Final hurrah for LO’s Jones

San Benito High’s Amanda Boyd (16) competes in the girls’ 3200m

– At this weekend’s California Interscholastic Federation State
Track and Field Championships, Live Oak’s Cobbie Jones and San
Benito’s Amanda Boyd took their distance running skills all the way
to the finals.
Sacramento – At this weekend’s California Interscholastic Federation State Track and Field Championships, Live Oak’s Cobbie Jones and San Benito’s Amanda Boyd took their distance running skills all the way to the finals.

Jones, a junior, took sixth place in the 800 meters with a time of 2:12.66. Boyd, also a junior, ran a time of 11:15.41 to finish 18th out of 31 runners in the 3200 meter run.

Jones made the podium and left Sacramento City College’s Hughes Stadium with a medal, but it wasn’t exactly the one she wanted.

Her time was a second slower than her time in last year’s race, where she finished fourth with a then-Live Oak record of 2:11.83.

After the race, Jones had a smile on her face, but even the ever-cheerful junior couldn’t disguise the disappointment in her voice.

“I was slower this year,” said Jones. “But that’s running for you.”

Menlo School’s Libby Jenke, a senior and one of Jones’ top Central Coast Section rivals over the past three years, won the gold with a time of 2:10.39.

Not even a full second separated the second through sixth-place finishers. Freshman Kauren Tarver of the Southern Section’s Serrano took second with a time of 2:12.08 and sophomore Kate Grace of Marlborough, also in the Southern Section, took third with a 2:12.11.

“On Friday, she won her heat and on Saturday, she ran about the same time but she was sixth,” said Live Oak coach Dean Raymond. “The disappointing part, at least for me and probably for her, too, was that she was less than a second away from second place.”

After one lap, Jones was in third and led the pack that trailed Jenke and Tarver, who were leading the race. But halfway through the final lap, Jones dropped behind a few runners and didn’t have the kick to close the gap again.

“I didn’t feel too good,” said Jones. “I hit the wall and I was trying to hold on. I just tried my best the rest of the way.”

Even the junior’s usual meet-day breakfast of French toast and fruit couldn’t quite replenish the energy she expended in Friday’s prelims, where she won her heat with a time of 2:12.20.

“It’s tough. There’s only 24 hours rest,” Jones said. “I just thank God that he took care of me and kept me safe.”

Going into the state meet, the CCS was expected to dominate the event. After the May 27 CCS Finals, the top five times in the state belonged to CCS runners, including Jones (4th best) and Saratoga senior Alicia Follmar, who had the state’s best time of 2:07. But after qualifying for and competing in the 1,600 meter finals, Follmar was drained for her fourth race in two days and finished last in the finals with a time of 2:16.02. Of the CCS crew, only Jenke finished in the top five. Archbishop Mitty’s Christine Whalen didn’t even make the finals.

Though her high school track season is over, Jones doesn’t get to rest just yet. She’ll travel back to Sacramento this weekend to compete in the Adidas Golden West Invitational, an event that draws the top track and field athletes from across the country. Jones, whose 2:07 CCS Finals time is eighth-best in the country, will be one of 10 girls running the 800. She’ll even get a chance to test her mettle against Sarah Bowman of Warrenton, Va., who owns the nation’s top time in the event, 2:04.9.

San Benito’s Boyd hadn’t even planned on competing in the 3200 at the beginning of the track season.

“I was just doing it for endurance,” said Boyd after her race. “I started in the 800, then the mile, then the 2-mile.”

Still, the junior, who had been conflicted on how to approach Saturday’s race strategy-wise, regretted not being more confident and setting out at a faster pace.

“I didn’t go in with as much confidence.…I don’t know if it was (because it was) state or what,” Boyd said.

At the CCS Finals, Boyd broke the 11-minute mark for the first time and ran a personal best 10:54.86 to earn a spot in the state meet.

“It was a really weird race,” Boyd said. “At CCS, after running a 5:10 mile, I felt a lot more relaxed than with the 5:20 mile (I ran) today … I felt so confident that race.”

Boyd clocked a 5:26 first mile and had a large pack of runners – and gap in time – between her and leader Tori Tyler of Gunn, to whom Boyd finished second in the CCS Finals.

“I tried not to let (the pack) break away,” Boyd said. “I have to get up there (early in the race). I can’t really work my way up very well.”

Boyd said she wasn’t bothered when the race was re-started after Gillian Fitch of La Costa fell about 50 meters into the race.

“It was a packed 2-mile, but I expected it to be that way,” Boyd said.

The finish for the gold was a dramatic one. With about 300 meters left, Amanda Moreno of Escalon challenged and momentarily passed Tyler for the lead. Tyler powered back ahead of Moreno and kept the lead heading out of the last turn. As they headed down the final stretch, Lauren Saylor of Buchanan, who was in third, turned on the jets and surprised Tyler by taking the lead. But Tyler showed her strength by kicking into an even higher gear and crossing the line with the winning time of 10:38.90. Moreno finished second (10:39.85) and Saylor collapsed across the finish for third (10:40.14).

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