San Lorenzo Valley High track short distance runners Amaya Gordon and Kaitlin Seigle are on the verge of accomplishing something special in the final stretch of the regular season.
This pair of speedy Cougars will attempt to defend their league titles at the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League Championships at SLV on May 5.
Seigle, the defending 400 and 800 meters league champion, said she’s thrilled to be able to compete in her own backyard and on what she believes is the prettiest track she’s ever run on.
“I’m so excited for league [championships]. It’s going to be hard, of course, since I’m running all three of my events,” she said. “But hopefully I can pull some wins and maybe some seconds, depending upon how I’m feeling.”
Seigle will also race in the 200 and go up against fellow teammate Gordon, the defending league champion.
“I want to see if I can make that happen again,” Gordon said. “If that doesn’t happen that’s ok, too. Like I said, I’m excited, happy to have a full season and be running again.”
On top of the 200, Gordon will attempt to bring home a 100 championship.
Last year, she blazed through the competition by winning five league meets in the 200 including the SCCAL finals during an abbreviated spring season in April.
Gordon had more time to prepare for this season with high hopes of getting faster times, but it didn’t go as planned.
She didn’t hit her stride until she set a personal-best time of 26.96 in a fourth place finish at the 49th Avis Kelley Invitational at Gilroy High on March 26.
Two weeks later, she won both the 200 (27.27) and 100 in a personal-best 13.01 at the Bill Kearney Invitational at Salinas High.
“I think since now my times are slowly getting faster again, I feel a little more confident that [SCCAL] finals could be a good meet for me,” she said.
Gordon said she’s still aiming to break the 13-second mark in the 100 and is fully confident she can make it happen.
She’s now focused on faster workouts and tapered off weight lifting once the season began. Gordon said she needed to be consistent with everything and it’s worked for her up to this point.
Gordon placed 12th in the 200 (27.17) and 18th in the 100 (13.13) at the CCS Top 8 meet at Los Gatos High on April 22. She said she was excited to be able to compete in the event.
“Being able to qualify for that meet and go felt like a big accomplishment for myself,” she said. “Just being able to run with a bunch of other fast people who are committed to running in college and what not, it was a good meet.”
However, it hasn’t been an easy journey for Gordon.
In 2019, an ankle injury during her freshman year sidelined her until the SCCAL championships. She said it was a tough pill to swallow but she accepted it.
Then the Covid-19 pandemic derailed the 2020 spring season. Gordon said it was frustrating having to train alone when they weren’t allowed to have joint practices or being left in the unknown.
“I was caught off guard and didn’t know if I was going to be able to finish out my years of track,” she said. “Now I’m at the strongest I’ve ever been and I just feel like I’m running out of time.”
Seigal said she’s also excited to have a full season after the Covid-19 pandemic shut down her freshman year.
“I was really looking forward to this season going into it,” she said. “I didn’t have super high expectations for myself. I just wanted to do the best that I could do for this year.”
Seigal said she’s exceeded her expectations in terms of improvement. Her main event was the 800 but this year her sprints have taken over and is getting better running in both the 400 and 200.
“Nothing to complain about, though. I’m really happy about that,” she said.
Seigal broke the minute-mark in the 400 for the first time in her career. She won in 58.70 at a league meet against Scotts Valley and Mount Madonna on April 14.
She also won the 200 in a personal-best 26.85 seconds. Seigal said she was surprised to edge Gordon but it’s never about who comes out on top.
“I always want to be there encouraging her because that’s what a good teammate does,” Seigal said. “That’s important to me and our girls team is so encouraging to one another, I just want to continue that to everyone on the team.”
Gordon said having a great coaching staff including first-year head coach Eric Miller has been another big help in their success this season.
“It’s really tight knit, we’re all really close and it just helps make practice more fun,” Gordon said. “I think all of that plays a part in it.”
SLV will host the final SCCAL meet of the season against Santa Cruz High on Thursday.