Track and field: Region’s best preps compete for spot in California state championships
A sprinter, two hurdlers, a two-lap grinder and two cruise-control distance runners each bounded to the top of the victory stand on Saturday afternoon in Davis within 90 minutes of each other.
Some of these Sacramento-area high school track and field stars know each other, and others were finding out in a hurry. Each of them shared the same theme of appreciation of a grueling season that included canceled meets due to rain and the elation of just how good it feels to still have some legs left to a season that ends May 26-27.
The Sac-Joaquin Section Masters championship meet was a rousing success with the top three finishers advancing to the CIF state championships in Clovis, where the times expect to get a great deal faster and the efforts equally as urgent.
Ian Dossman of Franklin of Elk Grove has burst onto the scene this season, putting a career of nagging leg injuries behind him, not to mention the field of late.
The Fullerton-bound Dossman won the boys 100- and 200-meter dashes in wind-aided efforts on the Dewey Halden track. He sizzled in the 100, finishing in 10.47 seconds to make him the fourth fastest Sacramento-area sprinter in regional history behind wind-legal efforts from all-time section record holder Jim McGee of Sacramento High in 1996 (10.45), R.J. Frasier of Jesuit in 2019 (10.46) and Kevin Willhite of Cordova in 1981 (10.46).
Dossman’s best coming in was the 10.53 he produced in winning the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I race the previous week in Folsom. He held off Gianni Miles of Rodriguez (10.54) and Xavier Bruce of Whitney (10.65) in the 100, and then took the 200 in 21.75.
“I’m just really proud,” said Dossman, a 3.75 GPA student who added that he was inspired by his grandfather, Craig Dossman, in the stands decades after running for Howard University.
The thing about track is people dig speed. Same at school.
“I’m known as the fast guy on campus,” Dossman said with a laugh.
Stephen Dahdouh of Pleasant Grove overcame pesky allergies and a runny nose to win the 110 hurdles in a wind-aided lifetime best 13.94 seconds, holding off Cameron Williams of Merrill West of Tracy (14.02) and Myles McFarland of Cosumnes Oaks (14.12).
Dahdouh later placed second in the 300 hurdles in a personal-best 38.41, second to Williams, who clocked a career-best 37.91. Dahdouh stands out because of his ability and his shock of red curly locks.
“I’m one of 13 kids, and my dad has red hair and my mom is Irish,” Dahdouh said, running his hand through that hair. “I’ve come a long way. I was fifth in this race here last year.”
The hurdles are not always kind. He pointed to a nasty gash on his knee from a hurdle clip from a previous race.
Keilee Hall of Christian Brothers doesn’t do anything slow, including roaring to victory in the 300 girls hurdles in a lifetime best 42.02, holding off a stacked field that included Yvette Harris of Lincoln of Stockton (42.74) and Giselle Kirchner of Rocklin (43.96).
Hall ran the second leg of the Falcons’ 4x100 relay that placed second in 47.80 seconds to Edison of Stockton’s 47.49. Kennedy was third at 48.17. Hall placed fourth in the 100 hurdles in 14.00 in a race that featured the state’s two fastest in Stockton stars Yvette Harris of Lincoln (13.63) and Kori Fields of St. Mary’s (13.75), all wind-aided times.
Hall also finished strong with one of the meet’s most inspired and gritty efforts. Running anchor, Hall gobbled up a lot of ground in the meet-ending 4x400 relay to give CB the win in a school-record and seasonal section-leading best 3:52.42. The first three legs were Devin Greer, Veronica White and Syndnie Watkins. Hall and friends were positively ecstatic in their effort and place in school history.
Headed to Arizona to run on scholarship, Hall said she is the fastest girl in her family, just ahead of her mother, Detoya Hall, who ran in high school and college.
“I think I can still run faster this season,” Hall said. “It’s just been so much fun. I enjoy it. Running gives me purpose and it makes me happy.”
The two-lap grinder
Lilly Escorcia of Elk Grove won a tight 800 in 2 minutes, 16.50 seconds, beating Summer Doyle of Rio Americano (2:16.74) and Theone Divinagracia of Franklin (2:17.70).
Headed to Sacramento State next season, Escorcia said she didn’t appreciate bolting twice around a track until something started to turn.
“I hated this race at first, until my junior season last year because I started winning,” Escorcia said. “It’s just so exciting. You win. You get better. You want to win some more.”
Katie Kopec of powerhouse Whitney was an inspiring double winner, taking the 1600 in 4:56.80, just off her lifetime best, and the 3200 as the sun set in 10:44.82.
That’s 12 laps of pacing, plotting and producing for the Oregon State-bound senior who excused herself from this interview to cheer on Whitney boys runners for a moment.
“I love the different dynamics of the two races and getting to see all the other runners,” Kopec said.
Running has been a way of life for Kopec and her father (and his father), she said. She also spoke glowingly of her school’s track program, praising the coaches and athletes on programs that have become section elite.
“We all go crazy cheering for each other,” she said.
In the 3200, Kopec held off Anna McNatt of McClatchy (10:51.33) and Brooke Butler of Oak Ridge (10:54.19). In the 1600, Norah Dulaney of Davis was second in 5:01.34 and Grace Dunham of St. Francis was third in 5:02.27.
Brandon Moreno of Jesuit repeated as Masters 1600 champion in 4:13.88, holding off Caleb Cavanaugh of Oakdale (4:15.21) and Ryan Martin of River City (4:15.73). Moreno graduated earlier in the day and ran a sizzling 1:53 anchor leg to give Jesuit a second-place showing in the first-ever 4x800 Masters race.
And with a passion for photography, Moreno snapped photos of other races and others on the victory stand.
“This is the best day of my life,” he said. “I’m absolutely pumped.”
More Whitney wonders
Ashanti Ellie won the girls high jump at 5 feet, 7 inches with Olivia Walker of Turlock second at 5-3 and Jade Tchouawou Nayap of Mira Loma also at 5-3.
Juliana Roberson of Whitney won the triple jump with a 38-foot, 2.5-inch leap and Sierra Foothill League rival Grace Sloan was third at 37-10.5.
Whitney won the first-held Masters girls 4x800 in 9:26.10 behind Isabel Soto, Grace Scott, Addison Ewers and Ava Kopec, edging St. Francis (9:26.91) and Granite Bay (9:31.36).
Other meet highlights:
▪ Ihe Okoh of Franklin won the girls 400 in 56.43.
▪ Devin Pereira of Rocklin won the 3200 in 9:08.10.
▪ Benjamin Condrin of Jesuit won the discus with a throw of 164 feet, 1 inch and teammate Matthew Palchak was fourth at 154-00.
▪ Maxwell McFarlane of Turlock took the pole vault at 15 feet with Benjamin Feyrer of Davis second at 14-9 and Collin Young of Jesuit third, also at 14-9 in a jump off.
▪ Davis won the first boys 4x800 in 8:01.75 behind Lucas Tam, Beckett Dolan, Brian Fackert and Jefferson Wright, holding off Jesuit (8:02.05) and Woodcreek (8:08.27).