Heart in Sole Santa Rosa, CA
adidas/Heart and Sole Redwood Empire Athletes of the Week!



In an effort to recognize the hard work and achievements of many track and field athletes throughout the Redwood Empire,
we have joined with adidas to launch the Redwood Empire Athlete of the Week award!
Each week, one boy and one girl will be awarded a custom silkscreened tech shirt in recognition of that week's accomplishments.
So, without further ado, our 2011 adidas/Redwood Empire Athletes of the Week!

Athletes of the Year

Kyra Johnson, junior, Piner

Kyra Johnson

Johnson was a force all year for Piner, excelling in the 300m hurdles. Not only did she capture the North Bay League title, but also won the Redwood NCS Qualifier, before placing 2nd at the North Coast Section meet to advance to State. There she upset her way into the finals, finishing out 7th in the State of California. Along the way she massively dropped her PB, from 46.22 last year to 44.80 at the NBL Champs to 43.32 at State. She now is the second fastest long-hurdler in Empire history, with three of the top 10 performances ever. In addition to the long hurdles, she was also the NBL Champ at 100m hurdles and was second over 400m.

Alyssa Page, senior, Montgomery

Alyssa Page

Page came into the season as the reigning NBL 100m and 200m Champ. Despite a slow start, she ended the season as the 2-time reigning NBL 100m and 200m Champ. The 200m was the biggest noisemaker of the year, as her NBL performance of 24.79 is the fastest ever run in the history of the Redwood Empire, and it was wind-legal too. She actually has the two fastest wind-legal performances in Empire History, as her second best mark is 25.02. She also makes the 100m all-time list, clocking 12.24 to be No.2 on the wind-legal list. It should come as no surprise that she also played a key role on Montgomery's 4x100m relay team that clocked 49.66, becoming the 8th fastest team in history.

Luis Luna, junior, Piner

Luis Luna

For the third year in a row, the Redwood Empire Record in the 3,200m has been broken. But for the first time, it was by a junior. Luna came into the year with a 9:16.19 PB, and the talk was all on breaking the 9-minute barrier, which had only been done once in Empire History. Well, Luna quickly clocked a 9:04.38 in April, but saved the magic for last, running 8:55.43 at the State Championships to place 6th. Along the way he was the NBL, Redwood Empire, and NCS MOC Champ at 3,200m as well. Showing his range, he was the Empire Leader at 1,600m (4:14.17, 9th all-time, 2nd junior) and second on the yearly list in the 800m (1:57.3h, 47th all-time). As far as I can tell, Luna only suffered two defeats all year, placing 2nd at the Stanford 3,000m and then his 6th at the State Championships.

NCS Meet of Champions

Maria Barragan, Healdsburg, sophomore

Maria Barragan - photo Michael Lucid

Barragan earned a coveted NCS MOC medal in virtue of her 6th place finish in the 800m. In that race, she clocked a personal-best 2:17.17, solidifying her spot as the 2nd fastest 800m runner in the Empire. In fact, she's also moved up to number 16 on the all-time Empire List. Making her performance even more impressive is that she ran the 400m (60.93)in prelims and had to run a 2:18.79 the day before to make the finals in the 800m!

Gary Randolph, Healdsburg, senior

Gary Randolph

Randolph was a double medalist from the NCS Meet of Champions, making it on in both throws. On day one, he popped a 155'6" in the discus, good enough for 3rd place despite being 2" off his PB. Day two saw him in the shot put ring, where he got a toss of 50'9" to place 5th. But the 3rd place in the discus is what's important, as that throw earned him a berth to the California State Championships to compete against the best in the state.

Courtney Tuck, Petaluma, sophomore

Courtney Tuck

Tuck has turned in athlete of the week quality performances week after week,so much so that each week we assumed she's already earned the award! So very sorry for the delay for this phenomenal athlete! Tuck has been a force in the high jump all year (as well as long and triple), with a best clearance of 5'7". That jump ties her for second in Redwood Empire history. At NCS MOC Tuck cleared 5'6" in the high jump, good for 2nd place. Not only did that earn her a silver medal, but also a berth to the State Championships where she is seeded 4th.

North Coast Section Qualifying

Quentin Mendoza, Montgomery, senior

Quentin Mendoza - photo credit Michael Lucid

Mendoza competed in four events at the NCS Redwood Empire Championships, which is the qualifier for the NCS Meet of Championships next week. Most athletes are happy to make MOC in just one event, but Mendoza qualified in all four. He earned two individual seconds, clocking 11.30 (+1.0 mps) in the 100m, and leaping 41'1" in the triple jump. He narrowly qualified on in the high jump, where his 5'10" was just good enough by misses, and ran a leg on the 2nd place 4x100m relay, which clocked 43.77. Montgomery ended up 9th at the meet, with over half the points due to Mendoza's impressive quadruple.

Nicole Lane, El Molino, sophomore

Nicole Lane - photo credit Michael Lucid

Lane was the only double winner at the NCS Redwood Empire Championships, the qualifier for the NCS Meet of Championships. She first won the 1,600m (5:14.11) by over four seconds, before taking the 3,200m (11.17.67) by nearly 10 seconds over the NBL champion. Lane's already the Empire Leader in the 1,600m, and second at 3,200m for the year, while also ranking 45th and 34th on the all-time lists. Going into next weekend's NCS MOC, the state-qualifying meet, Lane is seeded 6th in the 1,600m and 7th in the 3,200m. 4 go on.

Coastal Mountain Conference

Kiana Herold, Sonoma Academy, sophomore

Kiana Herold

Herold pulled quadruple-duty for the Coyotes of Sonoma Academy, capturing the 300m hurdles (49.85), long jump (15'11"), high jump (5'2"), and triple jump (33'3") at the Coastal Mountain Conference Championships. She's one of only three Empire athletes to break 50 seconds in the long hurdles this year, and is tied at second for the yearly high jump list. In that event, she won the CMC competition by an astounding 6 inches!

Mike Blackburn, Anderson Valley, senior

Mike Blackburn

Despite fighting a hamstring injury sustained earlier in the season, Blackburn scorched the competition in the 100m at the Coastal Mountain Conference Championships. After leading qualifying by a full half-second, he did one better in the finals, winning by closer to 3/4 of a second. His time of 10.95 is by far the fastest in the Empire this year, and puts him 11th on the All-Time FAT list for the Redwood Empire. Unfortunately there were no wind readings reported, for if this was wind legal he would be 5th fastest ever for the Empire.

Sonoma County League

Brycen Poarch, Casa Grande, sophomore

Brycen Poarch - photo credit Michael Lucid

Poarch was a double winner at the Sonoma County League Championships, capturing the long and triple jumps. His long jump of 19'11" just got him the win by 1.5 inches, while in the triple (42'1") he won by over two feet. He also placed 4th in the high jump at 5'10".

Elaine Weaver, Casa Grande, senior

Elaine Weaver - photo credit Michael Lucid

Weaver absolutely dominated the throws at the Sonoma County League Championships. Her shot put of 38' won by over two and a half feet, and her discus throw of 125'3" captured the title by over 20 feet! Her shot moved her to a tie for 17th on the all-time list, while her discus moved her all the way to 10th best ever in the Empire. In addition, her points helped Casa Grande to the SCL Championships Meet Team Title for the first time since 2001!

North Bay League

Laurel Sheppard, Maria Carrillo, sophomore

Laurel Sheppard

Sheppard captured the triple jump at the NBL Champs, as well as earning silver in the long jump and 6th in the 100m. In the triple jump, she went 33'3.5", winning by over a full foot. In the long jump, she missed the win by less than an inch, jumping 16'11.75". Her triple jump puts her 6th in the Empire, while she's currently second in the long jump. The 19 points she scored were also key in the Maria Carrillo victory, as they won the team title by a mere 13 points.

Mariano Malvino, Montgomery, senior

Mariano Malvino - photo Michael Lucid

Malvino was a double winner at the NBL Champs, upsetting Travis Baker in both the shot put and the discus throw. He captured the shot put by nearly 2 feet, throwing 51'0.25". In the discus, his 143'11" throw gave him the win by three feet. Malvino currently sits third on the yearly list in the discus, and second in the shot put, right behind Baker.

Week Ten

Jemal Williams, Sonoma Academy, senior

The Santa Rosa All City Meet pits all schools that fall in the SR city limits against each other in a tune-up for league championships the next week. Usually, you get your standard large-school dominance, but Williams changed that up this year. He captured both the 110m (15.58) and 300m hurdles (42.33) for Division V Sonoma Academy. His short hurdles made him No.12 all-time FAT wind legal, and got the win by nearly half a second, where-as he captured the long hurdles by less than 0.1 seconds. He finished the meet off with a 40' triple jump for second. For all this, he was crowned Athlete of the Meet, the first time a small school athlete has done this since, well, before I can find records!

Heidi Hirvonen, Maria Carrillo, senior

Heidi Hirvonen

Hirvonen was a double-winner in the hurdles at her home tri-meet, capturing both long and short hurdles by ridiculous margins (long hurdles by over 3 seconds). That was the perfect tune-up for the All City Meet where she posted some of the all-time best hurdle performances in Empire History. Starting with the short hurdles, she clocked 16.61w (+2.4mps)to become the 46th fastest all-conditions short hurdler. But her long hurdles were much more impressive, as her 46.53 put her at No. 15 All-Time in the Empire, as well as taking the school record from the Great Jenna Lowder.

Week Nine

Nicole Purter, Windsor, sophomore

Nicole Purter - Picture Credit Michael Lucid

Purter was a double winner at Windsor's dual vs Casa Grande, absolutely dominating both shot put and discus throw. The big toss came in the shot, where her 36'8" was more than 7 feet ahead of second, and puts her at No.2 on the yearly Empire List. What's more, that put puts her at number 7th on the sophomore list, and 27th overall in the history of the Empire.

Leith Butler, Ft. Bragg, junior

Butler was a triple winner (quad counting his 4x400m leg) in a an 8-way CMC meet at home. He long-jumped 19'6.25 (2+ foot win), high-jumped 5'10" (2-inch win), but the big news was the triple-jump of 41'3.75" (4+ foot win). Leith is already the Empire Leader in the Triple Jump, while this jump is the farthest in a non-invitational meet all year.

Week Eight

Forrest Shaffer, Petaluma, senior

Forrest Shaffer

Shaffer, last season's SCL XC Champ and Individual XC State Medalist, was expected to do big things this track season. But while he did lay down some solid times early on, he hadn't exactly turned any heads: until this weekend. Competing in a stacked race at the Viking Invite, Shaffer scorched a 4:19.70 1,600m for third. Literally all of the top-10 runners this year set their best at this meet, with Shaffer 2nd fastest local on the day. That time was good enough to put him 29th on the all-time Empire list.

Kathleen Durand, Maria Carrillo, sophomore

Kathleen Durand

The Durand's are a throwing family, plain and simple. And this weekend Kathleen continued to stand out in in this incredible company. In winning the Viking Invite discus with a throw of 128'6", she is now the 6th best thrower in Empire History. And she's just a sophomore. Yea, she set the class record too. Her throw won by over 10 feet, and she is now less than 10 feet off the Empire Record. She also placed 3rd in the shot put, as well as winning both throws on her weekly league meet.

Week Seven

Alyssa Page, Montgomery, senior

Alyssa Page

Page had had two impressive performances this week, capturing the 100m/200m double at her league meet while also earning two top-3 finishes at the Woody Wilson Classic. Her 12.52 there was good enough for 3rd in the 100m, while she placed 2nd in the 200m at 25.57. That 200m would put her 12th on the all-time list, if she weren't already sitting at 7th. On Wednesday she went 26.0 to win by over a second, but was even more impressive with a .9 second win in the 100m, crossing the line at 12.2, which would be tied for 10th on the all-time list.

Caleb Cunha, Fort Bragg, senior

Caleb Cunha

Cunha has been tearing up the Coastal Mountain Conference hurdling scene all season, but really made a mark on the Redwood Empire at this weekend's Woody Wilson Classic. There he clocked the 6th fastest 300m hurdles ever in Empire history, crossing the line at 39.01. No other Empire athlete has broken 40 this year, but Cunha has done it thrice. Additionally, he captured the hurdle double at his league meet, winning the 110mh (15.8) by over 2 seconds, and the 300mh (42.0) by nearly 5 seconds!

Week Six

David Forman, Rancho Cotate, sophomore

David Forman

Despite being only a sophomore, Forman was a double-winner in his tri-meet against Cardinal Newman and Montgomery. Forman clocked 10.8h in the 100m, which put him 29th on the all-time list. Shortly there-after, he became the 45th fastest 200m runner in Empire history, as he won the race by a full second, clocking 22.1h. Both times also tied him as the third-fastest sophomore ever.

Lauren Kraus, Maria Carrillo, sophomore

Lauren Kraus

Kraus was a key player in the Puma's tri-meet win over Santa Rosa and Piner, as she scored wins in the 1,600m (5:24.1) and 3,200m (11:43.5), as well as taking second in the 800m (2:28.8). Then on the weekend she traveled to the prestigious Arcadia Invite to compete in a stacked 3,200m race. There she placed 6th, clocking an 11:05.45, which puts her 21st on the all-time Empire list.

Week Five

Darci Whyte, Santa Rosa, freshman

Darci Whyte

While just a freshman, Darci has immediately set the Empire sprint world ablaze, providing challenge to last year's sprint queen Alyssa Page. Darci continued her solid sprint season by clocking a 12.86 for the 100m win at the Oakland Relays, then running legs on Santa Rosa's 4x100m (1st) and 4x400m (3rd) relays. The 4x100m time of 50.67 is the Empire Leader by over a second, with the 4x400m (4:06.48) leading the Empire by over 8 seconds. In the 100m, Whyte's sitting 9th on the all-time list, and is second in the yearly list.

Adam Lundquist, Casa Grande, junior

Adam Lundquist

Running in the special Invitational heat of the Oakland Relays, Adam clocked a solid 15.35, solidifying his #1 spot on the yearly Empire list. While he's already on the all-time list from his Junior Olympic race last season, this weekend's race would put have made him number 10 all-time. And on the 2011 list, only two other athletes (neither of whom are even in his league) are within one second of Adam this year.

Week Four

Travis Baker, Santa Rosa, senior

Travis Baker

Last season no one in the Empire could compare to Baker in the throws; by season's end he was a 6foot leader in the shot, and held the discus lead by almost 4. And this year he's starting off with more of the same. At the prestigious Stanford Invite, Baker notched a pair of top-10 finishes, placing 4th in the shot put and 6th in the discus. His put of 52'6" is a new yearly leader by nearly 5 inches, and is 3/4 of an inch farther than he threw at this meet last year. In the discus he threw 145'3", which is the Empire lead by over 4 feet, with only three throwers even within 10 feet of him this season!

Sadia Ibrahim, Santa Rosa, sophomore

Sadia Ibrahim

60 seconds is a benchmark in the girls' 400m. You go sub 60, that's solid. Well, Sadia's been knocking on going sub-59 for some time now. Last season, she clocked 59.01 at the post-season Golden West Invite. But at this weekend's Stanford Invite Sadia just dipped under that barrier, clocking 58.93 to win her heat by over a second. That time not only is the fastest in the Empire this year, but also 28th all-time, not to mention being the 8th fastest ever by a sophomore.

Week Three

Kyra Johnson, Piner, junior

Kyra Johnson

Johnson was a double winner in her quad-meet, notching W's in the 400m and 300m hurdles. In the 400m, she just cracked the 60 second barrier, clocking 59.9. But it was her 300m hurdles that most impressed. There she clocked a 47.2, the fastest time in the Empire this year by over a second. Only three other runners are even with 5 seconds of her this season! She then capped her week with a 48.13 win in the long hurdles at the Gold Rush Relays.

Nick DeSoto, Rancho Cotate, junior

Nick DeSoto

DeSoto dominated the competition at the Santa Rosa Special Relays, jumping nearly half a foot higher than his nearest competitor. DeSoto's 6'3" clearance is the highest in the Empire this year by three inches, a personal best by three inches as well, and a season best by five.

Week Two

Andrew Kozel, Healdsburg, sophomore

Andrew Kozel

With the graduation of Kozel(Thomas) last year, the Empire was primed for a new sprint talent to emerge. That power is Kozel(Andrew). Running into a -1.1mps headwind, Andrew clocked an Empire-Leading 11.44 at the Windsor Relays.. That won the race by a full .60 seconds, put him on top of the Empire yearly list, and puts him at number 25 on the all-time wind legal list. He also helped out on the Empire-Leading 4x100m and 4x400m teams for Healdsburg.

Devon Brook, Windsor, junior

Devon Brook - photo credit Michael Lucid

Brook was on triple-duty at the tri-meet between Piner, Windsor, and Casa Grande. She was a triple-winner in the jumps, popping a 30'7" in the triple jump, 15'0" SCL leader in the long jump, 5'2", good for 36th all-time, in the high jump. Plus she took a second in the 100m (13.8). Later that week, she again did triple-duty, hitting 30'10" in the triple jump, 4'10" in the high jump, and a new school record of 15'3" in the long jump at the Windsor Relays..

Week One

Danielle Steffen, Petaluma, junior

Danielle Steffen

Last year Michelle Stone raised the bar in Empire pole-vaulting, and this year Danielle Steffen is jumping in right where Stone left off. With an 11'7" clearance at the season-opening Big Cat Invite, Steffen catapulted herself into the top-3 vaulters in Empire history. In addition to her huge win in the vault, Steffen also captured the triple jump in 33'4.25", just a quarter of an inch ahead of second place!

Luis Luna, Piner, junior

Luis Luna

After his astounding cross country campaign, there were no shocked fans in the stands as Luna captured the 1,600m/3,200m double at the Big Cat Invite. Luna first took home the 1,600m by 3 second margin over Cardinal Newman's Alexi Taylor, then won the 3,200m after pacing teammate Jaime Silva for the first 7 laps. Luna's time of 4:21.74 in the 1,600m puts him at 39th on the all-time list as well.

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Athletes of the Week are picked solely by the Heart and Sole Staff, but we greatly value input from local COACHES. If any coach from the Empire has an athlete they wish to nominate, please contact us.