Varsity track and field shines at CCS Finals


Zachary Newman

Senior Romer Rosales-Hasek rounds the track in the 800-meter event at CCS Finals.

Zachary Newman, Sports Editor

Varsity track and field’s season, which head coach Chris Coleman dubbed an “incredible success,” concluded at Central Coast Section (CCS) Finals on Saturday, May 20 — except for one. Junior Avah Reichow extended her season with a third-place finish in the girl’s 300-meter hurdles, enough to earn a spot in the California Interscholastic Federation state championship. 

“Making it to state was always a goal that I had in mind,” Reichow said. “But the biggest thing was just trying my best and putting together all the hard work from over the season until that point.”

This wasn’t just any third-place finish, however — Reichow crossed the finish line in a blistering 44.67 seconds, a personal record. A week after posting the third-best time in Burlingame school history at PAL Finals, Reichow responded by shattering the record, running the fastest time ever for any Panther in the event at CCS Finals, etching her name into the record books — and all in her first season running hurdles.

“I’ve been able to improve in the 300-[meter] hurdles, especially because I started them this year,” Reichow said. “[I am seeing] the improvement from every meet, just getting a little bit better each time.”

But Reichow’s triumph wasn’t the only highlight of the day. Both boys’ and girls’ relay teams, three of which qualified for CCS Finals, impressed, especially the girl’s 4×400 meter relay. Led by juniors Reichow, Lauren Gonzalez and Cora Haggarty and freshman Stella Newman, the 4×400 relay team posted a time of 4:01.58, a season record by two seconds. Sacred Heart Cathedral’s anchor crossed the line just a second and a half before Haggarty, leaving the Panthers to take fourth place, one spot out of state qualification. 

The boy’s 4×800 relay, run by juniors Ariunbold Purev-Chang, Isaac Van Voorhis, Jake Ramirez and senior Romer Rosales-Hasek, finished in 16th place with a time of 8:35.11. The girls’ team also made an appearance in the 4×800 relay with freshman Joelle Huysmans, as well as juniors Elise Spenner, Ava Gonzalez and Astrid Carlen placing 13th place out of 17 competing teams with a time of 10:13.83. 

“We were hoping to do as best we could and if we can make states, great, but I didn’t have a ton of expectations,” Newman said. “It was my first CCS and to make it as far as we did was really exciting.”

In the 1600-meter event during CCS trials, Newman logged a personal record of 5:13:04 and placed 14th of 30 runners, but was the second-fastest freshman in the race. 

Despite no other state meet berths, Burlingame made their mark in multiple events at CCS Finals. Haggarty competed in both the 200 and 400-meter competitions, finishing in 6th and 5th, respectively. Rosales-Hasek placed 8th in the boy’s 800-meter event, finishing with a time just under 2 minutes. 

Reichow will now turn her attention to states, where she will be Burlingame’s only competitor. 

“I mainly [will] focus on the experience and the fact that I get to be there,” Reichow said. “I don’t want to set super high expectations because I don’t want to be disappointed if they’re not met. I [will] just do my best and [try] having the best race that I possibly can and see where that takes me.”

Coleman cited the three relay teams and the increasing number of Panther athletes qualifying for CCS Finals, with one athlete advancing to states, as proof the team can be even more successful and dominant next season.

“We’ve got some juniors that will still come back next year and will hopefully be at a level higher than they performed this year. That’s the goal,” Coleman said. “But there are some up-and-comers from the frosh-soph team and that could potentially make an impact.”

But for now, the track and field squad will celebrate a remarkable season and an impressive CCS Finals showing. 

“We had a phenomenal year,” Coleman said. “Couldn’t have asked for anything more.”