Sobrato High’s Ava Valone competes in a sprint event at a 2023 meet at Christopher High School. File photo

As the rain departed and the clouds passed by Gilroy, the Sobrato track and field team shined brightly at the 51st Avis Kelley Invitational. 

The big early-season meet on March 23 involved athletes from 39 schools from all over the Central Coast Section and some from other areas of California.

The Bulldogs totaled 69.5 points for fourth place in the team competition. The Sobrato boys contributed 38.5 points, fourth in the boys standings, and the girls scored 31 points for fifth on their side. The overall team champion was Hollister, with the Haybalers winning the girls title and finishing a close second to Aptos on the boys side.

The event honors longtime Gilroy coach Avis Kelley, who died in December 2022 at age 88. Kelley was head football coach at Gilroy High from 1965-1969 and head track coach from 1965-1992. During his coaching tenure, Kelley coached five state finalists, won over 100 regional team championships, and was twice voted “Coach of the Year” for the Central Coast Section.

Sobrato standouts included Jalen Deloach and Colin Curto. Deloach won the premier sprint event, the 100 meters, with a time of 11.42, edging Hollister’s Logan Freitas in 11.46 and Charles Peterson of Buhach Colony of Atwater (near Merced) in 11.47.

The Sobrato senior also scored points in the long jump, finishing sixth with a leap of 19 feet, 5.75 inches.

Curto was first around the oval for the 400 meter crown. His time was 52.36, ahead of second-place finisher Trent Hendricks of Monte Vista Christian in 53.24. 

Sobrato’s boys scored points with depth, finishing third in the 4×100 relay and second in the 4×400 relay. In the sprint relay, Aptos won with a time of 44.30, Christopher was second in 44.58 and the Bulldogs were next in 44.62. The Sobrato quartet consisted of Alexander Delgado, Curto, Kevin Havens and Deloach. Havens also notched a fourth-place finish in the 300 hurdles in 42.19.

In the 4×400 relay, Sobrato finished in 3:39.89, behind Seaside in 3:38.73. Bulldog runners were Havens, Bode Chester, Khush Patel and Deloach.

Great performances on the girls side came from Shaunise Tuua, Ava Valone and Cali Barberi. Tuua finished second in the 100 meters with a time of 12.94, slightly behind winner Chioma Okeke of Christopher in 12.86. Tuua also scored points with her long jump of 15 feet, 8.5 inches for sixth place.

Valone finished seventh in the 100 with a time of 13.48 and fifth in the triple jump with a leap of 32 feet, 8 inches. Barberi, just a freshman, sparkled in the two-lapper, coming in second in the 800 with a time of 2:27.67, behind Rachel Hoops of Aptos, who won the race in 2:24.34.

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