Zalewski makes it to final day of Meet of Champions

Sophia Zalewski

Piedmont High School junior Sophia Zalewski qualified in two events at the North Coast Section (NCS) Meet of Champions on May 18 at Diablo Valley College. Zalewski was the only Highlander to make it to the final day of the meet, which is a qualifier for the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) championships, to be held May 24-25 in Clovis.

Zaleski finished 10th in the 1,600 meters in five minutes, 25.51 seconds. She came back later that afternoon to finish 20th in the 3,200 in 11:45.49.

Zalewski qualified for the finals of the 1,600 by running a 5:11.37, finishing fifth in her heat on May 17. There was no qualifying for the 3,200.

Having to run races on back-to-back days is one of the difficulties of the Meet of Champions. It’s also great preparation for runners who plan to compete in college.

“It was exciting,” Zalewski said. “My season overall was really good. I didn’t have a great day today with either of my races. I wasn’t expecting to make it to finals in the (1,600). I didn’t anticipate this much running. But it definitely was a lot.”

Zalewski had set personal-bests in both events the previous two weeks. She ran 11:21.02 to finish second at the West Alameda County Conference (WACC) championships on May 4. She then won both events at the NCS Bayshore meet on May 11, with PRs in the 1,600 of 5:09.24 and in the 3,200 of 11:19.42.

“Just learning how to run events back-to-back is something that’s definitely important, especially in championships when you’re trying to move on in multiple events.”

The other Piedmont athletes that made the Meet of Champions were eliminated during the trials on May 17. Elizabeth Korn was fourth in her heat of the 100 hurdles, clocking a 16.76. Margaret Black and Margo Donahue were in the same heat in the 800. Black was seventh in 2:26.72, while Donahue was eighth in 2:30.24.

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