Unrelenting rivals

Shot putter James Lemus competes in his event Thursday at home

The scoreboard would say San Benito clobbered Gilroy High’s boys
and girls track and field teams Thursday.
Winning the boys’ dual 105-31 and the girls’ dual 85-34, the
Haybalers had more winners and more top finishers on a warm
afternoon at Garcia-Elder Sports Complex in Gilroy. What the
scoreboard would not say, however, is that San Benito drastically
outnumbered the athletes the Mustangs were able to put on the
track, as well as in the field events.
The scoreboard would say San Benito clobbered Gilroy High’s boys and girls track and field teams Thursday.

Winning the boys’ dual 105-31 and the girls’ dual 85-34, the Haybalers had more winners and more top finishers on a warm afternoon at Garcia-Elder Sports Complex in Gilroy. What the scoreboard would not say, however, is that San Benito drastically outnumbered the athletes the Mustangs were able to put on the track, as well as in the field events.

The result was a hard-fought meet that showcased respect from both sides and an unusual level of restraint as many of the best runners from both squads sat out several events in preparation for today’s Top Eight meet at Los Gatos High School.

The Central Coast Section’s top eight individuals in each event are invited to compete as a precursor to the Central Coast Section championships in May.

That’s not to say the two rivals in Thursday’s meet didn’t give everything they had.

“It’s not really like [the football rivalry] in track so much, but I guess at heart you always want to beat Gilroy,” San Benito boys coach Iran White said before adding, “but that wasn’t our focus this week. ”

White said the focus was on improving, and several events brought spirited efforts from competitors of both sides.

Peter Guenther scored one of five Gilroy victories on the boys’ side by setting a personal record in the 110 High Hurdles with a time of 15 seconds. He was flanked by San Benito’s Austin Schmidt and Evan McFadden, who finished in second and third with times of 15.38 and 15.4, respectively.

“I wasn’t expecting [to PR] but … with those guys next to me it was good to get that extra push out of me,” Guenther said.

A race that was even closer occurred in the girls’ one-mile race. Lady ‘Baler Courtney Allen finished in first with a mark of 5:20.22, less than a tenth of a second ahead of Gilroy’s Elise Ogle, who was clocked at 5:20.31.

“It was like that last year, too,” Allen said. “This year I knew it would be harder because I haven’t been able to PR, but it was a good race. She pushed me.”

Ogle admitted to being tired after the race but felt she might have been able to pull out the victory with just a few more steps.

“I like running against her,” Ogle said. “I’m getting better each time so I’m just glad I’m improving because I don’t want to peak until CCS. I thought I was too far to make up that last stretch, but five yards longer …”

In total, San Benito’s boys and girls each won 11 out of 16 events.

Gilroy coach Jeff Myers felt the outcome was expected but didn’t discount the strength of the San Benito program, which he noted was likely to win a Tri-County Athletic League championship this season.

“We knew they were going to outman us and we have Top Eight tomorrow so we tried to take it easy,” Myers said. “But the kids ran really hard today.”

Other Gilroy athletes that had impressive showings included: Derek Pesta, who won the 3200 and set an impressive PR while taking first in the 1600 (4:35); sprinter Travis Reyes, who set a PR in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.14; Stephen Heisey, who won the 200; Sarah Unadia, who recorded a PR in the 110 hurdles in 15.88; Kathleen Miller, who took the 3200 in 12:15; Julianne Leong, who won the triple jump and long jump; and freshman Taylor Shaut, who cleared five feet to win the high jump.

Leave your comments