With the Peninsula Athletic League Track and Field Championships beginning Wednesday, the field is wide open, but the Westmoor High School boys and girls track teams lead the pack, and despite losing some stellar runners from last year, the Rams continue to find ways to win.
Westmoor was left without an elite runner after last season when Central Coast Section runner John Paul Williams graduated. But that put more emphasis on “team” and the Rams have responded.
“It hasn’t been one group for us to win,” Westmoor coach Ron DiMaggio said. “The fact we’ve done so well has blown me away.”
Westmoor did not start practicing on a track until four weeks ago, due to construction on the field, which makes its 6-0 mark in both the boys and girls standings heading into the PAL championships all the more impressive.
Francis Dos Les Reyes and Xavier Torino have led the charge for the boys team.
Dos Les Reyes anchors both relay teams and runs the 200-meter and 400-meter dash. Torino has excelled in the hurdles, with DiMaggio calling him one of the best in the league.
Sophomore Kylie Goo, whose parents were coached by DiMaggio on the Westmoor track team when they were in high school, is one of the best distance runners in th ePAL for the girls team.
Senior Andria Donley has been the top hurdler for the girls team.
DiMaggio said technique events, such as long jump or pole vault, were difficult to work on without access to the facilities.
“The first six weeks, we were in the parking lot,” DiMaggio said. “You can’t jump into a pit if you don’t have sand.”
The Rams were avoiding cars, speed bumps and other dangers in the concrete lot. DiMaggio even lost a couple of players for a week because they tripped over a speed bump.
The track team draws students well at Westmoor and a big reason is a little-used word in competition.
“A lot of people don’t use the word ‘fun’ in competition,” DiMaggio said.
DiMaggio, who has been coaching track at Westmoor for 32 years, said making it enjoyable with a family atmosphere also is key to the massive participation he sees in his program.
“We put five kids in each event,” DiMaggio said. “The kids are strong, competitive.”
Westmoor, which finished in the top five in the CCS championships in 2010, will have competition from Carlmont, whose boys team is 4-1 and girls team is 3-2.
The PAL championships begin Wednesday at College of San Mateo with trials, while finals will take place at CSM on May 11.
WHEN: Trials, Wednesday; Finals, May 11
WHERE: College of San Mateo
NOTE: The Westmoor boys and girls finished the dual-meet season with perfect 6-0 records.