The Casa Grande High School track team showed it could compete in its first North Bay League track and field championship meet. Casa finished third with both its boys and girls teams, advancing many of its athletes to the North Coast Section Area meet in the process.

The North Coast Section Area meet WILL be held Saturday at Santa Rosa High School, with field events starting at 9 a.m. and running events at 10 a.m. That meet, featuring top competitors from the Humboldt Del Norte, Marin County Athletic, North Bay and Sonoma County leagues and Coastal Mountain Conference, will be more focused on individuals as they battle for spots in the following week's North Coast Section Tournament of Champions meet in Berkeley. The top six finishers in each event and top three relay teams in last Friday's NBL meet qualified for area competition.

Maria Carrillo, as expected, dominated the boys meet with 144 points. Casa Grande finished with 72, just one point behind second-place Rancho Cotate, the meet host.

The dominant boy athlete in the meet was Casa Grande senior Brycen Poarch, who RULED the jumping events, disappointing a trio of Rancho Cotate jumpers in the process.

Poarch cleared 6-4 in the high jump, a height matched by Rancho Cotate's Justin Zimmerman, but the Gaucho won the event on the basis of fewer misses.

The Cougars' Tariq Burton was conquered in the long jump, with Poarch going 22-03 1/2, while Burton jumped 21-05 1/4. IT was close, but Poarch bested Rancho's Juwan Morales in the triple jump, going 45-04 1/4 to 45-02 for Morales.

Poarch also ran a leg on Casa Grande's third-place 4x100-meter relay team.

"I"m feeling pretty good, but I'm not used to doing four events," Poarch noted.

Although it doesn't show by his strong performance, Poarch works with a handicap. "I pretty much never practice because of the dirt around our jumping pit," he explained.

Poarch went to state last season and wants a return trip, but he also has a personal mark in mind. "I'm trying to go 46 (feet) in the triple jump," he said.

The other field standout for the Gauchos was junior thrower Caleb Lundquist, who took second in the discus at 152-0, and third in the shot at 47-11.

Casa sophomore Nicholas Rauch just missed second in the 1600, running an excellent 4:24,62 to finish behind Santa Rosa's Christian Nazarek, who was timed in 4:24.34. Maria Carrillo's Ryan Anderson won in 4:23.70.

Santa Rosa won the girls meet with 149 points, with Maria Carrillo second with 110 and Casa Grande tying Montgomery for third with 61.

A pair of juniors led the Casa girls' efforts.

Courtney Accurso ran well in both hurdles events, finishing third in the 100s in 16.77 and third in the 300s win 48.73, just missing second in both events.

Eva King led Casa Grande field efforts, finishing second in the long jump with a leap of 15-7 3/4 and third in the triple jump with a 33-02 effort.

A pair of freshmen, ran well in the distance events and showed a bright future for themselves and their team. Ileana Moon was second in the 800, running 2:18.63, while Saskia Van Ommeren-Egber was third in the 1600 in 5:19.78.