Saving Best for last

Gilroy’s Bobby Best prepares to throw the discus at last week’s

– In his classic song

New York, New York,

Frank Sinatra croons,

If I can make it here, I’ll make it anywhere.

When it comes to high school track and field in this country,
the same can be said of the California state meet.
Gilroy – In his classic song “New York, New York,” Frank Sinatra croons, “If I can make it here, I’ll make it anywhere.”

When it comes to high school track and field in this country, the same can be said of the California state meet.

Four area athletes will be competing with some of California’s – and America’s – top track and field athletes when the qualifying round of the State Track and Field Finals kicks off this afternoon at Sacramento City College.

Gilroy junior Bobby Best (discus), Live Oak junior Cobbie Jones (800 meters), and Hollister seniors Todd Merrigan (pole vault) and Jesse Rice (400 meters) will all be participating in qualifying heats today. Field events begin at 2pm with the boys’ pole vault and the running events begin at 5pm with the girls’ 4x100m relay. Hollister junior Amanda Boyd won’t run the 3200 until Saturday, when the one and only race at that distance will be held.

Best, who is making his first appearance at the state meet, took third in discus at last week’s Central Coast Section Finals with a mark of 154-05. He’s seeded 20th out of 25. Best will have to finish in the top nine to advance to Saturday’s finals.

In the girls’ 800 meters, CCS runners hold the top five times at the meet and in the state, and Jones is one of them. The junior ran a PR and school-record-breaking 2:09.84 for fourth place at the CCS Finals. She’s seeded fourth – out of 32 runners – behind Archbishop Mitty’s Christine Whalen (2:09.59), Menlo’s Libby Jenke (2:08.70) and Saratoga’s Alicia Follmar (2:07.79). Follmar is also the favorite in the 1600. The winners of the three heats and the next five fastest qualify for the final.

Merrigan reached a height of 14-11.00 in the CCS Finals, good for the 12th spot in the field of 31 vaulters. If the Haybaler senior reaches any height higher than 15-00.00, he’ll break his own San Benito High record. Scott Roth of Granite Bay (Sac-Joaquin Section) is the favorite going into the meet, having reached 17-02.00 in his section finals, a foot-and-a-half better than the state meet record.

Rice clocked a 49.17 in the 400 at last week’s CCS Finals, which earned him a 15th seed in the field of 27. David Gettis of the Los Angeles City Section’s Dorsey High has the top qualifying time of 46.08. The top seed from each of the three 400 heats automatically moves on to the finals, as do the next six fastest times.

Boyd broke the 11-minute mark in the 3200 for the first time at the CCS Finals, and finished with a time of 10:54.86. She is ranked 16th out of 31 runners who made the 3200 state final. Everyone in the field will be chasing Gunn’s Tori Tyler, to whom Boyd finished second in the CCS Finals. Tyler runs a state-best 10:31.04.

Meet results will be posted in real time on the CIF Web site,

Headed to Sacramento?

You’ll want to hit the road early – the boys’ discus qualifying starts at 3pm. Here’s how to get to Sacramento City College by car:

Take 680 N to 80 E. Take Capital City Fwy/US-50 E toward Sacramento. Take the 15th Street exit. Turn right onto 15th St. Turn right onto Freeport Blvd. The college is at 3835 Freeport Blvd.

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