San Lorenzo Valley High senior Kaitlin Seigle receives a hug from teammate Haven Finley after the Cougars 4x400 relay team won its race during the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League Track and Field Championships at Santa Cruz High School on May 5. (Juan Reyes/Press Banner)

San Lorenzo Valley High senior Kaitlin Seigle came into the track season feeling the fastest she’d ever felt in her career.

But just when things started to look up, she hit a snag that included a lung infection, followed by a pulled hamstring and then a muscular imbalance on her shoulder, which kept her sidelined for a majority of the year. 

“I got to the point where I was so mentally discouraged,” Seigle said. 

Since then, she’s managed to bounce back in winning form, including a victory in the 800 meters at last weekend’s Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League Track and Field Championships.

Seigle won the race in 2 minutes, 15.39 seconds, just ahead of Aptos High junior Rachel Hoops (2:18.59) and fellow Cougars teammate Colleen Murata (2:19.77).

Seigle qualified for the Central Coast Section Track and Field Championships semifinals at Gilroy High School starting at 10am. The top two finishers in their respective event advanced to this weekend’s trials.

The Cougars took second as a team with a score of 98 behind league champion Aptos (134.5) and slightly ahead of Santa Cruz (97.5), Soquel (80) and Scotts Valley (48) to round off the top five.

Murata still qualified for the CCS semifinals in the 1,600 following a second place finish in 5:16.89 behind Scotts Valley High junior Ashlyn Boothby (5:01.62).  

Seigle and Murata were also part of the 4×400 relay team (Seigle, Haven Finley, Murata, Ruby Evans) that won and set a new personal record (4:12.83) by nearly 10 seconds.

Seigle—who was the anchor—said they started well with Finley and Evans running their best lap of the season, followed by a bolting Murata who went all out from the start. 

“I was like ‘I gotta keep that going, I’m not letting them down,’” Seigle said. “I love those girls so much, my team means so much to me. To carry them through, I had to do it.”

Seigle came sprinting down the final 100 meters en route to victory for the Cougars.

The same group took second in the 4×800 relay race in 9:41.71 just behind Scotts Valley’s team (Boothby, Diana Alivov, Ava Decleve, Rafaela Putnam) who won in 9:37.34.

“We’re all distance runners,” Seigle said. “They’re all one mile, 800 [meter] girls, but they come out here to represent. They do amazing. I’m so proud of them.”

SLV senior Mia Hamilton is on her way to the CCS semis after she won the long jump with a leap of 16 feet, 05.00 inches. She also placed second in the 100 in 12.93 seconds, slightly behind Soquel High junior Jonelle Scott (12.63).

Scotts Valley freshman Ava Decleve won the 400 after she edged Santa Cruz High senior Greta Cavazzuti (58.98), who was the favorite going into last week’s race.

“Greta was amazing. She helped me push the whole way there,” Decleve said. “I was just trying to push myself, do the best and try to see where I could get. I wasn’t expecting it, but either way, first, second or third would be amazing.”

As soon as the starting gun went off, Decleve said all the nerves went out the window and the adrenaline kicked in as the runners left the starting line.

She got a sneak preview of what the CCS field will look like after competing in the Top 8 event April 21.

It’s been an interesting season for Decleve who made the transition from the cross country team—which competes in long distances—over to the track squad for a much shorter race. Two weeks ago was the first time she felt comfortable enough to say she belonged at the top of the pack.

“My teammates helped me through it all. Going on runs with them, training and laughing and having fun while doing it because that’s the most important,” she said.  


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A Watsonville native who has a passion for local sports and loves his community. A Watsonville High, Cabrillo College, San Jose State University and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alumnus, he primarily covers high school athletics, Cabrillo College athletics, various youth sports in the Pajaro Valley and the Santa Cruz Warriors. Juan is also a video game enthusiast, part-time chef (at home), explorer and a sports junkie. Coaches and athletic directors are encouraged to report scores HERE.


  1. Kaitlin is a Honors student at Coast Redwood High School/SLVUSD Charter School and is not a student at San Lorenzo Valley High School as noted in this article. She is on the SLV Track Team.

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