The article below originally appeared in the San Mateo Daily Journal and is being reprinted with permission.
There is a track and field smorgasbord Saturday on the Peninsula as two big-name meets will be contested. Serra hosts the annual Top 7, while up the hill, College of San Mateo hosts the just as iconic Bob Rush State Meet Preview.
The Serra meet will feature some of the best athletes from the Central Coast Section and from around the greater Bay Area, while the Bob Rush will draw athletes from throughout the state to get a preview of the site of this year’s community college state meet.
“It’s been nice,” said Jim Marheineke, head track and field coach at Serra, who will be producing the Top 7 for the 19th year. “The meet has turned into what it is because of the loyalty of the teams (participating). … Because of them, that’s why the meet keeps going.”
Marheineke said the Top 7, which is in its 33rd year, was initially known as the County Top 7, comprised of teams from schools around San Mateo County.
But as some of the county public schools took the Top 7 off their schedule, Marheineke opened it up to all high school teams.
Marheineke said this year 40 teams with “right around” 1,000 athletes will descend on Serra Saturday. Varsity events begin at 9 a.m. and run until about 2 p.m., followed by the junior varsity meet.
“One of the things I’m most proud of is, my frosh-soph guys are here at 8 a.m., helping set up and then they compete,” Marheineke said. “Then, the varsity guys compete and then stick around and work (the meet) after that.”
Serra used to host the Top 7 throwers’ meet this weekend, while the actual Top 7 track meet was later in the season. A change in the California Interscholastic Federation sports calendar has affected the meet, however. Marheineke had to postpone the throwers meet and move the full track meet back a few weeks. So, what was once one of the final big prep meets of the season, has now moved into the middle of the season. As such, not all the big guns will be in attendance.
“Now that we’ve moved this meet to this weekend, it’s a little early (in the season),” Marheineke said. “We’ve had some really tough weekends (recently) and have Stanford and Arcadia (meets) in the next couple of weeks.
“But we’re still going to have a pretty good field.”
While the throwers’-only meet has been pre-empted, it doesn’t mean some of the top throwers in the section won’t be at the meet Saturday. In fact, the girls’ discus and shot put could be the marquee event of the day as the top four throwers in both disciplines are expected to compete.
Terra Nova’s Carly Watts, the defending CCS discus and shot put champion, is the CCS leader in both events in 2019. She’s already eclipsed her best shot put from last season, setting a personal record off 44-2 at the K-Bell Track and Field Classic March 9. Her best effort of 2018 was 43-6.5 in the state meet preliminaries.
Expected to join Watts in the shot put is Notre Dame-Belmont’s Krissie Smoot, who is ranked second in CCS. A pair of sisters from Mills follow, Nane and Mele Ikahihifo, who are ranked No. 3 and No. 4, respectively. Mele Ikahihifo set a new PR with a throw of 40-2 during a dual meet with Aragon last week.
Watts has also already set a PR in the discus this season as well, with a throw of 146-7 at the St. Francis Invitational last weekend. Mele Ikahihifo has also PR’d in the discus as well, with a throw of 111-5, also against Aragon.
Look for Menlo-Atherton Jessica Eagle to try and maintain her top-ranked status in the 100 and 200, while Megan Ronan, a Burlingame resident and sophomore at St. Ignatius, is a jack-of-all trades, but is signed up in the long jump. She’s already gone over the 17-foot mark after winning the 2018 CCS long jump title with a leap of 19-3.
Bob Rush State Preview Meet
The CSM-hosted event is always a highlight for Northern California community college track and field athletes, but it will take on even more significance this year as CSM will also host the community college state meet this season.
As such, coaches from around the state will be sending athletes to CSM to get familiar with the venue.
The Bulldogs will have some of the best athletes in the field Saturday. CSM throws coach Mike Lewis continues to pump out top-caliber throwers. Freshman Elijah Folau, a former Serra standout who won the 2018 CCS shot put title and finished second in the discus, leads the state in the shot put with a throw of 49-5. He’ll be joined by teammates Taina Livai and Teme Fanguna. Livai, who starred at Mills, is third in the state in the javelin with a throw of 115-3. She is No. 10 in the discus (121-6) and No. 15 in the shot put (36-5.75). Fanguna is No. 4 in the discus (129-6) and No. 12 in shot (37-3.75).
On the track, Sophie Liao will make her home debut for CSM. Liao, an exchange student from Taiwan living in Foster City, is leading the state in the 100. Last Saturday she went under the 12-second mark, posting a state-leading 11.92 at the Sacramento State Hornet Invitational.
Liao won the Taipei 100 title last year, running a 11.64.