Prep Track Season Enters League Meets

Posted By Press Democrat Staff Writer Michael Coit:

After weeks of toiling on ovals and in pits, North Coast track athletes accelerate their efforts with league meets opening this week.

Danielle Steffen

A new crop of emerging talents will reveal themselves. Established standouts already have shown in early competitions they are primed to improve on performances that led to top section finishes and even state meet berths a year ago.

The depth going into the dual and tri meet season is impressive. The following are snapshots of the regions’ best including last season’s final marks.

*Danielle Steffen, Petaluma, pole vault — 12th place NCS. Soaring over the 11 foot 8 inch height at the Petaluma-Sonoma Valley-Rancho Cotate meet in March, she is behind only Michelle Stone in the Empire record books. Steffen has more 11 foot clearances than any vaulter other than Stone.

*Luis Luna, Piner, 3,200 meters — 3rd NCS/25th CIF. Running the college 3,000 meter distance at the Stanford Invitational last month, Luna finished second in the third best Empire time for the distance at 8:34.81.

*Forrest Shaffer, Petaluma, 3,200 meters — 12th NCS. Petaluma High’s charismatic runner was just off Luna’s pace at Stanford in the 3,000 meter race.

*Hiedi Hirvonen, Maria Carrillo, 400 Hurdles.  Her 69.63 at the Stanford Invitational was ninth for the Empire all time, following one of the top 300 hurdles ever a year ago.

*Caleb Cunha, Fort Bragg, 300 hurdles — 6th NCS.  Recording the Empire’s third best all-time mark for the 400 meter hurdles at the Stanford invitational, Cunha aims to move up the region’s record books.

*Lauren Kraus, Maria Carrillo, 3,200 meters — 9th NCS. With a sixth place finish at the Stanford invitational, Kraus looks for an injury free track season.

*Nicole Lane, El Molino, 3,200 meters. Lane was on the heels of Kraus at Stanford and is a small school standout.

*Laurel Shepperd, Maria Carrillo, long jump — 12th NCS. Flying 15 feet 10 ¾ inches at the Big Cat Invitational at Santa Rosa High in March, the Pumas jumper has the speed and length to move up the Empire record books.

*Bryan Nunez, Cardinal Newman, 400 meters — 10th NCS.

*Travis Baker, Santa Rosa, discus — 9th NCS.

*Ben Tarango, Casa Grande, 1,600 meters — 8th NCS.

*Adam Lundquist, Casa Grande, 110 meter hurdles — 13th NCS.

*Andrew Kozel, Healdsburg, 400 meters and 200 meters.

*Kathleen Durand, Maria Carrillo, discus — 3rd NCS/19th CIF.

*Eva Luu, Casa Grande, 800 meters — 10th NCS.

*Alyssa Page, Montgomery, 100 meters — 5th NCS/200 meters 8th NCS.

*Courtney Tuck, Petaluma, high jump — 3rd NCS/13th CIF.

*Elaine Weaver, Casa Grande, shot putt — 6th NCS/discus 7th NCS.

*Kiana Herold, Sonoma Academy, high jump — 5th NCS.