SV resident Nathaniel Guillory, SC’s 4×800 relay team accelerates to CCS Top 8 wins

Kees van der Meer, Alan Lee and Eli Fitchen-Young of Santa Cruz High celebrate after breaking the season record in the 4×800 meters during the 43rd CCS Top 8 Invitational at Los Gatos High on Saturday. (John Lee-Santa Cruz Sentinel)

LOS GATOS – It was nothing but congestion on nearby Highway 17 with all the beachgoers, but at the 43rd Central Coast Section Top 8 invitational at Los Gatos High on Saturday, Los Altos High’s Nathaniel Guillory had an empty lane to accelerate.

Guillory, a Scotts Valley resident, remained the fastest sprinter in the CCS. The senior placed first in both the 100 meters (10.64 seconds) and the 200 (21.30), with the latter improving his PR and school record.

Santa Cruz also had some middle-distance runners achieve lightning-fast finishes. Kees van der Meer, Alan Lee, Emiliano Villarreal and Eli Fitchen-Young of the Cardinals combined to take first place in the 4×800 relay in a school record time (7:59.55). Los Gatos finished second in 8:06.73.

“It was great,” Lee said. “It was a lot of fun. There was definitely pressure. We had St. Ignatius and Los Gatos to compete against. We just ran to win. When you race to compete, the times come with it. We all have a had a very good race.”

Fitchen-Young also finished fourth in the 1,600 (4:14.47).

Several athletes from the province set personal records on the warm afternoon.

Santa Cruz senior Luke Tanguay placed second in the 300 hurdles with a PR (38.63) ahead of St. Ignatius senior Thomas Zang (38.53), who also PR’d, and ninth in the 110 hurdles with a PR (15.55).

Tanguay said he liked Zang being by his side and pushing him.

“The strategy was not to stutter,” Tanguay said of his approach to each obstacle. “I hardly stuttered at all. … I’m going to try to get even faster.”

Aptos junior Logan Brantley continued his streak of PR finishes in recent weeks. He finished second in the discus with a PR throw (152-2) and fourth in the shot put (52-7.75), after breaking the Mariners school record (54-0) two days earlier in a dual meet in Santa Cruz.

Soquel senior Jordan McCord placed third in the 200 with a PR (21.88) to break his school record, and 10th in the 100 (10.95).

McCord, a standout receiver on the school’s state championship football team, looked fresh and fast.

“Since last year I’ve put on some muscle and have only gotten stronger,” McCord said. “It’s just work on the start and finish. I’ve definitely rested more (this season), not running as much, which has given my body time to recover.”

Aptos junior Vincent Sandford-Carroll placed fourth in the 3,200 with a PR (9:38.30), and sophomore teammate Brady Bliesner was fifth in the 800 with a PR (1:57.96).

“My goal at the end of the season was under 2, so I’m going there,” Bliesner said. “It was a great field to perform well in: lots of guys in the first 400. It was perfect conditions. I was super happy with the result and a lot of guys who gave me a push.”

Soquel placed seventh in the 4×100 relay with a season-best finish (43.01).

Scotts Valley senior Ben George placed eighth in the 800 (1:59.44), and classmate Mason Lantz placed eighth in the 1,600 with a PR (4:18.18) and 18th in the 800 (2:08.71).

Lantz prefers the 800 to the 1,600, but he made the most of it. And he had some incentive. He was motivated by a quote from Sean Brosnan, a two-time national champion coach for Newbury Park High, who made the jump to UCLA.

“He had a famous quote: ‘4:20 is just not fast for the high school mile,’” Lantz said. “I want to be fast. I was at 4:20.57. One of my goals in high school was always to break 4:20. …It’s not my event, but I think I’m doing well.”

Soquel had two other athletes finish after the top 20 in multiple events. Senior Braylon Noble placed 12th in the high jump (5-10), 13th in the pole vault (12-0) and 17th in the 400 with a PR (50.82). And junior Logan Walters placed 10th in the pole vault with a PR (12-6) and 13th in the 100 with a narrow PR (11.11).

“I got out like I always get out – slow, not very fast,” Noble said of his 400 race. “When I got to that last 200, I saw people coming in the inside lanes of me, so I knew I had to get on with it. I think I finished last with 100 to go and I liked second or third place in my heat. It’s really special. It’s a great meet and a good preview for CCS.”

The top three scoring teams, Bellarmine (62.5 points), Archbishop Mitty (42) and St. Ignatius (34), all compete in the West Catholic Athletic League. Santa Cruz (22) finished seventh and Aptos (18) finished in tenth place.

The Mariners had several other great showings. They placed 13th in the 4×100 relay (44.14), sophomore Ben Comilang placed 13th in the triple jump (40-0.75), senior Mateo Calfee placed 14th in the high jump (5-10), freshman Sam Hansen placed 15th in the 1,600 with a PR (4:24.61), and senior Tony Perez placed 15th in the discus (127-5).

MVC had three top-20 finishes. Junior Joshua Tepoorten placed 13th in the 400 with a PR (50.73), sophomore Conor Gilliam placed 15th in the 800 (2:02.70) and the Mustangs placed 18th in the 4×800 relay (8:52.82).

Watsonville junior Nathaniel Aceves-Aguilar placed 11th in the triple jump (40-6.25), Pajaro Valley junior Izaak Ocampo placed 13th in the long jump (20-5.50), Pacific Collegiate senior Andre Tse placed 13th in the discus (131- 4), and San Lorenzo Valley senior Aiden Nounnan placed 17th in the high jump (5-8).

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