TRACK: Soares, Sandoval set for state meet

While senior classmates were busy rehearsing for tonight’s Gilroy High graduation, Jourdan Soares and Sarina Sandoval were on the road to Buchanan High School in Clovis – the site of the 94th annual CIF State Track and Field Championships.

The meet begins today and features California’s cream of the crop. Those who make it out of today’s preliminary heats advance to Saturday, where a spot on the podium and ultimately a state championship are up for grabs.

Soares took third in the 100-meter dash at last week’s Central Coast Section finals. His 10.97 qualifying time is No. 17 out of 26 in the state field. However, Soares’ personal best time of 10.66, which he posted last season but said he feels like could be possible to obtain again, would boost him up to No. 6.

Dylan McCloskey out of El Camino High School of the San Diego Section, comes into the meet with the top-seed time of 10.49.

Soares will also be in the 200, where his 22.07 qualifying time is No. 16 overall. He took second in that race last Friday. Soares is the school record holder (21.64) in the event. Notre Dame’s (Southern Section) Khalfani Muhammad has the fastest time – 21.10.

The top nine in each race move on.

“If I (get a personal record) in both, I will be happy,” Soares said last week.

Meanwhile, Sandoval, who extended her own school record in the shot put (40-feet, 00.5-inches) to place third at the CCS finals, is No. 18 out of a 28-person field. Tanya Sapa (La Sierra High – Southern Section) holds the top throw – 46-09.5.

After clinching her spot to the state meet, Sandoval, who is verbally committed to attend Sacramento State in the fall, was on the fence about missing graduation. However, she took the weekend to mull over the situation and decided to head to Clovis, GHS throws coach Brian Lopez said.

“She came to the decision on her own and I’m happy for her,” he said. “Practice went pretty much identical to the week prior to CCS finals, so she is pretty confident. Plus, considering the stage and that extra adrenaline she will have, we are hopeful she will qualify past preliminaries.”

The top nine distances advance to Day 2.