It’s not a mystery to Gilroy High track and field coach Art Silva as to why Mustangs senior Enrique Villanueva has become one of the top distance runners in the Central Coast Section.
“Enrique, I’ve had him for four years,” said Silva, who coaches Villanueva in both track and cross country. “He just runs with heart, every time. He could be a quarter-mile behind, but he’ll give every ounce of his body to try to catch up.”
Villanueva authored another memorable performance Thursday at Garcia-Elder Sports Complex.
Villanueva won three events to help Gilroy’s boys hold on for a 72-64 win over rival Christopher. Christopher’s girls ran away with a 116-20 victory over Gilroy. It was the first varsity dual meet in track and field between the cross-town schools.
Villanueva won the 800-meter run in 2 minutes, 15.9 seconds, the 1,600 in 5:07 and the 3,200 in 11:31.4.
“I did pretty well, trying to keep a good pace,” said Villanueva, whose personal record in the 1,600 is 4:39. “I feel like I’m getting where I want to be.
“My goal is to be at 4:30 by the end of the season.”
Also for Gilroy’s boys, Sean Kaufman won the 400 in 53.37 and the triple jump at 36 feet, 3 inches.
Gilroy’s Ian Morlang won the shot put at 48-0, and Scott Vogel took the discus at 130-4.
Christopher’s Jordan Rodriquez won the 100 in 11.48 and the 200 in 23.9, setting school records in both events.
Also for the Cougars’ boys, Jeremiah Ofiana claimed the 110 hurdles in 16.72 and the 300 hurdles in 44.18.
Christopher’s Xavier Smith won the high jump at 5-0, Jack Galloway took the long jump at 18-4 1/2 and Bryan Pipkin won the pole vault at 12-6.
Christopher’s boys swept the relays, winning the 400 relay in 46.4 and the 1,600 relay in 4:20.8.
The Cougars also had a boys school record fall when Matt Switzer finished second in the 1,600 in 5:15.
Christopher dominated the girls meet, setting three more school records in the process.
“Our girls are just the class of the league,” Cougars coach Jeff Myers said. “Our girls are probably the best team in both divisions. We’re very strong in all the events; we don’t have a weakness that’s really going to show up in our league meets.”
The Cougars got school-record wins from Kaelin Sylva (9-3) in the pole vault, Haley Romero (17-1 3/4) in the long jump and in the 400 relay at 51.2.
Christopher’s Natalia Gutierrez won a trio of events, claiming the 400 in 1:02.21, the 800 in 2:34.1 and the high jump at 4-8.
“The thing with (Gutierrez) is, she’s got sprint events, a mid-distance event and a field event in the high jump. She’s strong in all of them right now,” Myers said.
Also for Christopher, Allison Foster won the triple jump at 34-3 and the 100 hurdles in 15.6.
“Alli Foster, everything she does is great. She had a pretty solid day,” Myers said.
The event of the day might have been the varsity girls 300 hurdles, featuring three likely CCS contenders in Gilroy’s Samantha Una’Dia (47.37), Amira Barnett (47.49) and Foster (48.9).
Christopher’s Jamie Boutté won the 1,600 in 5:57 and the 3,200 in 12:55.4, and teammate Maddie Peterson took the shot put (27-4) and discus (84-11).
The Cougars also got victories from Barnett in the 100 (12.59) and Olivia Baxter in the 200 (26.74).
Christopher’s girls also won the 1,600 relay in 4:35.2.
Christopher’s Natalie Filippi took second with close finishes in both the 1,600 (5:58) and 3,200 (12:55.7).