All-Empire Boys Track & Field: Pumas’ Dante Hay ends season on high note

By ALLIE COLOSKY
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Maria Carrillo graduate Dante Hay (Crista Jeremiason / The Press Democrat)

Maria Carrillo graduate Dante Hay (Crista Jeremiason / The Press Democrat)

When he crossed the finish line at the CIF State Track & Field Championships, Dante Hay had a grin on his face and an eye on his next race — college.

The Maria Carrillo senior finished in seventh place in the 800-meter run at the state meet with a personal best of 1:52.36 — the fifth-fastest all-time and fastest time in the Empire since 2006 — and has been named the All-Empire Track and Field Athlete of the Year.

“It was the most fun season I’ve had, but it was also the most challenging — mentally and physically,” Hay said. “I owed it to all my teammates to give them my best because it was my last hurrah.”

Hay closed out his senior season with a first-place finish at the Woody Wilson Invitational, the NCS Regional Meet and the NBL finals.

“I guess in some aspects, I got a little ambitious and set goals that I got close to,” Hay said, “but I have no regrets. Looking back with fresh eyes, I wouldn’t change anything.”

Surprising everyone since his freshman year as a Puma, Hay has had the ambition to reach his goals and beyond, said distance coach Michael Pointer.

“He wanted the school record, and then once he got that, he wanted to get to state,” Pointer said. “He got to state, and the smile on his face at the end of the race was exactly what we wanted to see.”

Hay, who also finished with a 3.86 cumulative GPA at Maria Carrillo, is set to join the track and field team at Columbia University in the fall, where the opportunities will be infinite for him, Pointer said.

“Running is not his only thing. I’ve enjoyed his writing and he’s got a real appreciation for good music,” he explained. “He’s very well rounded, and it’s going to be interesting to see where he goes.”

At 18 years old, Hay knows the importance of keeping as many doors open as he can, he said, and he will be going into his freshman year undeclared, he said, but he will look into business marketing.

“It’ll be more fun because there’s no expectations,” Hay said. “It’s more about finding out what I can do as opposed to what I need to do.”

With so many options for Hay to pursue, Pointer said it makes his potential infinite.

“It’s going to be a really great environment for him,” Pointer said. “I don’t have any set expectations for him because he’s going to surprise everyone with what he does anyways.”

While he is aware of the pressure of performing at an Ivy League school, Hay already has the ambition and commitment to excel at a higher level, in part due to his new teammates in New York, he said.

“I saw what these guys were doing,” Hay said, “I saw where I was and where I wanted to be and that has me inspired now.”

It was similar to the dedication he saw in teammates like Ryan Anderson and Alex Netherda at Maria Carrillo.

It was the support of his teammates, coaches, and his father, Jeremy Hay, that has helped him reach the top, especially after suffering a hamstring injury before his senior season, he said.

“Even with all the great coaching I’ve had over the years, I don’t think I would have ever gotten as far as I did without my dad,” Hay said.

For now, this newly graduated Puma is keeping busy working this summer before he heads cross-country to pursue new goals.

“I just want to continue to surprise people,” Hay said. “I’ll be competing at the highest level and it’ll be good for me to be in high stakes races and if nothing else it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

ALL-EMPIRE BOYS TRACK & FIELD

ATHLETE OF YEAR
Dante Hay, Distance, Maria Carrillo, senior

FIRST TEAM
Ryan Anderson, Distance, Maria Carrillo, senior
Frankie Buegeleison, Thrower, Santa Rosa, senior
Connor Celeri, Hurdler, Piner, senior
Cyrus Corman-Gill, Thrower, Santa Rosa, senior
Edgar Irizarry, Vaulter, Casa Grande, senior
Nathaniel Johnson, Hurdler, Fort Bragg, senior
Owen Ljung, 800, Sonoma Valley, senior
Caleb Lundquist, Thrower, Casa Grande, senior
Juwan Morales, Jumper, Rancho Cotate, senior
Alex Netherda, Hurdler, Maria Carrillo, junior
Hugh Pegan, Sprinter, Ukiah, senior
Zach Price, Distance, Windsor, senior
Nicholas Rauch, Distance, Casa Grande, junior
Adam Reeves, Thrower, Windsor, senior
Kyle Vannetti, Sprinter, Analy, senior
Justin Zinnerman, High Jump, Rancho Cotate, junior

SECOND TEAM
Jimmy Arango, Thrower, Piner, senior
Dan Curren, Vaulter, Petaluma, junior
Matt Kitchen, Discus, Cardinal Newman, senior
Tyler Lewis, Long Jump, Windsor, senior
Patrick Loftus, Distance, Sonoma Academy, senior
Travis McClintock, Jumper, El Molino, senior
Joel Moens, Jumper, Windsor, senior
Ty Pearson, Hurdler, Petaluma, sophomore
Edwin Reyes, 400, Sonoma Valley, sophomore
Efren Reyes, 3200, Piner, senior
Isaiah Roybal, Long Jump, Piner, senior
Nick Santos, 400, Middletown, senior
Brian Schultz, Distance, El Molino, freshman
Will Smith, Thrower, Willits, sophomore
Geddi Tavares, Hurdler, Windsor, junior
Craig Thorton, High jump, Maria Carrillo, senior

COACH OF THE YEAR
Michael Bauman, Analy

Comments are closed.