It was a typical Friday. Berkeley students donned their Friday uniforms. The sun rose to give us her warmth and light. The Osprey was returning with a fish to feed her youngsters on the light at the finish line of the track. 30 teams were in route to embark on an elusive journey for the state championships. As the teams arrived at Stanford J. Newman stadium, there was a feeling that the 2016 Berkeley Track & Field teams would cement their own legacy in track folklore. The top 4 individuals and relay teams would qualify for the State Championships to be held at IMG Academy.
The girls team entered Regionals with a chance at making Berkeley history. The team knew it would be close and the field events would be the “X” factor as to our team’s ultimate fate. When the sun finally set on a record-setting day at the Track, the Berkeley Girls Track & Field team were able to hoist the vaulted REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP Trophy! The team was able to defeat such notable programs as Lakewood HS (currently the reigning Pinellas County champ), Lemon Bay (last year’s regional champ), TC, Academy, and Dunbar. The girl’s team once again relied on their field event strength to build an insurmountable lead that overwhelmed the other programs. Nicole Stambo is the Regional Champ in the Pole Vault, while teammate Amanda Dumar finished 4th to also qualify for States. Stephanie Punzak just missed in the Pole Vault with a big PR to place 5th. Stephanie then came back in the High Jump, tying her personal best and adding an important 3 points placing 6th. Valentina Estrada claimed her first Regional Championship by winning the Shot Put with the Second Best throw in Berkeley history! Kellyn Trowse and Valentina then added a 5th and 6th place in the Discus Throw! Chloe Davis claimed Regional Runner-up in the Long Jump with a huge personal best jump! Amanda Dumar extended her own SCHOOL RECORD by winning the Triple Jump in a mark of 35’9. Nicole Stambo also broke the old school record and claimed the Region Runner-up spot, while teammate Chloe Davis matched the old school record in the Triple Jump placing 3rd. Berkeley’s trio went 1-2-3 and thus gave us a huge leading going into finals! In the running events, the 4 x 800 relay team of Christiana Till, Grace Searle, Caroline Brown, and Makayla Rutski placed 6th. Makayla then grabbed an 8th place in the 1600 meter run. Despite some hand-off trouble, the 4 x 100 relay team of Nicole Stambo, Sydney Mercurio, Olivia Ferrone, and Sarah Sbar placed 7th. Amanda Dumar then broke her own SCHOOL RECORD by claiming the Regional title in the 300 Hurdles. Chloe Davis then followed up that performance with a Regional Title win in the 800 meter run in a new personal best tie. Capping off the evening, the 4 x 400 team of Chloe Davis, Sydney Mercurio, Olivia Ferrone, and Amanda Dumar finished a the Regional Runner-up in a near School Record time (just .09 off the record).
The Boys team finished 7th in the Region, beating such programs as TC, Lemon Bay, CCC, and Frostproof. During the field events, it was Gregory Moore who punched his ticket first to the State Championships by placing 3rd in the Discus Throw. Paxton Newman continued his march to the State meet by placing 4th in the Pole Vault to extend his season. Teammate Avery Heyck continued his late season push by just missing the state qualification with a 5th place finish. In the running events, the boys 4 x 800 relay team of Jeff Guttentag, Leo Ochoa, Gaby Fraifer, and Bailey Forsmans ran the 3rdFastest relay in school history and punched their ticket to state with a 3rd place finish. Leo then came back to finish 3rd in the 1600 meter run. Later in the night, Leo punched his 3rd ticket to the state meet with a 2nd place finish in the 3200 meter run. CJ Black just missed a state berth with a 5th place finish in the 300 meter hurdles in a new personal best mark! Jeff Guttentag added a 7th place finish in the 800, equaling his personal best. Addison Grams added a 5th place finish in the open 200 in a strong finish. Finally, the boys 4 x 400 relay team of Kenny Harvey, CJ Black, Adrian Fraser, and Bailey Forsmans added an 8th place finish to top off a quality evening of racing!
The State Track & Field meet will be this weekend on Friday and Saturday at IMG Academy in Bradenton. The coaches would like to thank those Seniors whose career ended on Friday: James Augustine, CJ Black, Adrian Fraser, Addison Grams, Jarod Guzik, Gavin Haag, Ed Todd, Caroline Brown, Grace Searle, Madison Jenkins, Lauren Oken, and Stephanie Punzak. We wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.