Speedy seven sprint through CCS semis

May 17, 2019 — by Allison Hartley and Nitya Marimuthu

Freshman Ashna Krishnamurthy shifted her weight from her left to her right foot, watching in anticipation as freshman Nicole Lu closed in on the white tape on the track by the 300 meter mark. As soon as Lu passed the tape, Krishnamurthy exploded into the straightaway, snapping her hand behind her to grab the baton from Lu.

Krishnamurthy was the last leg of the 4x100 meter relay. Despite being far from first, Krishnamurthy furiously sprinted in an effort to pass the other anchor runners before finish line, knowing it was an amazing feat to even be at the Central Coast Section (CCS) semi-finals.

Krishnamurthy managed to pass two other runners in the last 100 meters, finishing the race in 23rd place overall with a time of 51.95 seconds.

Seven athletes — freshmen Ashna Krishnamurthy, Nicole Lu and Giulio Morini-Bianzino, sophomore Shama Gupta, juniors Alex Taylor and Emma Hsu and senior Elizabeth Kardach — went to the CCS trials at Gilroy High School on May 11. Krishnamurthy, Lu, Gupta and Hsu raced as a team in the 4x100 relay; Morini-Bianzino competed in the long jump; Taylor raced in the 200 meter dash as well as the 100 meter dash and Kardach ran the 1600 meter event.

To qualify for this race, athletes had to place in the top six at the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League (SCVAL) qualifying meet. Twenty athletes from Saratoga qualified for the SCVAL meet.

For each event, the top 32 athletes/teams were chosen from the seven leagues involved, which was twice the amount of athletes at SCVAL finals and included only the top 16 athletes/teams per event. With over 100 schools at CCS semifinals, Krishnamurthy said the increase in competition surprised her.

Although none of the Saratoga athletes will move on to CCS finals, Kardach set a personal record (PR) for the 1600 meter run at 5:17.58, placing 16th overall. Taylor placed 24th in the 200m event with a time of 23.30s and 30th in the 100m event with a time of 11.54s. Morini-Bianzino placed 26th overall with a 20-feet jump in the long jump.

“I got there and I saw the top 32 [relay teams], and I was like ‘Wow, that’s a lot of schools’ and it was kind of overwhelming,” Krishnamurthy said.

Taylor was also surprised by the differences between SCVAL finals and CCS trials. He said that SCVAL has only two heats compared to the four heats at CCS. Due to the eight major leagues participating in CCS, schools from across central California came to the trials, some of which Taylor had never seen before.

“It was really weird seeing all these schools that I’ve never heard of before,” Taylor said.

In addition, Taylor said the fewer number of athletes from Saratoga caused the experience to vary greatly from SCVALS. As the other athletes had their races in the morning, Taylor was alone in his race during the afternoon.

“It was quite an experience going from SCVALs, where everyone is around you, to CCS, where no one is with you; it’s just the coaches,” Taylor said.

Despite these changes, both Krishnamurthy and Taylor were pleased with their own and the team’s overall performance at CCS trials. Although none of the athletes qualified for CCS finals, the experience was rewarding for the athletes. For Taylor, the experience of going to CCS was like a dream come true.   

“I always thought of CCS as kind of a dream — something that I will attain in the future, and that future came junior year, and I’m happy about that,” Taylor said.    

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