St. Helena high sophomore Harper McClain got her prep track and field career off to a resounding start at the Saints’ home meet on Tuesday.
McClain, who runs the 1600 meters and 3200 meters, set school records in both races. She ran the 1600 in 5 minutes, 10.3 seconds, beating the old record of 5:32.6 set by Jenny West in 1997, and the 3200 in 10:52, shattering the old record of 12:15, also set by West in 1997.
McClain finished 34 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher in the 1600 and 1:43 ahead of the runnerup in the 3200.
While the 1600 time is a school record, the 3200 time is the one of note. It’s not only the second-fastest time run in the event in the North Coast Section this year and the 20th-fastest time run in the state this year, according to athletic.net, but it’s also the 15th-fastest time recorded in the Redwood Empire and the ninth fastest recorded by a sophomore girls ever, according to the redwoodempirerunning.com.
“I knew she was going to be pretty darn close to the mile record but I had no idea she’d do that in the two-mile,” said St. Helena track and field head coach Dave Pauls on Wednesday.
The only person who’s run a faster two-mile in the NCS this year on the girls side is Healdsburg senior Gabrielle Peterson, who won the CIF Div. 5 cross country meet last fall and has a full athletic scholarship to Oregon State University. She recorded a 10:39.81 back on March 16, which ranks 10th in the state this year.
McClain was a talented runner at Robert Louis Stevenson Middle School but is also a soccer player and decided to play on a club team last spring. She’s doing both this spring.
She’s also the older sister of Cleo McClain, the 13-year old eighth grader at RLS who had the second-fastest time in his age group (1-17) in the Napa Valley Half Marathon earlier this month.
Aside from McClain, the Saints boys dominated on the track as well.
They set conference-best marks in the 100 (Ryan Searl, 11.0 seconds), 200 (Cody DiTomaso, 23.1 seconds), 400 (DiTomaso, 52.7 seconds), 110 hurdles (Jacob Lehman, 15.9 seconds) and the long jump (Searl, 19-feet, 1-inch). The Saints also set the top Redwood Empire time in the 4x100 relay so far this year finishing in 44.0 seconds.
Other notable boys finishers were John Baker, winner of the 800 in 2:10, freshman Ivan Robledo, who ran the third-fastest 100 time in 11.6, Jordan Reilly, recorder of the third-fastest 1600 time with a 4:54.3 and second-fastest 3200 time with a 10:45.6, and Jacob Mendes, who ran the second-fastest 300 hurdles time of 49.7. The Saints also won the 4x400 relay with a time of 3:49.7.
Other notable finishes for the girls belonged to Ellie Blakeley, who won the 100 hurdles in 17.3 to set the conference-best mark this season, Katie Heffernan, who finished second in the triple jump with a 29-feet, 4-inches and Andrea Hernandez, who finished second in the long jump with a 13’5.