Bickham, Lancers belt Padres
By: VYTAS MAZEIKA Daily News Staff Writer
Posted March 29
Forget about the Central Coast Section championships. Saint Francis senior Cody Bickham has his sights set on a return trip to the state meet, where he seeks redemption.
“It was a really good experience to get in that ring and go through the pressure of only having three throws to make it,” said Bickham, who failed to crack the top 10 in the discus throw and the shot put. “But I think about that day every single day now, the opportunity that I lost there and how I’m not going to let that happen this year.”
On Wednesday inMountain View during a West Catholic Athletic League track and field meet against Serra-San Mateo, that frustration was channeled into motivation as Bickham extended his CCS-best mark in the shot put by almost 2 feet with a 54-foot, 9-inch effort. In four discus throws, Bickham was unable to top his mark in the discus, but he still ranks No. 1 in CCS by almost 30 feet. Bickham’s best discus throw against the Padres measured 169-9 to sweep the throws while helping the Lancers win 92-44.
“He’s great to have around the rest of the team because he’s a great influence,” said Saint Francis coach Mike Saso, who praised Bickham’s work ethic.
“I put in just a ton of work this summer, working through the tough days and the good days,” said the 6-5 Bickham, who will compete at Cal next year. “It’s taken a lot to get here and I feel like I put myself in a really solid spot to make a run at winning state this year.” Serra junior Zach Mitchell has tamer goals. After crashing the scene in the WCAL finals last year, the emerging hurdler is on the cusp of cracking the top 5 in CCS in both the 110-meter high hurdles and the 300 hurdles.
“He’s getting to that top 10 status right now,” Serra coach Jim Marheineke said. “We saw a little glimpse of it last year when he won out of nowhere the 300 hurdles at WCAL. He moved up to varsity because we thought he had a chance to reach CCS and he just ran a phenomenal race. And now this year he’s coming along.”
Mitchell dusted the field in both events, though the 6-4 sprinter took his lumps with a scrape on his right knee after hitting a hurdle.
“One, no. Multiple times, yes,” Mitchell said of his collision with the hurdles.
The coaching staff took notice last season of Mitchell’s height and length and suggested he learn to run the hurdles. Now fully committed to the event, Mitchell has been pushed by Serra assistant coach Ed Berry. Mitchell ran a PR in the 100 high hurdles Wednesday with a time of 15.68 and was in cruise control in the 300 hurdles with a season-best 41.78.
“I’m not as far as I want to be, but I’m definitely progressing,” said Mitchell, who circled the CCS finals after taking his first glance at the schedule. “I’m going to get to where I want to be by the end of the year, for sure.”
Mitchell also won the high jump with a mark of 5- 8, but the afternoon’s best belonged to Saint Francis freshman Brycen Carbonel, who cleared 6 feet and fell 2 inches shy of breaking the school’s JV record.
“I never like to put limits on kids,” Saso said. “I just like to build their confidence.”
A three-way showdown in the 100 dash was tainted when Serra senior Erich Wilson, who signed a football scholarship with the University of Washington, was unable to sprint to the finish.
“He kind of felt a little twinge in the hamstring and just shut it down so he didn’t do anything worse after the 100,” Marheineke said.
Saint Francis junior Khalid Johnson matched his season-best 10.85 — third in CCS — to edge Serra’s Chad Baur (11.29) while Wilson came in last at 12.61.
“I’ve been told to notice that my starts haven’t been going that well, I’ve just been getting up and just going,” Johnson said. “So this year I really took time to really focus on my starts. I’ve been working on it almost every weekend, and I’m starting to improve my times.”
Johnson, who missed a few weeks after suffering a concussion during the basketball season, also won the 200 dash (23.01) and the long jump (20-8), plus he ran the meet-opening 400 relay that beat out Serra’s top foursome, which was disqualified.
Basketball teammate Abu Tratter won the 400 dash (52.12) while senior Colin Mack swept the 800 and 1,600 runs with times of 2:04.22 and 4:40.89. Mack also ran in the winning 1,600-relay team.
“That’s a lot of racing,” Saso said.
Saint Francis pole vaulter Marc Toney, who cleared 14-6 to win, had a jump that could have cleared 16 feet in his final attempt of the day but barely skimmed the bar on his way down. Fellow junior Ryan Tom won the triple jump with a 41-11¾ effort.
Serra’s Carsten Stann won the 3,200 run (9:59.14).