Live Oak’s Afari La-Anyane came within a second of advancing to state in the Central Coast Section 110-meter high hurdles final on Friday at chilly Garcia-Elder Sports Complex.
The sophomore placed sixth in 15.62 – about eight tenths of a second behind the third and final qualifier, Cameron Vaca of Archbishop Mitty.
Although he did not post his fastest time, the 6-foot-, 2-inch La-Anyane ran a clean race, lived up to his No. 6 seed and fulfilled his goal of making the podium.
“He looked good the whole way,” his coach, Cindy Armstrong, said. “It was a great day for him.”
Top seed Kamara Biawogi of Prospect took first in 14.42, shattering his previous-best mark of 14.54. Second place Stephen Dorsey of Monterey improved significantly as well, dropping two tenths of a second at 14.76. Those two will join Vaca in Clovis for the CIF State Championships, which begin Friday at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
The rest of the field was consistent with the seedings, as Bellarmine’s Jalen Wright (15.19) placed fourth, Milpitas’ Nicholas Doan (15.51) fifth, and Mount Pleasant’s Mathew Nelson (15.82) and Carmel’s Mickey Damapong (15.89) were seventh and eighth; the latter two hurdlers came in with identical seed times.
La-Anyane dropped time in his previous four races and was coming off an impressive showing at CCS Semifinals last Saturday, when he posted the 12th-best time (15.36) in the section for 2012.
La-Anyane was competing against a number of factors, Armstrong said, mainly the weather and a false start call that halted the race after three hurdles. La-Anyane was the youngest contestant.
“The fact that he hadn’t been there before might have affected him,” Armstrong said. “It was a little cold, so it (was) a different warm-up for him. … He was one of the first ones out of the blocks, then the race got called back because of the timing. That’s something new. He stayed calm, and I think he was really pleased with how he did.”
After a big sophomore year in which he swept the West Valley Division titles in the 110-high hurdles and 300-intermediate hurdles and finished runner-up in the Blossom Valley Athletic League 110-hurdles final, La-Anyane, one of four underclassmen in the CCS championship heat, is poised to make a run at state next season.
“This was a great thing for him,” Armstrong said. “He knows he can do it. He’s been there. That’s a huge part of it. He got on the podium – that was one of his goals. Next year, he’ll make it a little higher.”
- Whereas La-Anyane was the lone athlete from Live Oak or Sobrato High School to compete Friday, the South Valley produced three state qualifiers in Gilroy’s Jourdan Soares and Sarina Sandoval and San Benito’s Vanessa Estrada.
Soares finished second at 200 meters and third in the 100. Sandoval placed third in shot put, and Estrada was second in the 3,200.
- Palo Alto won the boys team championship with 53 points, while the girls title went to Piedmont Hills (61). It was the Pirates’ first CCS crown on the girls side.