The Northern California Championship Trials are in the books and Merritt College Track and Field is moving on to the NorCal finals this coming Friday with strong showings across the board. Both the 4x100m relay and 4x400m relay teams advanced to the final 9 which is always nerve-racking and satisfying because the precision and teamwork of the relays often impacts all the rest of the individual performances (dramatic videos below).
The top 4 finishers this coming Friday will advance to the state championship in their respective events.
- 4x100m relay--Jaymes Hart, Kwaku Owusu, Chaison Wesley and Anthony Coleman
- 4x400m relay-Kwaku Owusu, Christian Bardell, Erik Erdiakoff and Anthony Coleman
On the individual side, here are the results with a few videos below:
Isela Ochoa made the 100h and 400h finals with top times at the trials in both events including a new personal best in the 100 hurdles.
Amelia Liao will compete in the 100h final with a heat win and a new personal best of her own (and second fastest overall next to Isela).
Bianca Townsend made the discus final.
Chaison Wesley made the 100m and 200m final
Kwaku Owusu will compete in the 400m with the fastest trial time and also in the 200m with the second fastest trial time.
Anthony Coleman, defending state champion in the 400m, made the final as the 5th seed this year as he looks to grind his way back to state.
Christian Bardell also made the 400m final and is determined to achieve his best performance at the finals.
Paul Randall will compete in the high jump as he looks to return to the state championship after last year's 6th place performance.
Last, but not least, Josiah Crochet will compete in the steeple chase final, a race that consists of 7.5 laps, 28 hurdles and 7 water jumps.
There is so much pressure at these championship meets. It's all a creation of course and there is no life and death on the line but it sure feels like it! Our students have given their all for so many months and many have trained for years with Merritt for these few short moments. I must say my heart is absolutely in my throat throughout. I don't even like typing this out for fear of a jinx but I just want to give a feel for what it's like at this time of year. Many of our students are aiming for scholarships and their performances are a big factor in whether they receive additional dollars to help fund their education. In the last two weeks, I have consoled a couple of students crying tears of agony over outcomes on the track. As an example of external pressures, Christian Bardell received regular admission to Cal Berkeley but keeps fighting for an athletic scholarship that might help fund his education. Of course, we know all the daily challenges our Peralta students face and I'm just so impressed at our students' focus, determination, support for each other and resilience in the face of adversity. In two weeks, many will walk the stage at the Paramount and head off into the next chapter of their journey. I'm so appreciative of our college and district for making this college experience one that our students will remember for a lifetime. They have built lifelong friendships, learned valuable skills and added additional life armor and discipline that academic rigor develops. At some point sooner or later, track and field has to end, but these students are ready to move on and up in the world. For now, let's get to state!