BUCHANAN — For the past four months, the Paso Robles Bearcat track and field team have been training and competing for a chance to stand on a top the podium at the State Track Meet. Paso Robles entered 121 athletes into the PAC-8 league meet, and from there 58 athletes advanced. Last Saturday, after several consecutive weeks of high level competitions to whittle the field down to only the best, the final three Bearcats competed for the final time.
The athletes traveled to Buchanan High School for the state meet to see how they measured up against the best the state had to offer, and did not disappoint. There were no Bearcats on the podium as the fireworks began to illuminate the sky, but all three athletes made their coach, their family, their friends and their school proud.
“The minimum that we wanted was to at least get a medal, that was the goal — to get on the podium and go top 6,” Head coach Ivan Huff said. “Nobody was really down, but you always want more. To give you an example, if Trad would have finished second in the mile he probably would have gone, ‘man I wish I would have gotten first,’ that's just how athletics is.”
Last weekend at Masters, Berti set his personal best time in the 1600-meters, posting a 4:12.74. On Saturday, Berti finished with a time of 4:13.48, in seventh place overall, just barely missing the podium. Had Berti posted another personal best, he would have just made the podium in sixth, but racing against those just as fit as you presents obstacles that likely have not been encountered before.
Like Berti, Annie Meeder was right in the thick of things during her race in the 3200-meters.
“Annie finished 14th overall and she was right in the mix with all the girls going for that fifth, sixth, seventh spot with a lap and a half to go,” Huff said of Meeders performance in the 3200. Huff also added, “Everybody performed to their abilities but no one just had that perfect race is probably what it was.”
Codie Wilshusen was the lone Bearcat at the state meet with previous experience, as she qualified last season. She came into the weekend very confident after matching her personal best and putting together some great attempts at the 12’10” mark, at the Masters meet last weekend. Saturday, Wilshusen again cleared 12’ 4” but couldn't get over the next height. She finished the season as the 14th ranked female pole vaulter at the California State Meet.
All three athletes were not only seniors, but each one of them also holds a Bearcats school record in their name. Berti holds the Bearcat record in the mile with a time of 4:09.06 and the record in the 3200-meters with a time 9:10.70. Meeder finishes her Bearcat career also holding the 1600 and 3200 crown, with her record setting times of 4:59 and 10:29.
Wilshusen only holds one school record, 12’4” in the pole vault, but that might very well be the last one to be broken out of the five new records. According to her coach, Wilshusen has committed to attending Cal Poly in the fall, joining her teammate Meeder. A signing ceremony will take place next week to honor Wilshusen’s great accomplishment.
All together, the Bearcats finished the season with nine all-league athletes, and six varsity league champions.
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