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December 1, 2021

One giant leap: Romero finally off to state

For Haley Romero and Nolan Dozier, it was all about redemption. Romero, a Christopher senior, and Dozier a senior from Sobrato, had their fair share of heartbreak over the years in the Central Coast Section Track and Field Championships.
For Romero, it was a pair of fourth-place finishes in the championships in 2013 and 2015, which meant she was one spot away from clinching a berth to the state meet. For Dozier, it was an injury or a bad break that never allowed him to peak for the championships until now.
Dozier delivered perhaps the finest performance of his burgeoning career, finishing second in the 3200-meter run in a personal-record (PR) 9 minutes, 15.23 seconds. Romero finished sixth in the long jump, but earned a berth to state by nailing the automatic state qualifying standard of 18 feet, 1 inches.
The two standouts had a night to remember at the CCS Championships last Friday at Gilroy High. For their performances, Romero and Dozier advanced to the CIF State Championships June 3 to 4 at Veterans Memorial Stadium on the campus of Buchanan High in Clovis.
“I’m just happy I made it to state,” said Dozier, who took second to Lynbrook’s Justin Robison (9:12.41). “I PR’d by 4 seconds? That sounds good.”
Said Romero: “I was stoked to hit 18-1. My entire family is stoked. When I found out I hit 18-1, I almost went crazy.”
That’s because Romero nailed the mark on her third and final attempt after scratching on her first two tries.
“I was so mad I scratched,” she said. “I had one last chance to make state, and it was nerve-wracking. But I took a deep breath, went through things in my head, looked at the board and told myself, ‘Let’s go.’ I’ve been working really hard for this. To think that I had missed state a couple of times by an inch here or two inches there, I didn’t want to have that
feeling again.”
On Romero’s final jump, she landed and immediately looked to the side that notified her of the marking. Romero saw that it was close to where the state-qualifying mark was, and she only had to wait moments later when the official marked her jump as 18-1.
“All it takes is one jump where you have to put it all together,” she said. “And thankfully, I did that.”
So did Dozier, who was involved in one of the best races of the event with Robison, the outstanding distance ace from Lynbrook. The two ran side by side for the first 2600 meters before Dozier took off, unleashing a spirited kick that seemed to catch Robison by surprise.
Dozier gained separation but couldn’t hold onto the lead, as Robison retook first with about 250 meters remaining.
“I tried to hold on, but he had the better finishing speed,” said Dozier, who will run at St. Mary’s next season. “I applaud him—he’s a damn good runner. I wanted to beat Robison, but he got me fair and square. This will be my first time to state, so I can’t complain.”
Indeed, Dozier
Other South Valley athletes who competed in the CCS Finals included: Christopher’s Isaac McCrimon, who took fifth in the long jump in 21-0.25; Christopher’s Vanessa Koontz, who finished fifth in the 200 in 25.24 and sixth in the 400 in 58.61; Gilroy’s Nicole Holder, who took ninth in the high jump in 4-11; Gilroy’s Logan Flores, who took seventh in the pole vault in 12-6; and Christopher’s boys 4×100-relay team, which placed fifth in 42.73.
Emanuel Lee Staff Writer
Cheeto Barrera is the sports editor for the Morgan Hill Times and Gilroy Dispatch.

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