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 & Field Athletes throughout the Redwood Empire, we have joined with adidas for our 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.

Athletes of the Year

Allison Scranton, Petaluma, Senior

Allison Scranton - photo: Michael Lucid

Before 2015, there were a total of 12 throws further than 135' in Empire discus history (3 of them Scranton's already). This year, Allison Scranton threw 15 more. Due to her absolute domination of the all-time discus performances, 4th-place at the State Championships, and obliteration of the Empire Record in the discus, Allison Scranton is our 2015 Co-Athlete of the Year!

Scranton got her season started at the low-key Windsor Relays, capturing both throwing events by a huge margin. The marks of 34'7" and 126'10" weren't PRs, but they were easily the best on the yearly list and showed that, just like last year, Allison would be a force to be reckoned with. But it wasn't until the Stanford Invitational where she really came back into top form. There she uncorked a huge 137'2", which was, at the time, the 7th best performance in Empire History, and further than all but one other Empire Athlete had ever thrown. Yet by season's end, Allison would throw further than this another 10 times. Additionally, she threw a solid 35'3.75 in the shot put to stay competitive as a two-event athlete.

After a few other 135+ throws, Allison unleashed a big one at a little dual-meet with Piner. But the small stage didn't matter, as her 143'9" was the second-best throw ever in Empire History, and just 6 inches of the Empire Record. Things were looking very promising for a record attempt in the post season.

She started things off with by easily winning the Sonoma County League Championship title in both the discus and the shot put, leading the Trojans to the team title. Her put of 36'7" took the win by over 3 feet, but unsurprisingly the big noise was in the discus. There she managed another 140'+ throw, getting out to 141'11". Only her throw a week prior and Kathleen Durand's then-Empire Record of 144'3" were further. And while she didn't get past 140' at the NCS Regional, she easily captured the discus win (138'), plus a solid second in the shot (38'0.25") to advance in both to the NCS MOC. On day one of the Meet of Champions, Allison set a personal best in the shot of 38'6" to finish 7th in the final. But her main event was on day two. As she has consistently been doing all year, she threw another mid-130', this time 136'3" for 2nd. That gave her nearly a 10-foot margin over 4th to easily qualify for the State Championships. While she was 7th in the prelims to just advance to the finals, her best of 135'9" didn't give any idea of what was to come on day two.

And then she took her first throw of the finals: 148'5". That shattered the Empire Record by over 4 feet and put her in medal position. And then she took her second throw: 149'4". What a long-lasting Empire Record that first one was! While she didn't break her Empire Record again, she did finish with a 145'1", which would have been better than the old mark before she began her series. So the three best throws in Empire History, on the same day, to place 4th at the State Championships. Not a bad way to cap senior year.

Nicholas Rauch, Casa Grande, senior

Nicholas Rauch - photo: Michael Lucid

For the second straight year, Nicholas Rauch qualified for the CIF State Championships. And while he elected to only go in one event, he actually qualified twice. In virtue of his two State-Qualifying performances, year-long middle-distance dominance, and all-time caliber marks, Nicholas Rauch is our 2015 Athlete of the Year!

Nicholas's season started off decently at the season-opening Big Cat Invite, but without showing the true greatness to be expected all year. He did win the 800m by over a second, but in a, for him, pedestrian time. And his double back to the 3,200m left much to be desired, as he was over a minute off the win. But before the month was over he found himself as the then-NCS leader in both the 1,600m and the 800m, thanks to a monster double at the Dublin Distance Fiesta. There he broke 4:20 for the first time of the season, a feat no other Empire Athlete was able to achieve all year, in clocking 4:19.20 to win by 4 seconds. While he "only" won by a bit over a second in the 800m, the time of 1:56.17 is arguably even more impressive. At this point there was no doubt that Nicholas was not just an Empire star, but a section-wide star as well. And then, in one of the last regular-season meets of the year, he scorched a 1:54.28 for second at the Sacramento Meet of Champions, making him one of only 18 Empire athletes to ever break that 1:55 barrier.

From then on, it was all about the medals. Running three of the first five individual races of the North Bay League Championships, Rauch took home two victories (1,600m and 800m) plus a runner-up medal (400m). If that triple wasn't difficult enough, he had a solid carry on the Gaucho's 4x400m relay to eek out a third place finish. From there, it became more about qualifying, where a top-7 finish at the Redwood Empire Regional would send him to the NCS Meet of Champions. He comfortably advanced with a 4th in the 1,600m, but still blasted a 1:56.37 800m to not just comfortably qualify but take the regional title as well.

And then came the NCS MOC. The grueling event not only had trials and finals on back-to-back days, but only the top three athletes in the entire North Coast Section would advance to the State Championships. After only placing 4th in the Redwood meet at 1,600m, did he have a chance at top-3 here? Would he be able to carry his 800m success on to a State berth? Yes and yes. Slightly surprisingly, it was the 1,600m in which he finished higher, as he captured 2nd 4:17.61. But he also made it through in the 800m, finishing 3rd just off his PR in 1:54.46. And while he had the opportunity to advance in two events, Nicholas decided to cap his Gaucho career focusing solely on the 800m. And while he made a valiant effort, he was unable to make the final, placing 7th in his heat in 1:56.13. But even if the final race wasn't stellar by his lofty standards, the overall body of work makes for one fine senior campaign!

Kirsten Carter, Santa Rosa, freshman

Kirsten Carter - photo: Michael Lucid

The times that Kirsten Carter threw down would turn heads no matter the grade, but it was made all the more impressive as she was just a freshman. Add in that she was a state finalist in an event she only took up halfway through the season, and this was a season for the ages. Thanks to setting records in the 200m and 400m, as well as contesting both at the State Championships, Kirsten Carter is our 2015 Co-Athlete of the Year!

Kirsten started her high-school campaign in a big, big way at the season-opening Big Cat Invite on her home track. There she torched a 12.32 wind-legal 100m, bringing her into the top-10 All-time in her very first HS race. And her one field event went pretty dang well too, as she leaped to a monstrous 18'11" long jump, the third furthest in Empire History. Both marks were, unsurprisingly, freshman records as well. And in a sign of things to come, she reportedly split sub-58 in the 4x400 relay to end the meet.

While Big Cat may have been her local coming out party, Kirsten made a name for herself at the state level at the prestigious Stanford Invitational. On the first day of the meet, she won the long jump in 18'10", into a headwind! And on day two, she came within 1/20th of a second of the Empire Record for 100m. She was the top qualifier in the prelims in 12.19, tying for 4th in Empire History. And then she came back for 4th in the final, clocking 12.59 into a -1.1 m/s headwind. Just one week later, she continued her success at the Santa Rosa Twilight Invitational, winning the 100m in 12.26, which was a Meet Record by over 3/4 of a second. But the big news was in the 200m. Second place could only get within 2.5 seconds of Kirsten as she obliterated not only the Meet Record, but the Empire Record as well. Her 24.44 was run into a headwind (-0.4 m/s), yet was over a quarter-second faster than the old record, run with a big tail wind. Only the last two record-holders, Alyssa Page and Jenna Lowder, had run within one second of Kirsten's run! This would be the first of her record 6 sub-25 second clockings. Only two others have ever broken that barrier, with only Page's former Empire Record wind-legal (as were all of Kristen's). And if being the dominate force in the Empire for the 100m, 200m, and long jump weren't enough, Kirsten tried her hand at the open 400m at the final regular-season NBL meet, easily winning by over 6 seconds in 60.3 But given her success in the shorter events and her impressive relay legs, everyone knew more was to come.

And we didn't have to wait long to see what Kirsten could do at 400m. Choosing to drop the 100m, where she was one of the top ever in the Empire, must have been a tough choice, but she was instantly rewarded with an North Bay League Championship title in 57.93, then the 11th fastest mark ever. But of course that wasn't enough, as she had to go back and dominate the 200m yet again, running the then-3rd best ever performance of 24.84. Add in second in the long jump and a reportedly 55-mid split in the winning 4x400m and you have yourself a very good league championships! Yet somehow she did even better at the Redwood Empire Regional, as she won the long jump in addition to her 400m, 200m, and 4x400m titles. And while the 200m was hand-timed and over the legal wind limit (+2.6 m/s), she torched the fastest all-conditions mark ever in Empire History with a 23.8h.

Unsurprisingly, Kirsten dropped the long jump to focus on her sprints at the North Coast Section Meet of Champions, as only the top-3 would advance to state. Well, she didn't have any problem with qualifying, as she won the 400m and took 2nd in the 200m. In the 400m prelims, she ran the then-second fastest time in Empire history of 55.20, just .08 off the Empire Record. Well, until the finals, where she cut .9 seconds off the ER, clocking 54.24 for the NCS MOC title and the then-2nd-fastest mark in California for 2015. Her 200m final was a very impressive 24.36 into a -1.0 m/s headwind.

All that left was the State Championships. On Day one, Carter won her heat in 54.94, the third fastest time of the day. However, she missed advancing in the 200m, despite running faster than any other Empire Athlete before her thanks to her 24.54. Unfortunately, the long season must have taken its toll on her, as the final did not go as hoped, and she finished last just over 60 seconds. But even one sub-par race wouldn't blemish one of the greatest freshman campaigns in Empire History, and we cannot wait to see what the next three years bring!

NCS Meet of Champions

Isabel Garon, Sonoma Valley, junior

Isabel Garon - photo: Michael Lucid

There were a total of seven spots to qualify from NCS Redwood Empire to the NCS Meet of Champions, and Isabel Garon only made that 7th spot on fewer misses. So to go from that to try to earn a top-3 finish at NCS MOC, and with it a state meet berth, may have seemed a little far-fetched. Well she not only earned a State Meet berth, but was crowned the NCS MOC champion. She cleared 11'4" to win by four inches. While it's one inch below her season's best, only six other Empire athlete have ever jumped higher. Now the focus turns to state where, historically, it takes much more than 11'4" to make the final. But then again, historically athletes who barely qualify for MOC are far from a making State, let alone taking the win!

Brian Schultz, El Molino, sophomore

Brian Schultz - photo: Michael Lucid

From 16th at the NCS MOC in 2014 to 6th this year, Brian Schultz capped off a solid sophomore campaign last weekend at UC Berkeley. In a very competitive race (video here), Schultz held on gamely to earn the final medal and a new PR of 9:24.31. That mark not only solidifies his school record, but puts him into the top-20 All-Time in the history of the Redwood Empire. Just a sophomore, it should be no surprise to see him in the single-digits when all is said and done. Only two Empire runners have ever gone faster as sophomores, Luis Luna and Sterling Lockert, who ended their prep careers with 8:55 and 9:01 PR's, respectively. So while the 2015 season may be done for Schultz, the future is incredibly bright for this El Molino Lion.

North Coast Section Qualifying

Ian Herculson, Maria Carrillo, junior

Ian Herculson - photo: Michael Lucid

Three races, three berths to the NCS Meet of Champions for Ian Herculson. One of the more improved athletes of this T&F season, Herculson went from an 11.5+ second sprinter last year to this weekend's 11.00 at last weekend's NBL Championships, and followed that up with a solid 11.14 (wind +0.2 m/s) at the NCS Redwood Empire meet. That mark placed him 2nd, easily advancing (top 7 advance), one of only two underclassmen to do so. The same could be said for the 200m, where Ian finished 4th in 22.48 (wind +1.2 m/s). But even with two individual tickets punched, the day wasn't over, as he was the only underclassman on Maria Carrillo's 4x100m relay. Their time of 43.22 is an Empire lead and gave them the win by one one-hundreth of a second. Aided largely by Herculson's Herculean performance, Maria Carrillo handily won the team title.

Emma Orosz, Montgomery, sophomore

Emma Orosz - photo: Michael Lucid

Emma's competitors should be quite happy there is a four-event limit at HS T&F meets. At the NCS Redwood Empire regional, he Montgomery sophomore competed four times, and four times earned a spot to compete at the State-Qualifying NCS Meet of Champions at UC Berkeley. Her day started with the 4x100m relay, where her Viking squad placed 4th in 50.91. The top seven advance to the NCS MOC. Her first individual event of the day was the 100m, where she clocked 12.76 (wind +1.7 m/s) for 2nd place. That was followed up by a wind-aided (+2.6) 26.1 in the 200m, good for 4th in her heat and 6th overall. Again, she earned a spot at Berkeley. Finally she ran a leg on Montgomery's 4x400m relay, which managed the final qualifying spot in 4:10.29. Looks like another busy day ahead for the Viking sophomore this weekend!

Coastal Mountain Conference Championships

Julia DeVincenzi, St. Helena, junior

Julia DeVincenzi - photo: Michael Lucid

Coming into the 2015 Coastal Mountain Conference Championships, the meet record in the 100m hurdles was 16.00. Now, that record is 15.53. But the record-holder remains the same: Julia DeVincenzi. She won her race by a ridiculous 1.6 seconds (that's over 10 percent!), so it's really only fair to compare her to all-time greats. That is the 7th fastest time ever run, regardless of wind, hand-timed, etc, in the history of the Redwood Empire. It also leads the Empire for 2015. In addition to her huge record run, she also easily captured the long hurdles, clocking 48.99 to win by over 2 seconds.

Remy Barbero, Sonoma Academy, sophomore

Remy Barbero - picture needed

Though just a sophomore, Remy Barbero made a big splash at the Coastal Mountain Conference Championships, taking home two titles. He handily won the long jump, with his 19'5" over a foot further than 2nd place. And while the margin of victory was a bit closer in the triple jump, he still convincingly won with a 39'1.5" jump. For good measure, he took 3rd in the 100m in 12.18, after running the fastest time in the heats of 11.31, which sits 9th on the yearly Empire list. Additionally, he sits 5th on the yearly long jump list from an earlier jump as well.

Sonoma County League Championships

Aidan Kozel, Healdsburg, senior

Aidan Kozel - photo: Michael Lucid

Not confined to just the track or just the field, Aidan had a busy day at the Sonoma County League Championships. He took home four medals, with a win both in the field and on the track. In the long jump, he won a very close competition, jumping 20'1". Margin of victory: one inch! He also went 40'8" in the TJ for 5th. On the track, he dominated the short hurdles, clocking 16.47 (wind +1.2 m/s). He was the only athlete to crack 17 seconds. The long hurdles were also close, with the top 4 separated by less than 6/10ths of a second, though it was Kozel 4th in 42.83. While that was a busy day, he has the same schedule ahead of him at the upcoming Redwood Empire Championships, which should push him to big times, especially in the 110m hurdles where he is easily head and shoulders the best in the SCL.

Amy Stanfield, Sonoma Valley, freshman

Amy Stanfield - photo: Michael Lucid

Making a final or two is usually quite the accomplishment for a freshman, but winning a league title? Well, super-frosh Amy Stanfield of Sonoma took home THREE titles at the Sonoma County League Championships! While winning the 800m and 1,600m is not a terribly uncommon doubles as far as doubles go, Amy added the 400m to her triple-crown. That meant that she had only one event to recover between each of her races (the short-hurdles after the 1,600m and before the 400m and the 100m after the 400m and before the 800m). Wow! She comfortably won the 1,600m, running 5:21.76 to win by over 5 seconds. The 400m came down to less than half a second, but Amy managed the win in 61:09. Finally she won the 800m by over a second in 2:26.20. (Presumably she ran a leg on Sonoma's 3rd-place 4x400m relay as well.) Unsurprisingly, Amy is the SCL leader in all three events this season, and currently sits 3rd on the yearly 400m Empire list. She'll be racing that, as well as the 1,600m and 4x400m relay, at the upcoming Redwood Empire Championships. And of course many more times during her prep career!

North Bay League Championships

Stephanie Fernandez, Montgomery, senior

Stephanie Fernandez - photo: Michael Lucid

Stephanie took home quite a bit of hardware at her final North Bay League Championships, capturing the 300m hurdle title, 5th in the short hurdles, and running a leg for Montgomery's second-place 4x400m relay. Easily the biggest accomplishment there was her win in the long hurdles. In a close battle (she won by only 0.09 seconds), Stephanie made her mark on the Empire History, clocking 46.01 to move to 11th all-time in the history of the Redwood Empire. It also gives her the Montgomery school record by a full second. In the long relay, Montgomery lost a close one, but still clocked 4:06.42, to place 32nd on the all-time Empire list.

Tommy Streb, Cardinal Newman, senior

Tommy Streb - photo: Michael Lucid

Sprint races often come down to mere hundredths of a second, and for Tommy Streb those hundredths couldn't have worked out better. Competing in the League Championships of his prep career, Streb captured two North Bay League titles, capturing the 100m and the 200m by a combined 0.07 seconds. While any title is impressive, one would assume the win in the "century" is the biggie for Streb. There he ran 10.97, cracking that huge 11-scond barrier, a mark broken only by 35 athletes in Empire History, with Streb the first ever from Cardinal Newman. For marks that were wind-legel and FAT, that puts him in a tie for 6th ever in the Empire. And the wind was only +0.2 m/s! While he only won the 100m by 0.03 seconds, his 200m crown was, in a relative sense, even tighter. He crossed the line only 0.04 seconds ahead of 2nd, clocking 22.41, again with a small, legal wind (+0.5 m/s). That mark puts him 27th on the all-time Empire FAT List, and 12th FAT + wind-legal. While the races may have only totaled just over 30 seconds, the glory should certainly last significantly longer!

Week Ten

Malcolm Jenkins, Analy, senior

Malcom Jenkins - photo: Michael Lucid

Malcolm Jenkins ended the regular season in style, winning thrice in the jumps, helping Analy defeat Healdsburg. While he may not have set personal bests, he certainly is setting himself up as a favorite for some very high finishes at the SCL Champs. Currently ranked #2 in the Empire and #1 in the long jump, he nearly reached 20 feet, going 19'6.5". He tied his best HJ with a 5'10" clearance, a mark that ties him for the SCL lead. Rounding out his wins was a 39'3" in the triple jump, another event where he's ranked #2 in the SCL.

Itzel Gonzales, Piner, junior

Itzel Gonzales - photo: Michael Lucid

At her last league meet of the season, Itzel Gonzales showed she's going to be a big threat at the upcoming SCL Championships. Twice on the track and twice in the field, Itzel took home the win. On the track, she took the 100m in 12.9h and the 200m in 25.9h. That 200m, with hand-timed conversion, puts her at (and the SCL lead by a lot) and just cracked the top-50 AT in Empire History. In the field, she took the long jump in 15'10" and the triple in 32'9", winning each by over a foot. Which events she'll focus on come SCL Champs could be very interesting!

Week Nine

Natalie Gilmore, Petaluma, senior

Natalie Gilmore - photo: Michael Lucid

You don't often see top all-time marks at dual meets, but that didn't stop Gilmore from launching herself to new hights as Petaluma defeated Piner last week in an SCL Dual. There she cleared 11'1" in the pole vault, making her way back up to a tie for #10 AT, which is the position she held coming into the year, before being bumped down earlier in the season. This new height bodes well as Gilmore looks to defend her SCL title from last season, and possibly take a stab at a State berth next month. Last year she was 5th at the NCS MOC (3 advance), but in the pole vault, anything can happen!

Dan Curren, Petaluma, senior

Dan Curren - photo: Michael Lucid

Curren unquestionably had a solid season last year, earning runner-up honors at the SCL Champs and taking some invite wins. However, he's moved from the ranks of quality-vaulter to all-timer, now that he's cleared that 14-foot barrier. Winning by over 4 feet in an SCL dual versus Piner, Curren went 14'1" to move all the way up to a tie for 20th on the All-Time Empire list. That also gives him the yearly Empire Lead by over half a foot. While his silver may have been nice, SCL gold looks like a very real possibility next week!

Week Eight

Isazah King, Lower Lake, senior

Isazah King - photo: Michael Lucid

Competing against large schools from the NBL and beyond, Isazah King showed that you cant count out the little guys, as he torched the sprints at the Viking Invite. He crushed the field in the 200m, running 22.72 (+2.7 m/s), with no one else able to better 23 seconds. That mark easily makes him the fastest CMC athlete of the year, and #2 on the Empire list. It also squeaked into the top-50 FAT in Empire history. And all of that was after his 100m, where he was a solid second in 11.32 (+2.2 m/s) for another CMC leader. Of course, we shouldn't also forget his busy Wednesday, winning both the 100m and 200m at Ft. Bragg, plus a 2nd place finish in the HJ. Needless to say, he certainly looks well on his way to a double title defense come CMC champs.

Alyssa Stewart, Windsor, junior

Alyssa Stewart - photo: Michael Lucid

Saturday must have been a very long day for Windsor's Alyssa Stewart. Two track races or two field events at the Viking Invite would have been a lot for most anyone, but Stewart did that double-double, competing in the 4x100m, 100m, long jump, and triple jump. It was in that last one where she truly made a splash, leaping out to 35'4.5", and landing in a tie for 24th on the All-Time Empire List. That earned her the win by nearly a foot. On the track, she helped Windsor to a close 2nd place finish in the 4x100m, where they lost by less than a tenth in 50.77. She also placed 6th in the LJ (15'7") and 7th in the 100m (13.10).

Week Seven

Rebecca Plattus, Maria Carrillo, junior

Rebecca Plattus - photo: Michael Lucid

Rebecca Plattus was a triple winner for the Pumas on Wednesday, helping Maria Carrillo defeat Ukiah in the first NBL meet of the season. While she won the Long Jump (15'1.25") and Triple Jump (31'3") by just under and just over a foot, respectively, her big splash came in the High Jump. Last year's NBL runner-up hit a big PR in clearing 5'2.5". That mark puts her in a tie for 37th in the history of the Redwood Empire. It of course also leads the Empire this year.

Delano Bell, Santa Rosa, junior

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In Santa Rosa's first NBL meet of the season, Delano Bell scored wins in both throws to help lead the Panthers to victory. He hit 44'1" in the shot put, good enough to win by over a foot. His margin of victory in the discus, however, surpassed 15 feet, as he crushed the 140-foot barrier, going all the way to 144'5". That mark gives him the yearly Empire lead, and, despite this being the first league meet of the year, already ties his best from last season.

Week Six

Justin Zinnerman, Rancho Cotate, senior

Justin Zinnerman - photo: Michael Lucid

One year ago, Justin Zinnerman set a Meet Record in the High Jump at the SR Twilight Invitational, clearing 6'2". While an amazing performance for most, you'd have to think the NCS MOC champ was a bit disappointed. Well this weekend he was back to his own personal stratosphere, crushing his old MR and winning by over half a foot, thanks to his clearance at 6'7". If he didn't already get into the top-10 all-time in last year's post-season, this would have put him in the top-20 ever in the Empire. And it wasn't only the HJ in which Justin impressed; he also had solid runs on the track. Running into a headwind for both, he placed 3rd in the Invite 100m (11.49, w:-0,7) and 4th in the 200m (23.95, w:-1.0). Quite the triple for the Rancho Cotate senior!

Delaney White, Santa Rosa, junior

Delaney White - photo: Michael Lucid

Delaney was a double winner at the moderately new but quite competitive Santa Rosa Twilight Invitational, crossing the line first in both the 1,600m and the 3,200m. In her first race, the Invitational 1,600m, White clocked an impressive 5:11.79 to absolutely destroy the meet record by over 10 seconds. This mark puts her onto the All-Time Empire list, currently at #44. While she missed the Invite 3,200m record by just about a second, Delaney successfully defended her 2014 Twilight Invite title to complete the 2015 double, winning by over seven seconds. This certainly bodes well for her double-double attempt at the NBL Championships come the post-season!

Week Five

Rylee Bowen, Sonoma Academy, freshman

Rylee Bowen - photo: Thomas Benjamin

In the history of the Redwood Empire, only 13 girls have run under 5 minutes for 1,600m. On Saturday at the Stanford Invite, Rylee Bowen joined that exclusive club with a 4:57.52 full mile, winning her heat and taking 3rd overall. And that was only her second best mark of the weekend. On Friday, Rylee lined up in the highly competitive Stanford Invite 3,000m (video), where she took the win in a thrilling battle down the homestretch. Her time of 9:49.31 leads the nation for 2015, and sits behind only national XC champs Sara Bei and Julia Stamps on the All-Time Empire list. While her state XC title came against a weaker Division 5 field, Rylee is certainly making a case to be one of California's top runners of any division, in any grade, so don't be shocked to see some T&F State hardware come season's end.

Alex Netherda, Maria Carrillo, senior

Alex Netherda - photo: Michael Lucid

It's no stretch to say Alex Netherda is one of the Redwood Empire's most accomplished long hurdlers. He has the Empire freshman record. He's #2 on the sophomore list. Back to #1 on the junior list. And that mark as a junior puts him #4 overall in Redwood Empire history. Where will he end up come season's end? It's impossible to tell, but on the strength of his 400m hurdle at this weekend's Stanford Invite (video), we're not ruling anything out. While HSers typically race the 300m hurdle, this is one of the few meets of the year where they can step up to the collegiate and professional distance of 400m hurdles, which is often in the discussion for the most grueling event on the track. And he faired mightily well, placing 2nd in the race and 5th on the all-time Empire list. While that may have been enough for day one, Alex came back for double relay duty on Saturday, running a leg on both the 4x100m and the 4x400m. In the longer race, he was integral to the Pumas clocking an Empire-leading 3:28.87. Not a bad weekend, especially given he couldn't even race his main event!

Week Four

Will Smith, Willits, junior

Will Smith - photo: Michael Lucid

Given he's the defending CMC champ in both shot put and discus it shouldn't be too much of a surprise that Will Smith absolutely dominated the throws at Wednesday's five-way meet at Fort Bragg. But that certainly doesn't make it any less impressive. His 43'10" in the shot won the competition by over 7 feet. But it was his discus throw of 141'1" that wow'd the competition. He won by nearly 50 feet, a ridiculous feet in and of itself, and his mark is currently leading the Empire for 2015. Expect Smith to defend both CMC titles this year, and be more than just a field-filler come NCS MOC.

Makayla Mix, Fort Bragg, junior

Makayla Mix - photo: Michael Lucid

Makayla made a mark on the CMC last year, as evidenced by her conference title. But after her dominating performance at Wednesday's five-way meet at Fort Bragg, Makayla has made her mark on the entire Redwood Empire. Not only did her put of 37'10.5" give her the Empire lead by over two feet, it moved her to 24th All-Time in the Empire. Not only did she win the shot by over 6 feet, but she took the discus by over 20, throwing 111'6". That mark leads the CMC and sits her second in the Empire for 2015, behind only reigning Athlete of the Year. Given how this season has started, a medal or two is not out of the question come NCS MOC.

Week Three

Maddie Call, Windsor, sophomore

Maddie Call - photo: Michael Lucid

In the history of the Redwood Empire, less than 30 girls have ever run 16 seconds or better for the 100m hurdles. This past week, Maddie Call achieved that feat. Twice. Her week started with a convincing win at Montgomery HS, where she ran 16 seconds to win by over a second. Given that the meet was hand-timed, one wouldn't faulted for thinking maybe something was up. Well, until she did it again with fully automatic timing on Saturday. At the Chip Castleberry invite, Call was officially timed at 15.99, making there be no doubt that this sophomore is a major player in Empire hurdling. She again got the win by over a second, though 2nd place Tori Mollard did turn the tables in the 300m hurdles, beating Call 50.06 to 50.44. But we have to look past her hurdling as well. That's right, Call isn't just a force on the track, but in the field as well. At Montgomery she also captured the long jump by over 3 feet, going 16'4", a mark bettered only once so far this year.

Nicholas Rauch, Casa Grande, senior

Nicholas Rauch - photo: Michael Lucid - running.blogs.pressdemocrat.com

Watching the home straight at the Dublin Distance Fiesta, arguably the biggest distance/middle-distance invite of the early season, you'd be forgiven for thinking you had deja vu. After a 20-heat build-up, Rauch towed the line with the other top NorCal milers in the 21st and fastest heat of the 1,600m, but this was no contest. Rauch got the win in 4:19.20, exactly four seconds than the runner-up. And he was similarly dominant in heat 28/28 of the 800m, winning by over a second in 1:56.17. Both times not only lead the Empire this year, but the North Coast Section as well. And while the NCS Meet of Champions is still a ways off, Rauch may have to start thinking about which event he wishes to compete at the State Meet. Don't forget last year, only a junior, Rauch qualified in the 1,600m, and just missed a second trip in the 800m. So we don't know what exactly his future holds, but we're pretty sure "State Meet" will be on the bib somewhere.

Week Two

Geddi Tavaras, Windsor, senior

Geddi Tavaras - photo: running.blogs.pressdemocrat.com

Normally an athlete who places 5th (39'0.5" in the triple jump) at an early season (Windsor Relays) invite doesn't earn AotW honors. But he had a much bigger splash in the long jump, taking a close win in 19'8.75". Of course, both pale in comparison to his win in the high hurdles. We're not sure what's more impressive. Winning by over a second, or his time of 15.83. Well, that time ties him for 20th all-time FAT wind-legal in the Redwood Empire, so we're leaning that way. Still, expect to see Geddi attack that 15.5 barrier; after all, he did run a wind-aided 15.54 last year!

Allison Scranton, Petaluma, senior

Allison Scranton - photo: running.blogs.pressdemocrat.com

Allison didn't move up on the all-time lists this weekend, or set any personal bests. But when you're the 2nd furthest thrower in Empire History, the reigning Athlete of the Year, and a California State Medalist, well, we can't hold it against you. Allison unsurprisingly dominated the discus at the Windsor Relays, throwing 126'10". If she hadn't thrown a ridiculous 141'3" last year, that would have been good enough to be 8th all-time. Not too bad for the second week of the season! And she's not just a one-event star; Allison took the weight double 34'7" in the shot put. That was over 5 feet beyond 2nd place. Both throws unsurprisingly lead the Empire this year.

Week One

Kirsten Carter, Santa Rosa, freshman

Kirsten Carter - photo: Michael Lucid / for the Press Democrat

Winning an event at a large invitational is a big deal for anyone. But to win two individual events and anchor the winning 1,600m relay, well, that's a great way to cap a senior season. So what do you say when that is the first ever meet for a freshman?! In her first race ever as a Santa Rosa Panther, Kristen Carter has shown she can be a force to be reckoned with for the next four years. She ran a scintillating 57-high split on the winning 4x400m relay, as well as posting a dominant win in the 100m dash. Her time of 12.32 not only won by a ridiculous half-second, but set the Santa Rosa school-record, and is the 6th fastest ever in the Redwood Empire. But the highlight of the meet had to have been her 18'11" long jump. That's over a foot longer than the old freshman record, and puts her third for all grades in the history of the Redwood Empire. She jumped just a quarter of an inch shorter the 30 year old SRHS record, and over a foot longer than anyone else has in the last decade.

Lani Gaspar, El Molino, senior

Lani Gaspar 2014 - photo: running.blogs.pressdemocrat

Three has got to be Lani Gaspar's lucky number. Three wins, three jumps (okay okay, a hop, a skip, and a jump) made for one impressive season opener. Lani took the 100m dash by a full quarter-second, clocking 11.06, the 9th fastest wind-legal time ever. In the 200m, he absolutely shattered the old school record of 22.90 (set by, you guessed it Lani Gaspar 2014), running 22.07, to win by over a second. That mark ties him for 6th fastest FAT/wind-legal in Empire history. But Lani doesn't only have speed; he has pop. He torched the competition in the triple jump hitting 42'8.5" to win by nearly two feet.

  Athlete of the Week
Previous Seasons

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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.