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Morgan Hill
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August 13, 2022

Grant headed off to state following strong CCS finish

Kaylah Grant and Logan Flores were on opposite ends of the emotional spectrum in last Friday’s Central Coast Section Track and Field Championships at Gilroy High School.
Grant, a Live Oak High junior, qualified for the CIF State Championships after finishing in third place in the 3200-meter run.
Flores, a Gilroy High junior, barely missed out on a state berth in the pole vault after a fourth-place finish. Neither could smile afterward—at least not initially. Grant was simply too tired to smile, having run the 1600 earlier in the meet. Flores, of course, was disappointed knowing he was literally within a bounce of making state.
Whereas Grant’s season goes on and Flores’ is over, it doesn’t take away from the fact that both of them had stellar performances. Although Flores couldn’t mask the pain of not making state, he nonetheless had a successful season. He equaled his personal-record (PR) of 14 feet, 6 inches, and was consistently solid throughout the season.
Flores showed a champion’s resolve afterward, calmly packing his vaults into a bag before carrying it over his shoulder for 100 yards to a shed that houses some of the school’s equipment. Grant has always comported herself as well, even when she didn’t qualify for state last season. But 2017 was a different story. A three-time state qualifier in cross country—her more natural running sport—Grant had yet to experience a breakthrough on the track until now.
Grant, who finished sixth in the 3200 finals a year ago, established a new PR when she went 10:50.03. The performance came a little over an hour after she finished in fourth place in the 1600 in 5:01.42, missing out on a state berth by 9/10ths of a second.
“I did sense special something would happen tonight, and then the mile (1600 race) happened,” she said. “I wasn’t too happy about that, so I promised I would make up for it in the 3200, and I think I did.”
After she crossed the finish line in the 3200, Grant leaned on a fence as her coaches and family members offered her praise for her effort. Five minutes later, she stopped by to talk with a reporter before making her way to the podium.
“I feel like I’m dying,” she said. “When I saw my coaches, they told me to breathe, but I couldn’t breathe. I’m really happy with this. I didn’t think I was going to get that time. I was (pacing myself) doing 82s (82-second laps), hoping to win or get second. But knowing I PR’d by 4 or 5 seconds makes me real happy. This is the first time making state in track, and it just sounds weird saying it. I’m pretty excited.”
Grant led for the majority of the race before the top two finishers overtook her with around 500 meters to go. On the final backstretch, with the last state berth on the line, Grant had to hold off a hard-charging Lynbrook runner—which Grant did by 1.14 seconds.
“I thought I heard people saying she was right behind me, but I wasn’t sure,” Grant said. “So I started looking down at the shadows and kind of thought there was one, but I wasn’t sure if I was seeing two of my shadows. So I just went for it.”
Flores went for it, too, and had it not been for an unfortunate break, he would be preparing for Friday’s state meet at Buchanan High School in Clovis. Flores was locked in a dual with Bellarmine’s Enzo Sison for the third and final state berth in the pole vault. Both athletes missed in their three attempts at 14-6.
A vault off at that same height would determine who would get to advance to state. Flores easily cleared the mark on the first vault off, equaling his PR. Sison hit the bar as he vaulted over it, and it looked as if it was going to fall to the pit. However, the bar vibrated back and forth—but perfectly straight up and down—before settling.
“He got the lucky Gilroy bounce,” Flores said. “It was fortunate for him but unfortunate for me. I don’t know how the bar didn’t come down.”
After they both cleared 14-6, they missed at 14-9. Flores nearly hit a new PR, but the bar wobbled before falling. The height went down to 14-3, and a visibly gassed Flores didn’t get an attempt off, overrunning his approach and into the pit. Sison easily cleared the mark to finish the vault off.
All told, Flores had eight warm-up jumps before clearing 13 and 13-6 on his first try, 14-6 on his fourth attempt and missing at 14-9 before his final vault attempt went awry.
Flores, who gave credit to coaches Joe Miyoshi and Brian Pipkin for developing him into one of the section’s best vaulters, said not making state will make him that much more determined to improve in the off-season. Flores said he’ll focus on speedwork, strength-training and calisthenics. The latter will make his body more pliable, allowing him to maximize his vaults. Considering the three athletes who finished ahead of him are all graduating, Flores will enter next season as the top-ranked vaulter in the CCS.
For Gilroy senior Anela Zamarron, it was the end of a short but productive track and field career. Zamarron finished fifth in the shot put and 11th in the discus with throws of 38 feet, 8 inches and 99 feet even, respectively. The marks were short of Zamarron’s PRs she set just the week prior in the CCS Semifinals, which she attributed that to the magnitude of the situation. Still, Zamarron had a tremendous season.
“It was my first time in the CCS Finals, and it probably got to me a little bit,” said Zamarron, who will be attending the University of Utah in the fall but not competing athletically. Zamarron had a cumulative 3.5 GPA in high school. “It was a bad day, but overall this year I accomplished some big things. It was the first time I had a legit throwing coach, and I feel if I had him before, this wouldn’t have been my first time in the finals.”
Sobrato High senior Brian Williams had a rough CCS Finals as well, but like Zamarron he was able to look at his entire season and reflect on the success he had. One of the more versatile athletes in the CCS—Williams has competed in the 400, 800, 1600, 300 hurdles, high jump and triple jump over his four-year career—he didn’t have his best race in the finals, clocking a 41.24 a week after he produced a PR of 40.62 in the semifinals.
Williams, who will walk on the Boise State track and field team next year, got out of the blocks well only to run into trouble after a couple of hurdles.
“Halfway through the race I started feeling kind of tired,” he said. “Earlier in the week I smacked my knee over a hurdle, and I think that kind of impaired my running ability. Hopefully I’ll do better in college at Boise State.”
Williams only started hurdling midway through his junior year, so he’s confident he’ll be able to drop his times in huge increments at the next level.

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