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O’Dowd Wins Men’s and Women’s Track and Field WACCC League Titles

The Bishop O’Dowd Track and Field team completed a sweep in the WACC

league finals – winning both the boys and girls league titles on Saturday, May 14. This is the mens’ fourth title in 5 years, and the girls have won 3 times in the last 5 years. Since the head coach, Dr. Jamal Cooks, began at O’Dowd in 2011 the team has won at least one of the titles in every year except last year, when they finished second in both.

Featuring a strong cast, the women’s team was favored to win, as they have been dominant in league meets throughout the season, including impressive showings at several invitational meets.

Tierra Robinson-Jones, a sophomore long sprinter, has the fourth fastest 400m time in the state, and easily won the 400 meters by nearly 20 meters. She finished 1-2 with senior KaRa Awakoaiye in the 200 meters. KaRa, the Howard University-bound senior, won the 100m hurdles, completing her third straight league title in the event.

The two sprinters helped the women win both relays – 4×100 and the 4×400 relays in dominating fashion. Freshman, Jordan Jones, a relatively new comer to track anchored the 4×100 relay and also was able to advance to the regional finals in the 100m and long jump.

Natalie Mitchell, a senior who will compete at UC Riverside in the fall, continued her league dominance in the throws, with victories in the shot put and discus. Her presence has also been instrumental in helping sophomore Maya Jenkins develop into a strong thrower. Maya finished second in the discuss, and also qualified for the shot put, along with two other sophomore female throwers – Karayah Gibbs and Kameela Hall.

In the distance events, while lacking a single dominant runner, the girls proved equally strong. Junior Jourdan Amen won the 800m, while junior Emma Wawrzynek finished 2nd in the 3200m and 3rd in the 1600m, while running a season best 5:18.23.

The men’s team was not favored to win the league – they have had strong competition throughout the year from San Leandro and Castro Valley, but their ability to compete across multiple events proved the difference. Cooks said that it “always looks like another school would take us”, but this again proved to be O’Dowd’s year.

Led by senior Nick Downs, the boys fought in every event. Downs, demonstrated an amazing display of strength winning all three distance races (800m, 1600m, and the 3200m). He is the section leader and is favored to qualify for the state championship. Five of the 9 qualifiers for the regional championship in the 3200m were O’Dowd athletes, including second place finisher, Aaron Gonzalez.

Camilo Eifler, who will attend the University of Washington, won the discus and placed second in the shot put. His teammate, and fellow senior, Richard Atthowe, was right behind him, finishing 3rd in both throwing events. Throws coach Tony Green calls his boys and girls throw team the, “best throws team in Northern California”.

Entering the final event of the day, the 4x400m relay, the men led by only 2 points, but a gutsy third place finish put the boys up by 6 points.

A number of men qualified for the regional meet, including several sprinters (Victor Flint, Damani Ballard, Naeem Ward, and Matt Challenger), hurdlers (Khukheper Awakoaiye and Isaiah Pitre), and distance runners (Spencer Berkins and Owen Taffe).

Coach Cooks is most proud that, “We scored points in every single event”, and he is even happier to escort one of the largest contingents to the Bayshore regional meet.


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