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Two Dragons compete in NCS Meet of Champions

While the young group of Dragons competing at the NCS Meet of Champions last did not strike gold in Dublin, their accomplishments this year set the ground for a competitive squad next year.

But in a more important sense, this season was the best thing that could have happened to Sonoma Valley’s track squad: a team of young, disciplined athletes who developed a picture of success for the future.

Through their experiences at the NCS meet, both sophomore Siena Hoban and junior Lola Martin will be returning leaders for a team with budding success in the 2022-23 school year.

Hoban ultimately fell short of her expectations on Saturday, running 16 seconds short of her original time with a 5:28, a step slow from her performance a week before. The competition was extremely tough, and even another personal best wouldn’t have guaranteed Siena a spot at state.

“This is a huge track meet and you're talking about some people who might be second in the nation. You're seeing people second, first in the nation that are standing right in front of you,” running coach Steve Aguirre said. “Hopefully they'll bring that back to Sonoma Valley High School and get other people around them inspired.”

Though she competed in several different events throughout the season, Martin only qualifyed in the high jump for the Meet of Champions. She tied for sixth in the event with a 5’0” leap, just inches shy of the state-qualifying mark.

Martin, who played volleyball in the fall and basketball in the winter, competed regularly in the high jump, long jump, shot put and triple jump, winning each event at least once in the 2022 season.

“Percentage wise, we had almost as many athletes numbers-wise as other schools that had much bigger squads than us,” Aguirre said.

An athletic young core, including sophomores Adam Tovar and Matt Jordan, will be the foundation for a program attempting to build a culture of success for the future. One of the first steps in creating that culture stems from the examples of Hoban and Martin, who will be models for other athletes vying to compete at SVHS.

“It's going put us on the right track for getting more athletes to compete beyond (the Vine Valley Athletic League),” Field Coach Julie Niehaus said.

Before this, Niehaus didn’t consider putting playoff meets on the schedule. But with budding squad she’s making plans early for next year, she said.

With the breakthrough of Martin and Hoban, as well as nearly tripling the size of the team from eight athletes in 2021 to 22 in 2022, things seem to be looking up for the Dragons.

Contact Chase Hunter at chase.hunter@sonomanews.com and follow @Chase_HunterB on Twitter.

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