BERKELEY -- Track and field teams sometimes need steadying influences to reach their championship potential.
Amador Valley High's Matt Esparza provided that for the Dons' boys squad this weekend at the North Coast Section Meet of Champions. The Cal-bound Esparza was victorious in the discus on Friday (169 feet, 10 inches), then won the shot put title on Saturday with a mark of 57-8 as Amador Valley won the boys team title with 44 points.
"He's just been steady. This weekend, his 20 points was the difference for us," Amador Valley coach Peter Scarpelli said.
The Dons' 1,600 boys relay team of Ja'maun Charles, Conner McKinnon, Darnell Roberson and Josh Slaton clinched the outright team title for Amador Valley with a victory in 3:15.15 at Cal's Edwards Stadium.
The 1,600 and 300 intermediate hurdles were both won by .01 seconds.
Bishop O'Dowd's Eugene Hamilton III leaned at the finish line to edge Clayton Hutchins of Sir Francis Drake 4:13.49 to 4:13.50 in the 1,600.
"I knew if I wanted a chance to win this, and I really wanted to win this, I had to lean properly," Hamilton said.
Hamilton was approximately 15 meters behind Hutchins with 150 meters to go, but Hamilton made up ground to move right behind Hutchins with approximately 50 meters left before out-leaning Hutchins at the tape.
Hercules' Jalen Doss won by the same margin over Amador Valley's Sam Peters (37.87 to 37.88) in the 300 intermediate hurdles. "I was thinking I just have to stay strong, keep pumping my arms and hold my form," said Doss about his personal-record run.
Kennedy-Richmond's Takkarist McKinley was strong in the last 50 of the 100 to win in 11.09 seconds against a 2.7 mps head-wind and a talented field.
"North Coast is my section, and I went out and proved it," he said after the 100.
De La Salle's Marquis Morris also used a late charge to win the 110 hurdles in 14.11 seconds (against a 1.4 mps head-wind). Berkeley's James Traylor got an excellent start and led early in the race before placing second in 14.23.
"I knew (Traylor) was going to have a good start and I was going to have to go after that," Morris said.
James Logan's Karsten Wethington only had the ninth-best seed mark in the long jump, but sailed 23-6 (wind-aided) on his second attempt and saw that mark hold up for the championship victory.
Acalanes' Adler Faulkner, a senior who is Cornell-bound, took the lead with approximately 220 meters remaining in the 800 on his way to the win in 1:53.92.
The Castro Valley 400 relay team of Cameron Edwards, Myles Speegle, Aaron Jones and Matt Speegle won the event with an excellent time of 41.42 seconds.
In the boys 400, the top six placers all met the CIF at-large mark for the event and qualified for the state championships, led by Eureka's Alexis Robinson (47.03).
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