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June 3, 2009 > Mighty Trojans fall in track and field championships

Mighty Trojans fall in track and field championships

By Idorenyin Uto-Uko

The school year will be ending quickly. Just like the school that came and ended so quickly, so is Milpitas High School top track and field athletes Winton Nguyen and Melina Shak's season.

Nguyen, a junior, and Shak, a senior, qualified for the Central Coast Section (CCS) track and field championship finals in Gilroy. Nguyen made it to the finals in the 400 and 200 meters; Shak qualified in the 800 meters. The top three individuals or teams at the finals advance to the prestigious California State Track and field Championships at Buchanan High School in Clovis on Friday and Saturday, June 5-6.

Unfortunately, Nguyen finished in fourth place at 49.65. The June Tri-City Voice Male Athlete of the Month did all he could to secure a top three spot during the race. He led the race for the first 120 meters and faded to fourth during the home stretch. Only .30 separated third and fourth place. The talented junior ran the top time in the section the previous week at the CCS Trials in 49.45.

During the 400 meter race at CCS Trails, the event was also very competitive. Of the eight runners who did qualify for Friday's final, seven of them ran the 400 meters between 49-50 seconds. Disappointed about fourth place finish in the 400, Nguyen tried to make good on his goal by qualifying in the 200 meters. But he also fell just a tad short, in fifth place, at 22.54. " He had a good season," Coach Paul Abbot would say afterward.

Shak came in sixth place at 2:17. But Milpitas Distance Coach Bridget Hall is very proud of Shak and her improvement.

"She has work so hard for this," Hall said. Hall has works with Shak since her freshman year. "It was tough at first because Melina does not run cross country. She plays competitive soccer. But, I knew she was going to be here (CCS Finals) when she ran 2:18 at the De Anza Division Meet," added Coach Hall.

Shak's signature long strides will be missed by Coach Hall as she will attend Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in the fall. Shak does not plan to run on the team. Nguyen will be training hard this summer hoping to win the CCS 400 meters in 2010 and advance to the state meet as a senior.

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