Track & Field » Track & Field (2024)

Track & Field (2024)

Kira Makes The State Finals, Finishes 10th to Wrap-Up 2024 Season
May 25th, 2024
Clovis, CA - Although she was the lone representative for Saint Mary's at the California State Track & Field Championships, sophomore Kira Gant-Hatcher certainly represented herself and herself very well.  On Friday, competing against 27 of the best long jumpers in California, Kira qualified for Saturday's 12 person final with a leap of 17'6¾".  Then, in Saturday's final, she improved her qualifying performance by bounding out to 18'1"... just a mere 1" from the medal stand.  Still, her jump was the second farthest of her life and placed her 10th. 
"Kira had not only an amazing meet but an amazing season," said jumps coach Jeff Rogers.  "She played rugby in the fall and basketball in the winter so was late coming out for track this year.  Yet, she was still able to not only make it to state but make the state finals!  And remember, track is not like most other CIF sports.  Track has only one division; it's everyone against everyone no matter school size, which makes the competition extremely tough.  Considering that, I'd say Kira had quite a season."
Congratulations to Kira and to all the Panther athletes and coaches on a great 2024 season!

Kira Gant-Hatcher Jumps Her Way to State!

May 18th, 2024


Dublin, CA – Sophomore Kira Gant-Hatcher leaped 18’0½”  at the North Coast Section Meet of Champions on Saturday - placing third - and advancing to the California State Championships next weekend in Clovis.  The top three finishers in each event qualified to State.

After finishing a scant 5 centimeters from a state meet qualifier on Friday night the triple jump, Kira rebounded with a solid series of jumps on Saturday that culminated with a trip to Clovis. 

 (View All Meet of Champions Photos Here)

Kira hands to Alexa (Girls 4 x 100)

“Friday night was disappointing for sure,” said longtime jumps coach Jeff Rogers.  “We all know Kira had it in her to advance but sometimes it doesn’t work out the way you think it should.  That’s what happened on Friday night and it was tough.  So, I’m really proud of how she rebounded and competed on Saturday.  She showed some grit and it paid off.”


Maddie Potter (4 x 800)


Brandon Bosio (4 x 800)

Junior teammate Jaiden Reed also competed at MOC (The Meet of Champions) in the long and triple jumps, as did senior high jumper Sarah Gray.  Neither girl was able to medal but each was commended by Coach Rogers.

reSabrina Jackson Anchors the 4 x 100 Relay

Senior Collin Kopchik finished his Panther running career by competing in the 3200, as did juniors Alexa Lawson (300 hurdles), Brooklyn Dwyer (400) and Maddie Potter (800).  None were able to make it to the podium.

jrState-Bound Kira Gant-Hatcher

A quartet of relay teams also represented the Panthers at MOC – The girls 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 (Kira, Brooklyn, Alexa, Sabrina Jackson); the girls 4 x 800 (Maddie, Annika Punz, Jing Li-Chou, Lia Sullivan); and the boy’s 4 x 800 (Jacob Demissie, Brandon Bosio, Adrian Hall, Javin Schmitt).  Despite respectable runs, none of the relay teams advanced to state.


Senior Sarah Gray

Good Luck to Kira as she represents her team on Friday at Buchanan High School in Clovis!

Relay Gold Highlights 2024 Bayshore Championships

May 11th, 2024


Union City, CA – Whether it be on the track or in the field, much of this 2024 track & field season has featured the highlights of various talented individuals from both the boys and girls teams.  However, on Saturday at the Bayshore Area Championships hosted by James Logan High School, it was the collective efforts of the relay teams that took home gold and represented much of the success of the Panthers.  Highlighting those efforts were 3 victorious teams: the boys 4 x 800 relay squad and the girls 4 x 400 and 4 x 800 quartets.

Click Here To See All Photos


The boy’s squad - comprised of sophomore Adrian Hall and juniors Kai Valle, Jacob Demissie and Javin Schmitt – scored a mild upset in winning the 4 x 800.  Entering the meet, the team was ranked 3rd … trailing the likes of Castro Valley and Alameda.  However, running quite inspired and with fierce determination , Kai (2:06), Jacob (2:05), Adrian (2:10), and Javin (1:59) out-paced and out-shined the field to score the win, establish a new season best (8:20), and punch their ticket into next week’s North Coast Section Meet of Champions. 


The girl’s teams also walked away from James Logan with gold around their necks.  The 4 x 800 foursome of Lia Sullivan, Annika Punz, Jing Li-Chou and Maddie Potter raced out to a big lead and never relinquished it… winning in 10:14. 


“I was really proud of how our girls didn’t mope about the heat and instead just got after it,” said Coach Mohun as he watched them receive their awards.  “They had all run earlier races and were all somewhat tired.  But instead of complaining they went out and competed.  Good for them.  They deserved the win.”


To complete the relay trifecta, Alexa Lawson, Brooklyn Dwyer, and Sabrina Jackson got Kira Gant-Hatcher to join them to run the 4 x 400.  The result was a blistering :06 second win and one of the top times run in the NCS this season.  All three teams… along with the girls 4 x 100 team (Kira, Brooklyn, Alexa, Sabrina)  will compete at the MOC (Meet of Champions) this coming Friday-Saturday.


Individually, the Panthers also scored some big PR’s and reserved some coveted slots into the State Meet qualifying NCS MOC.  Sophomore Kira Gant-Hatcher and junior Jaiden Reed jumped far enough to qualify in both the long and triple jumps.  Kira finished 3rd in both events, while Jaiden soared to huge lifetime bests (17’0”, 34’8½”) to reserve her spot on both runways. Joining them in the field will be senior high jumper Sarah Gray, whose 6th place finish in the high jump was just good enough to qualify.


On the track,  both Brooklyn and Alexa made their presence felt at Bayshore – Brooklyn by placing 3rd in the open 400 (59.41) and Alexa by placing 4th in the 300 hurdles (48.50).  While neither is their best time, both will enter MOC with solid chances of making the final and competing for state meet births.


Collin Kopchik will also be amongst the finalists next week after placing 6th in the ultra-competitive boy’s 3200 meters.  Running from behind and needing a huge last lap, the determined senior passed several runners before sprinting down the homestretch and to a PR 9:47 – good enough to move onto next week.


Other solid performances noted by the coaches were the PR throws of senior Ethan Baiter – in both the shot (40’11) and discus (119’7”); the 62.04 posted by freshmen Sabrina Jackson in the 400; Maddie Potter’s huge 2:25 lifetime best in the girls 800; sophomore Tucker Presnell’s PR 9:47 in the boys 3200; both Javin Schmitt’s 4:26.9 and Jacob Demissie’s 4:31 in the 1600 meters; and the boy’s 4 x 100 team (Devin Owens, Myles Kettler, Luke Swanson; Leo Turner) who ran a season best 44.54 while besting several teams that had beat them at the TCAL finals just a week earlier. 


Next up for the Panthers in the aforementioned North Coast Section Meet of Champions this Friday-Saturday at Dublin High School.   Friday’s meet will be qualifying rounds with Saturday being the finals… where state meet qualifying spots will be on the line. Good luck to all the Panthers who qualified for MOC this year!


Girls Dominant Again, Claim 11th Straight TCAL Championship; Boy’s Finish 3rd

May 3rd, 2024


Vallejo, CA – Since the creation of the Tri-County Athletic League (TCAL) in 2013, no girls team EXCEPT the Saint Mary’s Panthers had ever won the League Championship meet.  In total, that meant 10 straight championship banners.  And now, after a thoroughly dominant team performance on both Wednesday and Friday, the streak is 11 consecutive championships  and counting. 


“Our girls really took care of business this week,” said a measured but smiling coach Lawson after the meet.  “Our stars shined as usual, but we had plenty of big performances from a lot of girls that made the margin of victory so huge.”  

(Check Out All The Pictures Here)

4x1Girl 4 x 100: Alexa Lawson passes to Maleah Bey

1600Javin Schmitt (l) and Kai Valle (r) - Boys 1600 meters

Among the “stars” mentioned by Coach Lawson, none shined brighter than the trio of Kira Gant-Hatcher, Alexa Lawson and Brooklyn Dwyer.  Kira, fresh off a frustrating mid-season ankle injury, captured two individual titles, placed 3rd in another, and ran the first leg for the winning 4 x 100 relay squad.   After bounding to a “safe” triple jump win on Wednesday, Kira won the long jump by an impressive 2 feet after joining Brooklyn, Alexa and sophomore Maleah Bey to post a ½ second win in the 4 x 100.  She finished her meet with a PR 12.75 in the varsity 100, good for 3rd place overall.

4x1Girls 4 x 100 Champions: Brooklyn Dwyer, Maleah Bey, Alexa Lawson, Kira Gant-Hatcher

ebAll-TCAL Thrower Ethan Baiter

Teammates Alexa and Brooklyn took home their share of medals as well… Alexa winning the 300 hurdles in a near PR 47.85 with Brooklyn 2nd… which preceded the open 400 meters where Brooklyn posted a lifetime best 59.11 with Alexa a tick back at 60.78.  They finished 2nd and 3rd respectively.  Later, both girls joined junior teammate Maddie Potter (the varsity girls’ 800 meter champion) and freshman Sabrina Jackson to win the 4 x 400 relay.   That relay gold made the Lady Panthers 3 for 3 in relay wins… having won the 4 x 800 relay (Lia Sullivan, Maddie, Katherine Scannell, Lilah Nemerson-Hoover) on Wednesday evening.

4x1F/S Girls 4 x 100: Elia Kudemus passes to Kayla Lee

doSenior Devin Owens

Another quartet of sprinters also had a big meet.  Elia Kudemus, Kamryn Levy, Kalya Lee, and Brianna Coyle dominated the Frosh-Soph girls sprint competitions, sweeping the girls 100 and 200 meters after crossing the line first in the 4 x 100.  Elia was the individual champion in both open sprint races, running PR’s in both.  Kamryn was the silver medalist each time, with sophomore Gabi Espino the 3rd place finisher each time. 

b800Boys 800: Brandon Bosio (l) and Joaquin Tarango (r) battle Albany

The girl’s distance and jump teams also had big meets.  Senior Annika Punz won the varsity 3200 with teammate Jing Li-Chou 2nd, junior Lia Sullivan narrowly missed out on 2nd in the varsity 800 – placing 3rd … and teammate Katherine Scannell ran a huge PR (2:39) in the 800 meter qualifying round to make the final.  But, it was the F/S girls squad, led by sophomores Ella Pollard and Natalie Andress, that was truly dominant.  Ella won the 800 with Natalie 2nd… after Natalie had won the 1600 with Ella 3rd.   Freshman Reva Schmitt placed 3rd in the 800 and 2nd in the 1600 to secure sweeps of both races. 


F/S Girls 800 Meters: Naomi Fogelman, Olivia Van Herrick, Ella Pollard

ghjHigh Jump Sweep! Shelby Stewart, Sarah Gray, Jackie Estimbre

In the field, senior Sarah Gray won the high jump…making that the 8th consecutive year a Panther has won that event.  Teammates Jackie Estimbre and Shelby Stewart took home silver and bronze.  Backing up Kira in the horizontal jumps were the junior trio of Jaiden Reed, Callie Ballard and Tori Harris.  Jaiden placed 2nd in the long jump and 3rd in the triple, while Callie placed 2nd in the triple and 4th in the long.  Tori was 5th and 4th respectively.  All 4 will be moving on to the Bayshore Area Championships next week.

ap3200 Meter Champion Annika Punz

lt4 x 100 Anchorman Leo Turner

On the boy’s side, a depleted sprint and jumps squad all but killed any chance for a team title. Still, several impressive performances stood out.  Senior Devin Owens showed his grit and determination with a come-from-behind 6th round long jump victory.  His win was the lone individual win by a varsity boy. 


The distance squad had a nice meet, with the quartet of Javin Scmitt, Kai Valle, Jacob Demissie and Brandon Bosio winning the 4 x 800 relay on Wednesday night. 

kwJV Boys 400: Keowyn Warner

On Friday, a slew of middle and distance runners punched their tickets to Bayshore, including Javin Schmitt (1600), Kai Valle (1600), Adrian Hall (800), Brandon Bosio (800), Collin Kopchik (3200), and Tucker Presnell (3200).  Others noted by boy’s distance coach Ben Turman were a group of freshman:  Andrew Bosio (2:11) – winner of the JV Boys 800; Finley Basler who ran 4:48  in the varsity 1600 meters; and Djali de Chalus who posted a big lifetime best 10:34  in the 3200 meters. 

g800Girls 800 Meters:  Lia Sullivan (l) and champion Maddie Potter (r)

g100Girls Varsity 100 Meters

Other notable performers throughout the two day competition were shot put/discus thrower Ethan Baiter (3rd place in both), sprinter Leo Turner (finalist in the 100 and 200), Keowyn Warner (2nd in the F/S Boys 400), and Lucien Wingate (3rd place in the F/S Boys 100). Next up for the Panthers is the Bayshore Area Championships at James Logan High School on Saturday, May 11th.  The top 6 placers from this TCAL meet move onto Bayshore, with the top 6 at Bayshore then moving onto the NCS Meet of Champions.  Good luck to all the Panthers at Bayshore!


Distance Squad Shines @ "Always Sunny in Union City" Invite

April 20th, 2024


Collin Kopckik Passes to Kai Valle (4 x 800)

Union City, CA – On Saturday, an abbreviated Saint Mary’s team captured 3 individual wins along with a relay gold at what was billed the “Always Sunny in Union City” Invitational hosted by James Logan High School.  Much of the talk coming into this 2024 track season revolved around how committed the distance team was and how well they were training.  So, it was no surprise that is was this group that led the way.


Shane Doherty, Finley Basler, Mika Mazin

The boy’s 1600 highlighted the meet, with junior Kai Valle leading a cavalcade of 10 Panthers under the vaunted 5:00 barrier.  Kai’s :06 second PR took him to an impressive 4:30 win while dragging a host of teammates to times they had never run before. 


Senior Collin Kopchik (4:33) shaved :03 from his personal best, as did junior Jacob Demissie (4:36).  Sophomore Ian Kopchik (4:37) destroyed his previous best by a whopping :11 seconds, while Tucker Presnell (4:37), Mika Mazin (4:47), Shane Doherty (4:48), Finley Basler (4:49) and senior Daniel McAndrew-Kvaerno (4:57) also establishing new lifetime bests. 


Maddie Potter, Lia Sullivan, Jing Li-Chou

bsSunni Scott, Marcus Hughes (Boys 100 meters)

Later in the day, Jacob, Collin, and Kai teamed with sophomore Adrian Hall to win the 4 x 800 relay in a season best 8:33. 


Brooklyn Dwyer and Alexa Lawson placed first and second in the open girls 400, they too running lifetime bests. Both juniors threatened to dip under the elusive :60 second barrier but each missed it by just a few tenths of a second.  Freshman Sabrina Jackson also posted a huge PR in the race, circling the oval in just over 62 seconds . On the boys side, senior Simone Daniel (54.60) placed fourth in the boys 400, also running faster than he ever had.


Senior Sarah Gray

bdJoaquin Tarango, Brandon Bosio, Adrian Hall (800 meters)

Seniors, Sarah, Gray and Jackie Estimbre placed first and second in the girls high jump to lead the Panthers in the field.


Other notable performers on Saturday were sophomore Maleah Bay in the 100 meters; juniors Madison Potter and Lia Sullivan in the girls 1600;  senior Lila Nemerson-Hoover (whose :12 second PR in the 1600 was the day’s best);  and junior Joaquin Tarango -whose bold move with 300 meters to go in the boys 800 almost earned him the individual gold.

gtBrooklyn, Kira, Tori, Alexa, Jaiden, Callie, Maleah

In the end, Joaquin finished second overall, running a PR 2:05. Junior Gabriel Cabral and sophomore Nico Echeverria also had solid PR races in the boys 800.  


On "Senior Day", Junior Class Leads Panthers in Battle Against Albany

April 15th, 2024


Berkeley, CA – The Panther track and field squad hosted league rival Albany in a TCAL showdown at Brady Park on Monday.  Both teams, despite being in the same league and sharing the same zip code, entered the meet having not competed against one another yet this season.  And, as always, much of the competition was spirited and tenacious.


Despite the meet being  billed as “Senior Day” (an occasion to celebrate the 17 members of the team competing in their final home meet), the stars of the day seemed to come from the junior class.  Juniors Jaden Jones, Kai Valle, Alexa Lawson, Brooklyn Dwyer, Callie Ballard and Jaiden Reed all either posted impressive winning marks, established lifetime bests… or both!


Jaden Jones recorded the day’s top performances, winning the 400 in a PR 51.63 before long jumping to a PR 20’11”.  Both marks vault him to the top echelon of the TCAL leader board and make him one of the favorites at next months TCAL Championships. Fellow junior Kai Valle won a spirited 800 meter battle over junior teammate Javin Schmitt -2:02.7 - 2:03.3.  Both Kai and Javin rank in the top 5 league wide.



Juniors Alexa Lawson and Brooklyn Dwyer traded wins in the 100 meters and 300 meter hurdles… with Brooklyn taking the 100 (PR 13.07) and Alexa the 300 hurdles (PR 48.89).  Alexa was 2nd in the 100 while Brooklyn was 2nd in the 300 hurdles.


Another pair of 11th graders, Callie Ballard and Jaiden Reed, also traded wins in the long and triple juimps.  Callie edged Jaiden by 1 inch in the triple jump before Jaiden returned the favor with a 3” win in the long jump. 


Two other athletes, senior Zendo Rouson and freshman Sabrina Jackson, were commended by their coaches after the meet.  Zendo was the boy’s triple jump winner at 40’1”.  It was Zendo’s first ever jump over 40’0”.  Later, freshman Sabrina Jackson held off several fast-charging teammates to win the girl’s 200 meters. 


Finally, in what may have been the feature event of the day, ten 4 x 400 meter mixed relay teams competed in the annual “Chipotle Challenge” … with the winning squad picking up Chipotle gift cards as their prize.  With much anticipation and competitive fire present, the team of Sunni Scott, Alexa Lawson, Bruno Middleton and Adrian Hall emerged triumphant.  While not confirmed, some say they heard Adrian phoning in his order in, spikes still on as he exited the track.  Winning always feels a bit better when accompanied by a free burrito!  Congratulations J

Sunshine Brings Fast Times, Smiles, and Optimism to Panthers Track

April 11th, 2024  


Berkeley, CA - For the first time in what seemed like forever, the Saint Mary’s Panthers had a track meet free of rain, wind, cold, or hail!  This second TCAL league meet - featuring De Anza, Hercules, Kennedy, as well as last-minute additions El Cerrito and Salesian - produced a bevy of seasonal and personal bests.  Highlighting the action was emerging junior Jaden Jones, who’s PR 200 meter win was preceded by impressive high jump (6’0”) and long jump (20’9½”) wins.  His efforts now place him among the TCAL league leaders and  certainly vaulted him into the coaches athlete of the meet conversation. 



Joining Jaden in the top performer category were a band of distance runners, led by junior Javin Schmitt (4:27).  Coach Ben Turman’s group saw 10 runners run under 4:53 for the mile, a feat unparalleled in school history and cementing the squad as one of the top groups in the North Coast Section. Among those posting PR’s were junior Jacob Demissie (4:39), Ian Kopchik (4:48), Joaquin Tarango (4:51), Mika Mazin (4:52), Finley Basley (4:52), and Djali de Chalus (4:53).  



Equally as impressive was the lifetime bests posted by a slew of young sprinters, especially on the girl’s side.  No less than 15 girls ran faster than they ever had before in the 100 meters… while 10 of those girls also came back later in the meet establish new 200 meter bests.  Marlowe Kuroki, Maleah Bey and Sabrina Jackson were among the fastest dashers.


Other top performers on the day included lifetime bests in the 400 from junior Trevor Walton (55.86) and senior Simon Daniel (55.58), a lifetime best in the long jump from senior Devin Owens (20’9”), a triple jump win from Kira Gant Hatcher (36’9½”), a strong overall meet from junior Callie Ballard (1st in the long jump, season best in the triple jump), and a pair of season bests from both varsity 4 x 100 meter teams.  The girls team saw a quartet of Kira-Brooklyn, Alexa and Sabrina while the boys foursome was Devin to Jaden to junior Leo Turner to junior Ahmad Gabriel.    



After the meet, a reflective head coach Jay Lawson had this to say: “I’m proud of the way our group competed today.  At our team meeting yesterday, we talked about not only competing hard, but supporting one another and I was proud of the way the team responded today.  Anybody attending the meet could see that our team was tough, spirited, and supporting one another. I hope that this will be the norm going forward. If it is, there will be lots of good days ahead.”

Distance Relays, Jumps Represent Panthers @ Stanford Invitational
March 30th, 2024
alAlexa Lawson
Palo Alto, CA - On the eve of Easter Break, a small portion of the Saint Mary's Panthers track & field squad traveled - on a blustery, wet afternoon - to Palo Alto to compete at the annual Stanford Invitational. Featuring many of the best from up and down the Golden State, Stanford is widely regarded as Northern California's most competitive and most prestigious track and field meet.  For the Panthers, it was an opportunity to test their meddle against the best competition possible as well as get a barometric check about their talent, fitness and overall ranking.  
jsJavin Schmitt
kiraKira Gant-Hatcher
Up first, running against the wind, rain and top level runners, were Annika Punz, Brooklyn Dwyer, Alexa Lawson and Lia Sullivan in the girl's distance medley relay.  The DMR as it is known is a relay that requires the first runner to run 3 laps (1200m), the second to run 1 l(400m), the third to run 2 (800m), and the anchor leg to run 4 laps (1600m).  The race is a middle-distance team's dream, featuring enough time and space for leads to change, runners to surge or falter, and aspirations to be rewarded or crushed.  On Friday, the girls team felt all of the above.  Running at or near the front for the the first half of the race, the team was filled with a burst of energy after a scorching 800 meter leg by junior Alexa Lawson saw the team take the lead.  Eventually though, the talent and speed of the other anchor legs prevailed, as the team slipped to 11th overall. 
bdBrooklyn Dwyer
Following the girls race, the boy's lined up their squad - Collin Kopchik, Brandon Bosio, Kai Valle and Javin Schmitt - against the venerable Stanford field.  Unlike the girls, the team fell behind early and, despite valiant efforts, could only manage the same 11th place finish.  Still, given the circumstances and competition level, the coaches seemed optimistic and even bright afterwards.
gdmrGirls Distance Medley Team: Alexa Lawson, Lia Sullivan, Brooklyn Dwyer, Annika Punz
"I thought both teams stepped up big against these caliber of teams on a day like this.  They didn't complain, whine or mope about anything.  I think coming out here today will serve us well later in the season," said coach Denis Mohun afterwards. Individually, sophomore Kira Gant-Hatcher competed in both horizontal jumps - placing 5th overall in the long jump. 
Next up for the Panthers is their 2nd TCAL league meet on Thursday, April 11th at Brady Park.  

Despite Stormy Weather, Panthers Stay On Track @ Bay Area Relays

March 23rd, 2024

ltJunior Leo Turner

Pleasanton, CA - On Saturday - despite windy, rainy, miserable weather - the Saint Mary’s track and field team lined up and competed against some of the best teams across the North Coast section at the 9th annual Bay Area Relays at Foothill High School in Pleasanton.  


“We knew rain was in the forecast,” noted coach Jay Lawson after the meet. “But I don’t think we expected it to down pour and even hail at times.  I think I speak for all of our coaches in saying we’re proud of the way our team competed and didn’t complain in such nasty conditions.”


Jaiden Reed to Kira Gant-Hatcher

bdBrooklyn Dwyer

Indeed, in spite of the challenges, by days end the Panthers had racked up two team relay wins, two individual wins, two runner up performances, and several top five finishes.  Leading the way for the Panthers was All-NCS long and triple jumper Kira Gant Hatcher.  In what is becoming a repetitive storyline, Kira came into the meet as the top seed and came away with event gold.  After a morning of sprinting, it took a big final round jump in the wind and rain from the talented sophomore to secure the triple jump event victory.  Her effort - combined with solid jumping from teammates Callie Ballard, Jaiden Reed, and Tori Harris – secured the team win for the talented foursome.


Freshman Kamryn Levy to Freshman Sabrina Jackson

cbJunior Callie Ballard

The other team victory went to the frosh-soph boys 4 x 800 relay team. Led by a strong lead off leg from sophomore Ian Kopchik, the boys were a runaway winner against a very strong field. Sophomore Mika Mason ran second, with Shane Doherty on the third carry before handing to anchorman Adrian Hall. Ian ran 2:11, Mika, 2:12, Shane 2:15 and Adrian 2:09 for the winners.


 Senior Colin Kopchik earned the runner-up spot in the varsity boys mile, actually winning his heat in 4:42, but was later outdone by a faster runner in another heat.


Sophomore Mika Mazin

The girls relay quartet of Jaiden Reed, Kira, Gant Hatcher, Alexa Lawson, Brooklyn, Dwyer) equalled Collins runner up placing in the seldom run 100-100-200-400 sprint medley relay.  Earlier, the same group also won their heat of the 4 x 100 relay but wound up 4th overall after the results of subsequent heats were tallied.

jj Junior Jaden Jones

kvJunior Kai Valle

Other top performances of the day went to junior Leo Turner – who ran a lifetime best in the varsity boys 100m (11.79; junior Mason Young who put the shot farther than he ever had (38’0”);  junior Callie Ballard who bounded to as seasons best in the triple jump (33’0”) while placing 4th ; freshman Kamryn Levy who ran solid relay legs before posting a nice 100 meter time; and junior Jaden Jones who placed fourth overall in the boys varsity long (19’8”) and high jump (5’10”), despite only having practiced the high jump once in his entire life!


Marcus Hughes to Pierce Madison

Next up for the Panthers is their season opening TCAL league meet on Monday at Brady Park against El Cerrito, Salesian and Pinole Valley.  The first event starts at 3:30 pm. 


Panthers Shake Off E-Week, Post Impressive Marks @ San Ramon & Dublin Meets

March 16th, 2024


San Ramon, CA - After a fulfilling but exhausting week of travel and enrichment, the Panthers track and field team resumed their season on Saturday, splitting the squad to compete at both the San Ramon Sprint & Jump Festival and the Dublin Distance Fiesta.  And, much like their performances at the Skyline Invitational a few weeks ago, the team posted impressive results.


Sophomore Kira Gant-Hatcher, whose lifetime bests in the horizontal jumps already rank her amongst the best in school history, was the weekends top performer… scoring wins in both the long (16’5¾”) and triple jumps (35’3”) before placing 4th overall in the 200 meters.   Kira currently ranks near the top of the NCS in both jumping events.  Teammate Jaiden Reed also bounded out to her season best, placing 3rd overall in the triple jump.



rmTop: Simon Daniel and Jaden Jones   /  Bottom: Reggie Masket

The girls team of Brooklyn Dwyer, Alexa Lawson, freshman Sabrina Jackson, and Kira nearly grabbed the gold medal in the 4 x 200 relay, eventually settling for 2nd behind a strong San Ramon Valley team.  Brooklyn, Alexa and Sabrina would later combine with Lia Sullivan to place 3rd in the 4 x 400.


The boy’s sprint team also flaunted some strong marks, led by junior Jaden Jones.  Jaden, fresh off  basketball season, finished 3rd overall in the open 400 – running the fastest time of any Panther all season in easily winning his heat in 52.14.  Jaden later finished 4th in the long jump. 


apTop: Aaditya Patel   /  Bottom: Jackie Estimbre

Other boy’s singled out by sprint coach Jay Lawson were individual 200 meter heat winners Reggie Masket (23.85), Devin Owens (24.06) and Sunni Scott (25.02).. as well as 100 meter heat winner Leo Turner (11.99).  All four were praised for the “fight and competitiveness” they showed in their races.


Alexa Lawson

In Dublin, the distance team continued to show their talent and earn the fruits of their hard work while competing at the annual Dublin Distance Fiesta.  The meet is a “distance only” affair that attracts most of the top talent from Northern California.  Needless to say the competition level is fierce and indefatigable.  Fortunately, it seems as though these are the settings that this year’s squad seems to thrive in.  Some of the highlights included Javin Schmitt and Collin Kopchik in the 800 (2:02, 2:06 respectively) and a trifecta of sophomores (Ian Kopchik, Adrian Hall, and Mika Mazin) in the 1600.  Ian (4:48), Adrian (4:48), and Mika (4:55) all ran huge PR’s to cap off a nice weekend of track & field for the Panthers.


Panthers Score 10 Top Five Finishes @ Skyline Invitational

February 24th, 2024


Senior Devin Owens

Oakland, CA – Led by ALL-NCS jumper/sprinter Kira Gant-Hatcher, distance stars Javin Schmitt and Annka Punz, and a handful of up and coming talent, the Saint Mary’s Track & Field team opened their 2024 season with 10 top five finishes at the 18th annual Skyline Invitational. 


“Pretty much all of our athletes performed really well today,” said coach Jay Lawson after the meet.  “Skyline has always been a good opening meet for us.  Lots of athletes, lots of competition, good weather, and a chance for the coaches to see the athletes compete and be reminded of what areas we need to continue work on.”

kiraKira Gant-Hatcher

Among those “well performing” athletes was sophomore star Kira Gant Hatcher who finished 2nd in the triple jump (35’7”), 3rd in the long jump (17’1”) and 7th overall in the 100 meters (12.99).  Having just joined the team after a winter playing basketball made Kira’s performance even more impressive. 


Another hugely impressive athlete on Saturday was distance runner Javin Schmitt.  Coming off a big fall cross country season, the fast-rising junior had lofty pre-race goals that he certainly delivered on.  Running at the front for most of the race, Javin out-ran nearly all of the 190 runners entered… eventually finishing 4th overall.  His massive 4:26 PR now places him 9th on the school’s all-time list!

jsL-R: Collin Kopchik, Kai Valle, Javin Schmitt

Fellow distance star Annika Punz, whose senior cross country season saw her earn 1st team All-NCS honors, also finished 4th in the girl’s 1600, running 5:26.  Junior Kai Valle finished 2nd in the 3200 (10:06) while sophomore Tucker Presnell was a mere :02 seconds back in 3rd

juniorFreshman Junior Saliba-Coffey

jrJaiden Reed

Junior Brooklyn Dwyer, whose pre-season training has been a frequent topic of positive coach talk, ran 61.36 in the 400 meters to match Javin and Annika’s 4th place finish.  Teammate Alexa Lawson was in hot pursuit, running 62.51 to finish just behind Brooklyn in 5th.  Junior Lia Sullivan (63.60) and freshman Sabrina Jackson (64.25) also ran solid races according to coach Lawson.


In the field, senior Jackie Estimbre finished 4th in the high jump, as did freshman Junior Saliba-Coffey who jumped 5’8” in his first time out.  Junior also placed 7th in the triple jump and was by far the highest placing 9th grader in the entire meet!


L-R: Sophomores Keowyn Warner and Marcus Hughes

The day also included top performances from the senior quartet of Ethan Baiter (shot put), Myles Kettler (400), Devin Owens (400, long jump), and Luke Swanson (100).  All four team leaders posted lifetime bests in their respective events and, more importantly, “modeled toughness and a great competitive spirit for the younger athletes,” according to coach Lawson.

mmMika Mazin

 Other athletes grabbing coaches praise were junior Jaiden Reed in the jumps and 100, sophomore Adrian Hall in the 800, junior Joaquin Tarango in the 800, and sophomore Mika Mazin – who established gigantic PR’s in both the 800 and 1600 in his first ever track meet.


Next up for the Panthers will be the San Ramon Valley Sprint & Field festival and the Dublin Distance Fiesta, both on Saturday March 16th.

Click on "Photo Album" above to access all pictures from today's meet.


Individual Talent, Distance Strength Lead 2024 Panthers

February 10th, 2024


Buoyed by a band of talented juniors and seniors, the Saint Mary’s Track & Field team enters the season excited and hopeful that 2024 will pay dividends on the off-season commitment and work done thus far. 


“We have somewhere around 130 students signed up for track this season and so our #1 goal is to improve every week,” said head coach Jay Lawson.  “Progress is what we’re looking for. If we practice well, if the athletes make the commitment we’re asking them to make, and if we stay relatively healthy, I think that progress will allow us to once again be very competitive across the league and North Coast Section.”


Sophomore Kira Gant Hatcher

Along with Coach Lawson, we had a chance to sit down with several of the coaches to get their thoughts and insights into this year’s team.  Below is some of what they had to say.


Coach Jay Lawson: Sprints/Relays

Q: When talking about the upcoming season, it seems as though you and the other coaches don’t talk as much about training, technique and conditioning as much as you talk about things like “commitment” and “dedication.”  Can you talk a little bit about why that is?

A:  You’re right. We have a VERY GOOD coaching staff who have a lot of experience and who have had a LOT of success over the years.  I’m very confident in our ability agto effectively coach the athletes.  Still, we also understand that there is no easy way to achieve success.  Like all things, the key is to commit and then work consistently hard at it.  Our sport is especially demanding in that way.  There are no short cuts or magic formulas in track & field.  It's important that we emphasize that to the athletes. 


Q: So, what’s the attitude and commitment of the team been like so far?


A: So far it’s been pretty good.  Fridays are the most challenging days in terms of attendance and this past Friday we had over 90 athletes on the track.  That’s pretty good for February.


Q: In terms of overall outlook and performance, what are your thoughts?


A: I’d say that we have talent spread across several event areas, but one group people should especially look out for is the distance team.  They’re deep, talented and extremely hard-working.  Look for them to be big point bdscorers and contributors to the overall success of our team.


Q: OK, what about the sprint and hurdles team.  Who should be expect to grab the headlines this season? Let’s start with the girls.


A: There are several athletes I’m really excited about this year.  Kira Gant-Hatcher, Brooklyn Dwyer and Alexa Lawson are certainly our top sprinters/quarter milers.  Kira ran 12.88 and was the TCAL runner-up in the 100 last year so  I expect her to be one of the top sprinters in the area.  Brook was a 400 meter finalist at our Bayshore area championships last year and this preseason she’s looked great so expect her to go well.  Alexa was our TCAL champion in the 800 last year and was a member of our 4 x 400 team that almost made it to state so I expect she’ll once again be in the middle of all things good.  Also, look for people like Jaiden Reed and freshman Sabrina Jackson and Kamryn Levy to factor into our sprint and relay success.


Q: How about the boy’s team?


A: On the boy’s side, junior Ahmad Gabriel is the fastest sprinter we have.  He had a really strong end to the ’23 season, finishing 4th in the 100 at league and then running under :23 seconds at Bayshore in the 200.  So I’m curious to see how much progress he can make this year.  Seniors Myles Kettler and Luke Swanson were both on the 4 x 100 team with Ahamad that competed at MOC last season, and so far senior Devin Owens has looked as good as anyone so that team has me intrigued.  I’m also expecting sophomore Marcus Hughes to make a jump to varsity this year.


 Junior Alexa Lawson


Coach Jeff Rogers: Jumps


Q: Over the years, the Saint Mary’s jumpers have had as much success as any group around.  Do you expect this 2024 collection to be like some you've had in the past? cj


A: Well, I’m not sure.  I can say this, we have some talented athletes who should be amongst the NCS list leaders in their events.  As Coach Lawson said earlier, commitment, dedication and some good fortune may dictate just how far or high they jump.


Q: Who are some of these “list-leading” athletes you’re talking about?


A: On the girl’s side, Kira is one of the top returning horizontal jumpers in the North Coast Section.  Last year as a freshman, she was the Bayshore champion in the triple jump and then narrowly missed going to state.  She comes into the season as the top ranked long jumper and the 3rd ranked triple jumper.  Juniors Jaiden Reed and Callie Ballard both advanced all the way to the Meet of Champions (MOC) last season in the triple jump and I expect them to be improved.  Junior Tori Harris is also one to watch.


Seniors Sarah Gray and Jackie Estimbre will handle the girl’s high jump.  Both jumped 4’8” last season and Sarah even competed at MOC so I expect them to be solid.


For the boy’s, sophomore CJ Baltrip jumped higher as a freshman than anyone I’ve ever coached… which includes 2 state champions.  He was also a MOC finalist last year and the only freshman in the field so I’m excited about what’s in store for him this season.  Seniors Devin Owens and Zendo Rouson will team with junior Ethan Harris to give our horizontal jumps plenty of talent and depth.



Senior Collin Kopchik

Coach Ben Turman: Distance


Q: OK Coach, there’s a lot of chatter about how strong the distance team is looking right now.  What can you tell us?


A: The first thing I can tell you is that I agree that the group is looking good and I can also tell you that they’ve been extremely diligent and determined.   All of the runners ran cross country in the fall and after the season we had a meeting where I asked them to dedicate themselves to having a great off-season… which they’ve done.  So,js it’s no surprise that their work seems to be paying off.


Q: Last year, Mateo Malko-Allen won the NCS 1600, shattered the school record, medaled at the state championships and (deservingly) stole every headline.  This year is sounds like there is a gang of talent within group.  Who do you expect to be this year’s headliners?


A:  Yeah, good observation.  Mateo was certainly our top star last season.  This year’s group has several to watch.  Look for both senior Collin Kopchik and junior Javin Schmitt to open some eyes.  Both had great fall cross country seasons and both look fantastic thus far.  Look for both to absolutely obliterate their 800, 1600 and 3200 PR’s to start the season.  Where they go from there will be exciting.


I’m also excited to see how fast guys like Kai Valle, Jacob Demissie, Tucker Presnell, Brandon Bosio, Joaquin Tarango and Adrian Hall will go.  They were all freshmen and sophomores running mostly JV races last year.  They all are now legitimately varsity level guys who, like Javin and Collin, will smash their PR’s and be amongst the best groups in the NCS.  


apQ: How about the girl’s group?


A:  The girl’s also have some very talented runners, several who have been part of the winter group I’ve been working with.  Senior Annika Punz was 1st team All-NCS (Division 4) in cross country this year and is on track to run well under her 5:19/11:27 PR’s in the 1600 and 3200.  Juniors Lia Sullivan and Maddie Potter have been out there as well and it wouldn’t surprise me if they threaten their lifetime bests is the first meet or two.  Jing Li-Chou was our 2nd fastest cross country runner this season but has had a couple nagging injuries derail her training.  If she can get healthy, she’s talented enough to make a splash as well. I've also been very impressed with Lilah Hoover-Nemerson's commitment and work ethic.



Coach Aaron Mercadel: Throws


Q: Coach, welcome to the staff.  You have several throwers who medaled at the TCAL Championships last year.  What are your goals for this season?


A:  Thanks.  I’m excited to be a part of this program.  As you know, I was a student at Saint Mary’s and remember how successful this program has been over the  I’m excited to be a part of it.


I’m looking forward to establishing a hard-working attitude with our group.  I come from the football world and know and understand the importance of detail meeting hard-work.  I coached most of the boy’s in the fall so we’re familiar with each other in that sense.  And, thus far I’m impressed with the girls willingness to get out here and work.  Expect our group to be fit, detailed and strong. 


Q: Who are some of the athletes to watch?


A:  For the boy’s, senior Ethan Baiter joined the team last year and showed huge improvement.  He’ll be one of our top guys.  Mason Young tells me he’s throwing the shot over 40’ this year and so far he looks like he’s on track.  Bobby Ortiz is our most experienced thrower and can throw the shot and discus equally well.  Those three are our top boys.


For the girls, juniors Saniyah Vann and Olivia Watson have shown the most interest.  Both were TCAL finalist last year and both competed at Bayshore.  I’d say that they’ll lead the group this year.