CASTRO VALLEY -- Castro Valley High track and field star Sasha Wallace needed a different approach for this season.
"Last year, I was kind of, in a way, the hunter to get these titles and (personal records)," Wallace said. "The difference is I had to go in and defend what I did last year. I was the hunted."
The Oregon-bound senior was never caught in the 100-meter hurdles and triple jump this track and field season. She also became the first East Bay high school girl to successfully defend California Interscholastic Federation state championships in two individual events.
She won the 100 hurdles in 13.43 seconds (wind-legal), which leads the state and is ranked No. 2 in the nation, according to DyeStat.com. Minutes earlier, she won the triple jump by 18 inches with a leap of 41 feet, 91/2 inches (wind-legal). Her season-best mark of 42 feet, 4 inches, in the triple jump, set at the Sacramento Meet of Champions, is the longest in the state this season and ranks No. 2 in the nation for wind-legal jumps.
There was another difference from last year -- Wallace added an event. She competed in the long jump for the first time in April and, less than two months later, placed sixth in the state championships in the event with a wind-legal leap of 18-11. Her personal-record mark of 20-2 (wind-aided) also tied the North Coast Section Meet of Champions record. In addition, Wallace won NCS Meet of Champions titles in the 100 hurdles and the triple jump.
For her stellar season, Wallace has been named the Bay Area News Group's East Bay Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year. "To come back and defend your titles is always a good thing," said Curtis Taylor, Wallace's club coach with the East Oakland Youth Development Center. "Once you are in the books as a state champion, that never goes away."
"It was a very productive season for her," Castro Valley coach Dooney Jones said. "I know she had a lot of fun."
Wallace's event schedule was quite packed at the state championships finals. Right after finishing the triple jump, Wallace had to get ready for the 100 hurdles and missed the awards ceremony for the triple jump. After winning the hurdles race, she went right to the long jump competition.
"The key is to remain calm. You don't want to run to events," Wallace said after the long jump at the state championship finals on June 1.