Gilroy High junior Kaiden Gonzales placed third in the boys shot put at the CCS finals on May 25. Photo: Jonathan Natividad
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Several local athletes put on impressive performances over the last few weeks of championship track and field meets. 

Top efforts came from Christopher hurdler Caitlynn Holt, the only athlete from her school to qualify for the CIF State championships in Clovis, and from two Mustangs, Josh Guzman in distance running and Kaiden Gonzales in the weights. Gonzales came through with a big toss in the shot put to also gain a trip to Clovis.

BVAL championships

The first big spring meet came with the Blossom Valley Athletic League championships at Westmont High in Campbell on May 4. 

For the Christopher boys, Arihant Iyer flew to a sixth place finish in the 100 meters with a time of 11.53 and a tenth in the 200 in 24.14. 

Cougars’ football star Amari Bluford was tenth in the 100 in 11.66 and won the long jump with a leap of 21-5.5. 

The Christopher 4×100 relay team finished fourth in 44.86 with a quartet of Nathaniel Tierman, Iyer, Bluford and Dylan Wharton. 

Other good showings included Miles Jimenez in thirteenth in the 800 in 2:04.72 and Julian Rodriguez, with a fifth in the shot put at 43-7.5 and a thirteenth in the discus with a toss of 125-7.

Guzman ran a strong double for the Mustangs. The Gilroy cross-country star, who has reached the state meet in that sport twice, was solid on the track too, coming in fifth in the 1600 in 4:31.15 and third in the 3200 in 9:32.74. 

Gonzales was superb in both the shot put and the discus. He won the former with a throw of 50-3 and was second in the latter at 148-10. Gilroy also put together a fine 4×800 relay, crossing the line in tenth with a time of 9:01.81. The team consisted of Ricardo Chavarria, Emiliano Vera, Harshaan Mangat and Jesus Rodriguez.

On the girls side, Christopher had a great day. Holt won two races. In the 100 hurdles, she triumphed in 16.19. In the 300 hurdles, she won with a time of 47.23. 

Chioma Okeke delivered in the sprints. She was fifth in the 100 in 13.26 and eighth in the 200 in 27.85. Okeke also stepped up to run the 400 and ran a fantastic race to finish second in 1:01.67. 

Malerie Middleton placed fifth in the shot put at 27-3 and the 4×100 relay team came in tenth in 53.30. Victoria Gonzales-O’Donoghue ran 19.16 for tenth in the 100 hurdles and 52.79 for tenth in the 300 hurdles. 

Gilroy’s best performer in the girls events was Alexi Mydell, who finished third in the 100 hurdles in 17.29.

CCS trials

The top finishers in the BVAL meet advanced and competed at the next level, the CCS Trials at Gilroy High on May 11. 

Holt and Okeke were standouts for the Cougars. The former, a senior headed to the University of Nevada next year, finished in seventh in both the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles. Her time in the shorter race was 15.49 and it was 45.26 in the latter. Okeke, just a sophomore, was tenth in the 100 in 12.96 and twelfth in the 400 in 59.49. 

Bluford finished twelfth in the long jump with a leap of 21-3.

Gonzales was Gilroy’s star on his home field. He finished sixth in the shot at 52-5 and ninth in the discus at 141-7.

CCS finals

Only the best of the best continued on to the May 18 CCS Finals at Gilroy High. 

Holt finished third in the 300 hurdles in 44.41 to capture an invite to the CIF State meet. Holt also ran 15.56 for seventh in the 100 hurdles.

“I’ve been training for this since November,” said Holt, after the 300 hurdles race. “I had three goals. Get recruited to college, compete at the Arcadia meet and qualify for state. I am so excited. I worked really hard for it. You have to put it all out there. Push when you get tired.”

Gonzales threw the shot 54-3 to garner third in that event. In the discus, the Mustangs junior flung the dish 140-10 for ninth place.

“Glory to God,” Gonzales said. “I want to also give thanks to coach Frankie Martinez of Hartnell, who helped me. And my parents Gena and Fortuno Gonzales and Gilroy coach Matt Castillo. I tried to relax and then explode. Get my feet in the right spot. The school record was 53 and I got 54.”

CIF state meet

On Friday May 24, Holt and Gonzales competed in the CIF State Meet Trials. At Veterans Memorial Stadium at Buchanan High in Clovis, the atmosphere was electric, with huge track-knowledgeable crowds and the best athletes from all around California.

Holt ran a 45.19 time in the 300 hurdles, finishing seventeenth. Gonzales tossed the shot 50-11.75 for 19th place. Neither placed high enough to advance to Saturday’s finals, yet both reached the goal of all track and field athletes, the CIF State meet competition.

Christopher High senior Caitlynn Holt competes in the girls 100 meter hurdles at the CCS finals on May 18. Photo: Jonathan Natividad
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