Paso Robles High School senior Trad Berti out kicked San Luis Obispo’s Callum Bolger last month to win the 1-mile race at the Azusa Meet of Champions. It was a breakthrough win for Berti.
On Saturday at the 43rd-annual Elks San Luis Obispo County Track Meet at Cuesta College, Bolger made sure it didn’t happen again.
Bolger used a late surge in the highly anticipated 1,600-meter race to break his own meet record and win with a personal-record time of 4:07.69, beating out Berti (4:13.58) by a wide margin.
“My goal was to practice finishing well,” Bolger said. “I finished strong, so that was exactly what I was looking for.”
Berti, who has verbally committed to run next season at Chico State, set the early pace and held the lead for most of the race while Bolger held back. With 500 meters to go, Bolger made his move, but Berti matched. But Bolger’s final kick with 200 meters to go was something to behold.
“That was the best I have seen him run all season,” SLO High coach Steve Boaz said.
Bolger said he learned a valuable lesson in his last race against Berti. Back then, Bolger tried to go out fast and set the pace and was out kicked down the final stretch. This time, he held back, and it paid off.
“Today it ended up being a really fast time, so I was excited about that,” said Bolger, who will run at Stanford in the fall.
Bolger also beat out Berti in the 800 with a time of 1:56.29. For his effort, Bolger was named the Most Outstanding Boys Track Performer for the meet.
In the girls 1,600-meter event, Paso Robles senior Annie Meeder won with a time of 5:04.69, followed by SLO High sophomore Samantha Simard (5:06.76, PR) and Arroyo Grande’s Malia Simon (5:07.12, PR).
Arroyo Grande, Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo finished first, second and third in both the girls and boys team events, respectively. Paso Robles won the freshman/sophomore boys team event, and San Luis Obispo won the freshman/sophomore girls team event.
Here are some other meet highlights:
Atascadero senior Brittney McKinley had a career day on the track. She set two personal records, highlighted by a win in the 100 with a time of 12.44 to beat out Mission Prep junior Paige Baxstresser (12.47).
Baxstresser got her revenge with a win in the 200 with a time of 25.82, but McKinley’s 25.91 beat her previous best by .02 and had her riding on cloud nine.
“I was not expecting that at all,” McKinley said, a big smile painted across her face.
She thinks the fact she skipped a spring break vacation this year helped her to run her best.
McKinley was also part of the Greyhounds first-place 4x100 relay team (50.19) along with Abby Richey, Elizabeth Andrade and Talia Johnson. Mission Prep finished second in the race with a 50.26.
The meet handed out five more Most Outstanding awards for the meet in the field of 668 athletes.
Paso Robles senior Madison Mitchell was named track MVP after two wins, first in the 100-meter hurdles (15.11) and later in the 300-meter hurdles (45.50). She was also a part of the third-place 4x100 relay team.
SLO High sophomore Anneke Moersdorf was named field MVP after wins in the triple jump (35-07 PR) and the high jump (5-00). She also finished second in the long jump (16-06.25) behind teammate Shaina Morris (17-00.75).
Arroyo Grande senior and former soccer and football standout Matt Sill showed off his athleticism with four event wins on the day. He won the 110-meter hurdles (15.85), the 300-meter hurdles (38.51, PR), the long jump (21-11.25, PR) and the triple jump (42-02.00, PR)
Atascadero sophomore Shanice Welch won freshman/sophomore MVP with wins in the 100 (13.44, PR) and 200 (27.60).
Arroyo Grande sophomore Justice Fair won MVP with a pair of freshman/sophomore meet records — a 15.80 win in the 110-meter hurdles and a 41.79 in the 300-meter high hurdles. He also won the long jump (20-04.50) and was second in the high jump.
Click here for a full list of results.