Track and field: Freshmen girls lead way at Big Cat Invitational

Freshman Kirsten Carter of Santa Rosa races to win the 100 meters Saturday during the Big Cat Invitational at Santa Rosa High School. (Michael Lucid / For The Press Democrat)

Freshman Kirsten Carter of Santa Rosa races to win the 100 meters Saturday during the Big Cat Invitational at Santa Rosa High School. (Michael Lucid / For The Press Democrat)

By JIM CROWHURST

FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Fresh faces shined at the Big Cat Invitational at Santa Rosa High on Saturday.

Two freshman girls highlighted a full day of track and field, as Santa Rosa’s Kirsten Carter and Sonoma Academy’s Rylee Bowen had everyone in awe of their talents.

Carter’s first attempt at the long jump soared out to 18 feet, seven-and-a-half inches, making her the first-ever Redwood Empire freshman to clear 18 feet. Carter improved to 18 feet, 11 inches, moving her all the way to third on the all-time Empire list.

“I thought I could hit 18 feet today,” said Carter, “but I didn’t expect to go 18-11.”

She followed that up by winning the 100-meter dash in 12.31 seconds to break the Panther school record and another all-time top-10 performance. Her night ended with a come-from-behind anchor leg win in the 1600 relay with a blazing 57.8 split.

“In the 100, I wasn’t expecting to break the school record in my first meet, but I hope to later break 12 seconds,” Carter said.

Bowen was just as impressive, starting her day off with a 1600-meter win in 5:00.5 before doing a little speed work, taking second in the 400 at 62.3 to Santa Rosa’s Aimee Holland (61.3) and then finishing off all challengers easily in the 800 with a 2:24.2.

So good is Bowen that only someone with her abilities could possibly say, “I was a little flat today, but overall I’m still happy with it.”

Another outstanding performance on the girls side was Sonoma Valley’s Isabel Gabon, who sailed over 11 feet, 4 inches in the pole vault, moving her up to seventh all-time.

Montgomery had a pair of winners in Emma Orosz (200, 26.88) and Stephanie Fernandez (300 hurdles, 47.8).

The other girls winners were Maria Carrillo’s Kelsey Avana-Reihl (100 hurdles, 16.2), Piner’s Sheena Blackwell (high jump, 5 feet), El Molino’s Shane Jordan (triple jump, 30 feet, nine inches), Rancho Cotate’s Jaimie Cowen (shot, 33-1½) and Petaluma’s Morgan Giraud (discus, 103-4).

El Molino’s Lani Gaspar was the standout on the boys side, winning three events — breaking Larry Richardson’s 1975 school record in the 100, blazing in 11.06, plus winning the 200 and triple jump in 42 feet, eight-and-a-half inches.

Maria Carrillo had winners in Jordan Scobey (3200, 9:49.2), Dominick Garcia (400, 52.3) and Alex Netherda (300 hurdles, 39.1).

Casa Grande also had two winners in Nicholas Rauch (800, 2:01.5) and Greg Poteracke (shot, 48-8).

The other boys winners were Petaluma’s Dan Curren (pole vault, 13-6), Windsor’s Geddi Tavares (110 hurdles, 15.9), Analy’s Malcom Jenkins (high jump, 5 feet, 10 inches), Rancho Cotate’s Carlos Franco (long jump, 21 feet) and Windsor’s Jackson (discus, 140-1).