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D’Atri & Rios qualify for Meet of Champions after stellar NCS

Special to the Tribune

After surviving the cutthroat DFAL Varsity Trials and Finals at Campolindo High School on May 10 and 13, the six remaining Bulldog qualifiers took part in last Saturday’s North Coast Section Tri-Valley Championships at Foothill High School.

Four athletic leagues from the valley were present at NCS: The Diablo Foothill Athletic League, Diablo Valley Athletic League, East Bay Athletic League, and Bay Valley Athletic League merged to make a total of 27 schools and several hundred of the top track athletes.

NCS Tri-Valley is the second step on the road to the CIF State Championships. In order to qualify for the next step (NCS Meet of Champions), competitors had to either finish in the top seven or hit the auto-qualifying standard time or mark.

Marissa D’Atri raced in both mid-distance events. In the girls 1600 meters, she split 1:15 for the first lap and 2:35 at 800 meters. Coming into the third lap, D’Atri was at least 20 meters behind the field, but in the fourth lap she found a new gear and nearly caught them. Her finishing time of 5:11.37 was just a fraction of a second off her PR of 5:11.21. Unfortunately, it was not fast enough to qualify.

D’Atri went on to compete in the most competitive event of the day shortly after.

The girls 800 meters featured some of the best runners in the state, including 2015 State Finalist Heidi Fuhriman of Monte Vista. At the start, D’Atri was boxed in by most of the runners in front of her. When she finished the first lap in a quick 65 seconds and about 10th place, some of the runners ahead of her started to falter.

She capitalized on that opportunity to surpass two opponents in the last 200 meters and finish in eighth place overall. However, her time of 2:17.73 easily beat the MOC auto-qualifier time (2:20.18), and also improved her personal record by more than a second.

Cal High’s Alyssa Brewer, who had won the girls 400 meters less than an hour before, shocked the athletic world by also taking first in the girls 800 meters in a meet record time of 2:07.71.

Senior and first-year track runner Paul Bromley raced in the two sprints and participated in the long and triple jump. He put forth a solid effort in the 100 meters to end up with a respectable 11.53, and returned in the 200 meter dash where he sprinted a quick 23.24 seconds to take 13th overall.

In the triple jump, probably Bromley’s best event, he leaped to his second-farthest distance ever of 40 feet, seven inches. Even that mark was only good enough for tenth place, and the long jump saw him finish 15th with an 18-09.75 jump, ending his first and only very respectable track season.

Kiara Rios was the surprise qualifier of the day. In the girls shot put, Rios hurled the iron ball to a personal record distance of 33-02.25, a mark far enough to take sixth place. Her throw was also an improvement by more than two feet. Amador Valley’s Tori Palma claimed the win with a 37 feet, four and a half inch throw.

For the girls high jump, Rios leaped four feet and six inches for 17th place, tying the same height she achieved in the Varsity DFAL Finals. Jackson Norried and James Cretan also competed in the high jump on the boys side, with Cretan leap of 5-10 (13th place) ending up just ahead of Norried’s 5-08 (14th place.)

Thrower Kyle Fitzpatrick, the 2016 DFAL Discus Champion, threw the platter 132 feet, eight inches, tying for eighth place just outside of the top seven qualifiers. Fitzpatrick, the only other Bulldog senior, leaves the sport with a legacy of the fifth farthest Discus throw in Alhambra history (148 feet, four inches).

The NCS Meet of Champions will take place at UC Berkeley, with the trials on Friday, May 27, and the Finals on Saturday, May 28. The top three finishers in each final will advance to the California State Championships.

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