Speed, power and hops no problem for Kennedy High’s track and field team

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The Kennedy Eagles track and field team traveled to Pleasant Hill Saturday to compete in the Joe Stocking Super Seven Invitational at Diablo Valley College. Out of 18 schools, the boy’s team finished just north of the middle-of-the-pack, while the the girl’s squad finished right in the middle of 14 schools.

Eagles head coach Carl Sumler said everyone that competed in an event, except for the shot put and discuss, came home with a medal.

That didn’t seem to bother rookie thrower Sonatane “Sonny” Fonua. He smiled all day as he took in the sun and family atmosphere of his first track meet. Normally a lineman for Kennedy’s football team, this was Fonua’s first time to hurl heavy metal through the air.

“It’s crazy but fun,” he said as he stood in line next to some of the state’s premier shot putters. “I need to work on technique more, but I’m getting the hang of it pretty quick. [The other competitors] are over here gliding and spinning like it’s nothing. So I’m learning how fast I need to spin and how far I need to throw.”

And throw it he did. Fonua qualified for the finals with a heave of 36 feet, and finished 9th in the discuss throw with a launch of 111 feet. To medal, Fonua would’ve had to land a minimum of 44’10″ and 141 feet respectively.

For freshman high jumper Briana Sumler, it was all about airtime. Sumler finished third in the freshman-sophomore event with a jump of 4’4″. Sumler said her father, the team’s coach, gives her advice all the time when they’re at home. “Dad tells me to work better, harder and practice more, and I’ll jump higher,” she said of her father’s home schooling. “I like having a dad as a coach. It’s really not that much different. I probably get away with stuff a little bit more, but he’s still [my] coach.”

But the day’s showstopper was Kennedy’s Takkarist “Takk” McKinley. The 100-meter dash sprinter recorded a new meet record with a time of 10.79 seconds. The previous best was 10.81 seconds by George Atkinson of Granada High. “It was just a race to me,” said the Cal football commit of his new achievement. “That was just a little warm up for the 4×2.”

In the 4×200 McKinley and his batonmates didn’t fair so well. After a slow first leg, they came in fourth. But in the 4×400 the boy’s relay team took the bronze.

In other events, Lady Eagles Danaya Giddens and Alesia Miles finished fourth and fifth respectively in the 100-meter dash, while the girl’s relay teams finished second in both the 4×100 and 4×200 meter races.

Kennedy’s next track meet is Saturday, March 9, at San Rafael High School.

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