Luke King officially wrapped up his junior track and field season on Friday after competing in the shot put at the North Coast Section Meet of Champions, which was held at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill this year, rather than the University of California, Berkeley.
King came into the meet as the seventh seeded qualifier, and ended up holding serve to take seventh place in a field of 24 throwers. King’s best throw of the day was roughly 11 inches short of his personal record in the event.
“It went pretty good,” King said of Friday’s competition. “Placing-wise I did about as well as I expected. I went in seeded seventh and I ended up getting seventh. So my place I ended up in wasn’t too bad but I still didn’t throw as well as I wanted. My best throw was 47-07, I just couldn’t get past that.”
Although King thought he could have thrown a little bit better in Pleasant Hill, he said competing with the top atheltes in the section was a memorable experience.
“It was a super fun meet to go to. It was cool seeing all the really good, big time people I guess you could say,” King said. “It was a lot different feeling compared to our track meets.”
Only the top three placers qualify to move on to the California Interscholatic Federation State Meet, so King’s season is now at an end. Although the junior didn’t quite reach his stated goal of 50 feet this year, his PR of 48-06 was a significant improvement over last season.
“I feel pretty good about this year. I came in and did better than I expected — I guess that is all that really matters in the end,” King said. “I didn’t quite hit my goal (of 50 feet), but I still gained a solid four feet by the end of the year. So it was a really good season overall. It is definitley my favorite season so far.”
King doesn’t yet have a specific distance he would like to throw as a senior next year, but he knows where he would like to wrap up his high school track career next spring.
“My biggest goal is just to go to state next year because I feel like I can definitley make it,” he said. “I’ll have to work a lot harder, but seeing the competition down there I think it is a pretty earnable goal to set for myself.”
Although it was the first time King has competed in the Meet of Champions, fellow Del Norte junior Bryce Howard will be making his second straight appearance in the Meet of Champions today when the boys pole vault starts up at 12:45 p.m. Howard finished in 16th place out of 24 athletes in the pole vault last year as the only underclassmen competing in a senior-dominated field.
“Last year was a crazy experience as the only sophomore in boys pole vault,” Howard said. “I was competing against all these older guys, and I still finished about halfway between them. This year it will be about the same. We will lose the seniors that I vaulted against, but there will be new seniors, new juniors, and maybe some new sophomores if they make it.”
Howard comes into the meet in the thick of a crowded middle of the pack. Howard’s personal record of 12-08 at the Redwood Empire meet earned him the No. 10 seed in the event, but each of the athletes seeded No. 7-14 have the exact same qualifying mark.
Howard said he doesn’t expect to grab one of the top three qualifying spots into the California Interscholastic Federation State Meet, as three senior vaulters qualified for the MOC with jumps of 14-05 or higher. Still, Howard said he is excited to get a chance to compete with and watch the section’s best vaulters.
“You get more experience, and you get to see different techniques from all the other kids who made it who jump higher than me,” Howard said. “I get to see what their technique is and try to learn from that to get up to that certain height. If I can learn from that and incorporate it into what I do for pole vault it can benefit me a lot.”