The Kennedy High-Richmond boys track team had four athletes entered in the North Coast Section Meet of Champions. That proved to be a sufficient number.
The Eagles foursome watched everything come together perfectly as they totalled 46 points en route to tying Amador Valley for the team championship. It was the first time since 1974 that Kennedy won the NCS MOC title.
"We get a lot of negative reports about Kennedy," coach Carl Sumler said. "It was just a good feeling and showed we do have some good kids in the area."
For his team's efforts, Sumler has been named the Bay Area News Group East Bay boys track and field coach of the year.
Kennedy's 46 team points came in five events, the only ones in which the Eagles had entrants. The team didn't have a single participant in the field events and no runners in the middle or long distances.
Fortunately, Kennedy had explosive hurdler Kenneth Walker III. The UCLA-bound football player easily won the 110-meter high hurdles and 300-meter intermediate hurdles.
"We knew we had Kenny," Sumler said. "We needed to build a team around him to make it work."
Junior sprinter Takkarist McKinley delivered the unexpected. Sumler recruited the speedster to the track from the football field and he delivered a solid third-place finish in the 100 meters. He then shocked the field to take first in the 200.
Walker and McKinley had helped open the day with success by joining Lovell Stewart
"Each time I looked up, I saw one of my boys on the podium," Sumler said. "I asked Tom Jacobs to run up to the announcing booth and find out what's going on. Two minutes later, the man makes the announcement."
The team's accomplishments prompted recognition at the West Contra Costa Unified School District Board of Education meeting on June 13, in which Sumler was recognized as "a dedicated and committed coach who's making a difference in the lives and futures of the students he coaches."