State Track and Field: Maria Carrillo’s Durand medals in discus

By PETER FOURNIER
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Kathleen Durand skipped her graduation at Maria Carrillo High School on Friday to compete in the California Interscholastic Federation Track and Field Championships this weekend, hedging hopes on her longtime goal of possibly medaling at state.

“I would’ve skipped anything to go to state,” she said.

The reward made the sacrifice worth it, as Durand finished fourth in the girls discus final on Saturday.

“It was a great way to end high school and a great way to skip graduation,” Durand said.

Durand finished 10th in the preliminaries Friday with a 134-10 throw, but medaled with a toss of 144-03 in the finals, an increase of almost 10 feet overnight. She knew a throw of at least 140 was needed to get a medal.

Before the competition, Durand said, “If I make finals today, these will be my final six throws of my career and I just have to leave it all out there.”

She finished her high school career with a personal record; it was the best toss of her life. Her dad, Pumas throwers coach Joel Durand, didn’t know what to say.

“Oh my god,” Joel said. “I’m kind of speechless,” he said. “She did so amazing. She was super amazing today.”

Joel said Kathleen’s high mark may have sparked her rivals.

“When she threw that, it put her into second place, and it kind of woke up the other competitors,” he said.

Joel said he tried to calm Kathleen’s nerves after her throws on Friday, and reminded her that Saturday was it.

“Leave everything in the ring,” Joel said. “This was her last chance and she did it.”

Joel said Kathleen was posing with her cap, gown and medal after Saturday’s event. However, she wasn’t the only Puma to skip graduation. Fellow Maria Carrillo athletes Dontae Garcia and Herbie Polk skipped out on Pomp and Circumstance to compete this weekend. Neither qualified for the finals.

“Once we knew we were going to go (to state), it didn’t matter,” Durand said. “We knew we were going to state. It didn’t matter if graduation was that day.”

The three Pumas athletes had a small ceremony before Durand threw on Friday, complete with notes from Carrillo principal Rand Van Dyke, which were read to them by Pumas head track coach Ian Myers.

Sonoma Academy’s Kiana Herold finished eighth in the girls high jump finals Saturday. She finished with a 5-foot, 6-inch jump.

Herold said she was happy with that.

“It was great,” Herold said. “There’s not really a better way to go out than in the state finals and giving it your best.”

The Press Democrat’s Small-School Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Herold’s senior campaign was highlighted with a return from an ACL tear to win her first NCS Meet of Champions title and her first appearance at state.

“I was happy to be there in the finals period, and just wanted to do the best I could,” she said.

The other Empire athlete to qualify for Saturday’s finals was Healdsburg’s Helen Ann Haun, who finished ninth in the girls pole vault finals.

High school track and field

CIF State Championship

AT BUCHANAN HS, CLOVIS

Empire competitors

The following results are for all final events that include a competitor from the Redwood Empire.

Listed are the top 3 finishers for each event, the final medalist for the event (if no Empire athletes medaled), plus times for any Empire athletes.

The top six finishers in each event are medalists.

GIRLS DISCUS

(Name, Year, School, Finals, Points)

1. Nikki Okwelogu, senior, Clovis, 173-09, 10

2. Tanya Sapa, senior, La Sierra, 151-02, 8

3. Stamatia Scarvelis, soph., Dos Puebl, 149-06, 6

4. Kathleen Durand, senior, Maria Carrillo, 144-03, 5

Notable: Durand’s six throws were 132-10, 135-07, 134-00, 131-11, 144-03, 138-10

GIRLS POLE VAULT

(Name, Year, School, Finals, Points)

Seven girls medaled because of ties

1. Kaitlyn Merritt, soph., S Margrta, 13-03.75, 10

t2. Gardenia Centanaro, senior, Roos. Eleanor, 12-11.75, 7

t2. Greta Wagner, junior, Los Gatos, 12-11.75, 7

t6. Ariel Cheng, senior, Msn Sn, 12-00.00, 2.50

9. Helen Ann Haun, senior, Healdsburg, 11-05.75

GIRLS HIGH JUMP

(Name, Year, School, Finals, Points)

1. Rachel McCoy, senior, Miller, 6-00.75, 10

2. Alexandria Florent, sophomore, Harv-Wst, 5-10.00, 8

3. Erin Beattie, sophomore, Buena, 5-08.00, 6

6. Raegan Nizdil, senior, Rio Mesa, 5-06.00, 3

8. Kiana Herold, senior, Sonoma Academy, 5-06.00, 1

Note: Herold did not medal because she took two attempts to clear 5-06.00, while sixth-place finisher Nizdil got it on her first attempt.

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