26 May 19
Santa Cruz Sentinel
CLOVIS — Aptos High senior Hunter Matys stretched his final senior as far as it could go. Still, he stepped off the field of Veterans Memorial Stadium at Buchanan High wishing his body had been equally as elastic.
Matys landed on the podium in the long jump at the CIF State Track and Field Championships on Saturday, making him the only athlete from Santa Cruz County to place at the state meet this year. Though hampered by a groin strain, he placed sixth overall with a leap of 22 feet, 10 3/4 inches.
Only Matys and seniors Lila Roake of Santa Cruz and Chris Anderson of San Lorenzo Valley qualified to compete in Saturday’s finals out of 11 Santa Cruz County athletes who reached the state meet — eight individuals and three in a relay. Roake and Anderson both ran the 3,200, for which there is no qualifier. Roake placed 24th in the girls race and Anderson took 15th in one of the most competitive races of the state meet.
“I just wish I wasn’t hurting,” Matys said. Then he added, “Sixth in the state is not too bad.”
As usual, Matys’ opening jump was his best. He qualified third out of trials and so started near the end of the heat, soaring 22 feet, 10 3/4 inches to immediately put him at the top of the leaderboard. His status as the leader didn’t last long, though, as Jordan Aubert, a senior out of California High, followed with a jump of 23-0 1/2. Then Clovis North junior Caleb Foster changed the landscape with a monster leap of 25-0, which matched the fifth-best distance in the nation this year and would hold up as the winning distance by more than a foot.
“Dang!” thought Matys and most of the 18,021 fans in attendance.
Yet Matys had more to worry about than Foster, an athletic phenomenon who also won the triple jump and took second in the 110 high hurdles. On his second jump, his re-strained a groin pull he’d suffered Monday while practicing for the state meet. He’d spent most of Friday night and all of Saturday morning leading up to the race practically packed in ice, but it hadn’t been enough to keep the injury at bay.
He got three more jumps by making made the cut into the top nine, but he couldn’t even match his opening mark, not to mention his personal record of 23-3 3/4 — which also went down as the Aptos school record when he jumped it at the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League finals.
“I just wanted to feel good,” Matys said. “I just wanted to come in healthy.”
Still, the state-meet rookie did pretty well, especially considering his injury and his competition, some of whom will likely go on to be Olympians. Plus, while the state meet marks the end of an illustrious high school athletic career — one that includes a Central Coast Section football title, a Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League basketball title and three school track records (in the 100 and 200, as well as the long jump) — it won’t be Matys’ last chance to stretch his potential. He plans to compete in track for either UC Davis or Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo, both NCAA Division I programs — next year.
“What I did this track season, breaking school records, making state,” Matys said. “I had the longest track season I could have had. ”
Anderson savors state experience
All Chris Anderson wanted out of his senior track season was to experience state. And what an experience it was.
Anderson was swept up in one of the fastest and most exciting 3,200 races in California history. Nico Young of Newbury Park in Ventura County won in 8:47.27 — seven seconds off his national-best PR but still the third best mark in the nation — and the pack pulled SLV’s standout to a PR of 9:19.00.
“I heard the announcer the announcer going 64, 65,” Anderson said of Young’s lap times, in seconds. “I was like, he’s flying right now. He’s on a different level than almost anyone out there.”
Though Anderson had been to state three times in cross country at Fresno’s Woodward Park, he had never qualified to compete at the meet six miles straight east. His desire grew even deeper last fall when he had to sit out his final CCS and state cross country meets after winning the SCCAL title because of a plantar tear in his foot.
He made the most of it and caused a stir of his own when he rocketed down the final straightaway, passing five runners on his way to the finish line.
“It’s been four years. Track, since it has no divisions, is a lot harder to get in,” said Anderson, who will run for Portland University next fall. “I come from a small school, and competing against these schools is amazing and competing against these runners is crazy. It’s been four years in the coming.
“I’ve been thinking of what my goals are waking up in the morning and doing those long runs and thinking this is it, this this is why I do this every day. Being here my first time was overwhelming yesterday. I was like, ‘Wow, this is what I’ve worked for for four years,’ but I was pretty focused today. I felt like I could do pretty well, and it was a lot of fun.”
Roake keeps Cardinals’ streak running
Lila Roake experienced nerves like she’d never felt before when made her opening run across the field to the starting line before her 3,200 run. The state meet even more grandiose than she had imagined.
“I was really nervous. I’ve gone to Arcadia and I liked to think it was going to be like that, but it was way bigger,” said Roake, who will run for Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo next fall. “I was probably more nervous than I’ve been for any race, understandably because it’s state. I was not as carefree as I had been in my other races. I think that probably had a little effect on me.”
By the start of the third lap, Roake had lost contact with the main pack and was unable to claw her way back. She finished in 11:18.41, far off the personal-best time of 10:47.39 that left her glowing following the CCS finals. But even if Roake was one of the many who couldn’t keep up with race-winner Kristin Fahy of La Costa Canyon, who finished in 10:11.38, she had no trouble keeping up a significant Santa Cruz streak. With Roake, the Cardinals have sent a distance runner to state for five straight seasons.
“It’s incredible just to get here,” Cardinals distance coach Greg Brock said. “We’re very proud of this, and we’re going to do our best just to keep it going.”
Even if she wasn’t particularly proud of her performance Saturday night, Roake said she’s pleased with her high school career as a whole.
“I think right after the race was pretty stuck on it,” she said of her state performance. “But overall, this season as a hole is not this race and I’ve done so much more than in any other season. I’ve done everything I’ve wanted to. I’m looking forward to college and looking forward to whatever comes next.”
CIF State Track and Field Championships
Boys long jump: 6. Hunter Matys, Aptos, 22-10 3/4
Girls 3,200: 24. Lila Roake, Santa Cruz, 11:18.41
Boys 3,200: 15. Chris Anderson, SLV, 9:19.00