The article below originally appeared in the San Mateo Daily Journal and is being reprinted with permission.
Yan-Jun “Sophie” Liao has already become the most accomplished College of San Mateo women’s sprinter this century. Now, she is shooting for the best standing in program history.
Liao became the first CSM women’s sprinter of the 21st century to claim double gold at the Coast Conference Track and Field Championships, topping the field in each the 100- and 200-meter dash Saturday in the championship meet finals at De Anza College in Cupertino.
The freshman hailing from Taipei City, Chinese Taipai took gold in the 100 with a time of 11.75 seconds — the top time in the state this season — improving on her standing as second best in program history in the event. The all-time CSM record was set by Ronda Robinson in 1983 at 11.63.
“She was really happy with her times,” Burns said. “For her, it’s nice being back closer around her personal best (of 11.64). And this is the first time that she’s run that fast since making the big move out to San Mateo and run for us here.”
Liao doubled down on her gold-medal count, also hitting the tape in the women’s 200, clocking a time of 24.41, tops in Northern California this season and second throughout the state. The time ranks third in CSM history, behind Robinson’s program record of 24.08 set in 1983, and the second-best mark of Brenda Brewer of 24.38 that same season.
The performance in the 200 was just shy of her personal record, set at Lishan Senior High School in her native Chinese Taipei, of 24.3.
“Both the 100 and 200 were good runs,” Burns said. “She is really putting together the timing of her running and controlling herself right now.”
Liao competed in four events on the day, including two relay races. The women’s 4×400 relay team took second place. The 4×100 team took fourth.
Folau takes gold in shot put
Serra graduate Elijah Folau joined a long line of elite CSM throwers this season. The freshman cemented his place in program history Saturday by claiming gold in the men’s shot put, marking the ninth straight year a CSM thrower has won the Coast Conference title in the discipline.
Folau’s top throw was 48 feet, 4 inches. His top throw on the season came at the Stanford Invitational at 49-11, ranking fourth in the state this season.
CSM’s previous Coast Conference champions in the shot put are: Adan Pena, 2018; Patrick Ng, 2017; William Rogers, 2016; Jerry Johnson, 2015; Aaron Volkman, 2014; Even McDaniel, 2012 and ’13; and Josh Uikilifi, 2011.