LOS ANGELES — The Atascadero Greyhounds sent eight athletes from their track and field team to the Los Angeles area last Saturday for the California Division 3 Southern Section Prelims. Of the eight athletes who competed in the orange and grey last weekend, only Xavier Gonzales has advanced to the finals by finishing ninth in the 3200-meters with a time of 9:41.28.
While the Hounds are only sending a single athlete to CIF finals this year, the future seems bright for the program considering all four of the individual competitors Atascadero sent will be returning next year and two of them were underclassmen.
Saturday was only the second time all year that Gonzales ran the 3200-meters and the third in his life. On only his second try (at the PAC 8 finals) he broke a 37-year-old Atascadero record held by Greg Baxter by running a 9:34.63. Baxter technically ran the two-mile and Gonzales ran the 3200-meter — there is about a ten-meter difference but the two-mile is no longer ran in high school.
Even with breaking a record set in 1981 and advancing to CIF finals, Gonzales was yet to run his fastest race. Two days before PAC 8 finals, Gonzales was stung by a bee on his foot. Worried about soreness, he pulled out of the 1600-meters to focus solely on the 3200-meters which he and his coaches decided was the smartest choice.
Last weekend, Gonzales ran a bit slower, but for good reason.
“About 800 into the race I realized my shoe wasn't tied, so I ran a mile and a half with an untied shoe,” he said. “I thought about kicking it off, but I wasn’t sure if that would be best for my foot and I’ve never raced with a shoe off before so I just decided to just run with it.”
The Greyhounds could easily see another 3200-meters record set this weekend if Gonzales is able to put together a perfect race.
Claire Livengood also represented the Greyhounds distance team at Prelims. Livengood qualified after running a personal best and finished third overall in the 1600-meter at PAC 8 finals. Livengood was not able to match her best time from the PAC 8 finals but did finish third in her heat. Unfortunately for Livengood, her heat was one of the slower ones and she finished in 17th overall with a time of 5:21.09.
The Greyhounds also sent a pair of sophomore’s to the CIF Prelims this week in Katie Kershner and Wyatt Hasch. Kershner qualified for the Prelims in the 300-meter hurdles after finishing third at PAC 8 finals, and Hasch finished second in the PAC 8 in the high jump with a mark of 5-10.
Kershner ran a slightly slower
Atascadero’s 4x400 team of Tyson Fischer, Max Botenbal, Kyle Spurgeon, and Austin Erb qualified for the prelims by finishing third at the PAC 8 finals and finished with a time fo 3:38.06 in 22nd overall.