," Ball said. "We'll miss him dearly when he goes off to college."

Scotts Valley will also send two to compete in the 3,200, with Nick Heath and Luke McCartney finishing first and second at the finals.

Junior Draven Hawk took first place in the 800 as well.

"Distance races in Santa Cruz County are a prized possession," Ball said. "When we have someone who ends up winning the 800, it's a pretty big deal."

For the Cougars, senior Anna Maxwell dominated in the long-distance events. The defending state champion in the 1,600, Maxwell took first place in both the 1,600 and 800. She also took first place in the 3,200, but has opted not to compete in that race.

"She decided she wanted to do something different this year," SLV coach Rob Collins said. "Anna's done a lot for this program, this school and the area. She's earned the right to make her own decisions, and I completely support her 110 percent."

Maxwell, who will attend the University of Washington in the fall, is ranked No. 1 in the state in both the 800 and the 1,600. She's also the top-ranked 1,600 runner in the United States. Maxwell is ranked in the top-10 in the country in both the 800 and the 3,200.

Senior Abby Sherman qualified for CCS in the 1,600. Sherman didn't compete in 2013 season due to a cyst in her knee but has succeeded this season. Sherman will run for the University of Portland in the fall.

Not to be outdone, freshmen Abbey Meck and Cassie Ackerman also qualified for CCS in the 3,200 and the high jump respectively. Meck ran a 11:22 (personal record) to qualify while Ackerman cleared a jump of five feet to make the trip to SJCC.

"I'm really proud of the freshmen girls," Collins said. "It was great to see them as freshman to qualify for CCS, they are very talented. They're going to have a great future ahead of them."

On the boys' side for SLV, senior Jacob Hicks took second in the 800, earning a chance to compete at SJCC. He ran a personal record of 1:59:01. Hicks will run next year for Portland State Univeristy.

"We felt his best opportunity to qualify for CCS was in the 800," Collins said.

Other runners heading off to college include Claire MacMillan (University of Utah) and Jessica Germany (Long Beach State) who signed national letters of intent in early February.

With CCS on the horizon, Collins is optimistic about his team's chances to compete.

"Like Scotts Valley, it's time to do what we can to represent our league well."

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