Sonoma’s Conner runs to 2-mile NCS track MOC medal, breaks own record, just misses state
Junior Alex Conner positions himself for his run to a medal, breaking his week-long Sonoma school record in the boys’ 3,200-meter race at Saturday’s prestigious NCS Meet of Champions at Edwards Stadium at the University of California, Berkeley.
It has been an impressive first year of track and field competition for Sonoma Valley High School junior Alex Conner, who was a sectional-qualifying golfer the Dragons last season as a sophomore, but then demonstrated his long-distance talent during this past fall’s cross-country season and decided to keep on running this spring.
Learning his way around the ovals through the early part of the season under the direction of Sonoma’s long-distance events coach John Litzenberg, Conner picked up the pace down the stretch in both the mile and two-mile and first earned a solid 3,200-meter second-place finish at the Sonoma County League championships.
Conner then followed his fine SCL effort with a school record-setting performance at the North Coast Section Redwood Empire Area Meet, where he took a strong third-place in 9 minutes, 30.6 seconds, which broke his coach, and former Dragon star, Litzenberg’s 23-year-mark of 9:34.83 and qualified him for the NCS finals.
When it seemed like Conner might’ve peaked for this season with establishing a new Sonoma boys’ record, he again stepped up and claimed another milestone, actually make that two milestones.
In a field of the top-24 runners from throughout the large and talent-rich section, Conner ran the challenging 3,200 race at Saturday’s prestigious NCS Meet of Champions at Edwards Stadium at the University of California, Berkeley, and battled his way to capturing an honored sixth-place medal.
While racing to his NCS finals medal, Conner broke his week-old 3,200 record by finishing the MOC race in 9:25.48.
With the top-four finishers in each MOC event qualifying for the state meet, Conner stayed in strong contention to advance to the California track and field championships, but dropped back to seventh-place with two laps to go and then overtook one runner en route to medaling. Not bad for a first-year runner.
Two other members of Sonoma’s young track and field program, junior Sarah Summers and sophomore Greg Maggioncalda, also qualified for the Meet of Champions at the NCS Redwood Empire Area meet and both competed on Friday – Summers in the girls’ triple-jump, and Maggioncalda in the boys’ 300-meter hurdles.
Looking at how many young athletes make up Sonoma’s track and field roster, the next few years should be exciting ones for the Dragons.