By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Sonoma Academy phenom Rylee Bowen was the only triple winner at the North Coast Section Class A Championships on Saturday at Montgomery High.
The freshman barely took a deep breath while recording easy victories in the 800, 1600 and 3200 meters.
By finishing in the top three, Bowen is eligible to compete in those events next Friday and Saturday at the Meet of Champions on the UC Berkeley campus.
“I’m going to probably skip the 800 and concentrate on the 1600 and 3200,” Bowen said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
In the Class A meet, which was for smaller schools, she didn’t extend herself until the last lap of each race.
“I wanted to do just enough to qualify for the meet at Cal-Berkeley,” she said.
The 800 was her closest finish, as she defeated senior Jade Hardy of Head Royce by just over two seconds. Her winning time of 2:14.91 is a meet record.
“She had a big lead on me early but then I caught up and passed her,” Bowen said. “It was a good race.”
The 15-year-old won the 1600 in 5:05.47, more than five seconds in front of runner-up Grace Dailey of Branson.
The 3200 wasn’t even close. Despite taking it easy until the final stages, she defeated runner-up Devin McCullough of Marin Academy by nearly 14 seconds.
The winning time was 11:16.25.
There was a 45-minute to 1-hour break between the three races.
The only downer of the afternoon for Bowen came in the 4×400 relay, where her team finished sixth.
Bowen was one of six athletes from the Redwood Empire to take home a first-place ribbon.
St. Helena’s Julia DiVincenzi, 100-meter hurdles (15.27).
Fort Bragg’s Makayla Mix, discus (118-7).
St. Helena’s Chris Saladin, high jump (6-0).
Fort Bragg’s Chase Waddington, pole vault (11-06).
Willits’ Will Smith, discus (150-10).
DiVincenzi’s time in the hurdles was a personal best and school record.
“I was thrilled with my race,” the junior said. “All season, I’d been struggling coming out of the blocks.
“This time, I just focused on myself and tuned out the runners around me. It was a great start for me.”
DiVincenzi finished in a tie for second in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 48.54. Lick Wilmerding’s Eva Laxo won the race with a time of 48.01.
DiVincenzi plans to compete in both races at the MOC.
“This will be my third year going to that meet,” she said. “Mentally, I’m stronger than I was before.”
Saladin took the high jump over Saints teammate DaVon Browne. Both cleared 6-0, but Saladin had fewer scratches.
“I made six feet on my second try,” Saladin said. “DaVon and I both tried 6-2 but neither one of us made it.”
Saladin is a senior but this is his first year competing in track.
Browne will also be running in the 100 at the MOC. He won his heat in 11:04 on Saturday but that turned out to be the second-best time in the event. Stuart
Hall’s Bosco Bapoupeleh, running in the third heat, was clocked in 10.87.
Smith, a Willits junior, just missed doubling. In addition to his discus win, he finished second to St. Bernard Catholic’s Heath Francis in the shot put.