In the Pacific Coast Athletic League Gabilan Division Finals April 28, Hollister High sophomore Golda Demby couldn’t record a mark in the discus after fouling on her throws.
That means she wouldn’t be advancing in the event to the following week’s PCAL Masters Meet/Central Coast Section Qualifier. The same event in which she advanced to the CIF State Championships while a freshman at Del Mar High.
After failing to advance in the discus, Demby had some time to gather herself until the shot put event started. And that’s exactly what she did. Demby went on to win the division finals and in the following weeks took first in the Masters Meet, CCS Semis and CCS Finals.
The latter event took place May 20 at Gilroy High, where Demby unleashed a massive throw of 43 feet, 4 ½ inches, which is the sixth best throw in the state this season and only top-10 mark among boys and girls from south Santa Clara County and San Benito County in any event entering the state meet.
Talk about coming back strong.
“My discus [throws] were so bad in the Gabilan [Division Finals],” Demby said. “That really hurt me and it only gave me more drive to focus on the shot [put] and get better at the shot because I wasn’t doing very well. It was almost like a blessing in disguise to be able to focus on the shot.”
Demby will have some good company with her at the State Championships, which is May 26-27 at Veterans Memorial Stadium on the campus of Buchanan High in Clovis. They are Hannah Vincent and Emma Franks, who finished 1-2 in the triple jump, and Lillian Thrasher, who finished fifth in the high jump but hit the CIF State at-large qualifying mark in a PR of 5 feet, 5 inches.
“I’m very emotional because I already had the mindset this was going to be my last high school meet,” Thrasher said. “So I surprised myself, cried a little bit, but I still got goals to hit now [at State].”
Thrasher has been remarkably consistent throughout the season. She went 4-11 in the first two meets of the season but has cleared 5 feet or higher in every meet since, a run of 11 consecutive competitions. Thrasher said the key for her in the CCS Finals was honing in on her hip rotation.
“It’s all in the hips,” she said. “The knee drive, hip turn, you don’t want to take up the bar at all but go over and out.”
Thrasher is a multi-event athlete who also did a steady dose of the 100-meter dash and 4×100 relay this season, with the long jump and pole vault sprinkled in. Her athletic versatility makes her a prime candidate to try the heptathlon, which she plans on doing at Monterey Peninsula College next year.
Like Demby, Franks and Vincent are standout sophomores and a big reason why Hollister coaches Ryan Shorey and Rob Macias flashed big smiles after the trio’s performances. Vincent is headed back to State in the triple jump for the second straight year after she went 37-5 ½, a mere half-inch farther than Franks. The two happen to be best friends so they were ecstatic afterward, knowing they’ll be roommates in Clovis.
Both athletes are on a roll, with Vincent’s mark similar in length to the PR she set the previous week in the CCS Semifinals, a 37-7. Franks’ PR of 37-5 smashed her previous PR by 14 inches which was also set in the Semis a week prior.
A year ago, Franks’ best was 33-9, meaning she’s improved a remarkable 3 feet, 8 inches from 2022 to 2023.
“I’m really happy right now,” Franks said. “I did not think I was going to make State. It’s going to be really fun because Hannah and I are really best friends so it’s nice we both get to be going.”
Vincent had several quality jumps in the Finals and focused on getting all of the board, which adds precious inches to a jumper’s mark.
“I was just trying to attack the board because some of my jumps I was really far behind,” Vincent said. “But I was perfect on it [37-5 ½], and just wanted to focus on my jump phase as well. … I felt like we would take second and third, but first and second is crazy.”
Other notable performances came from sophomore Jasayla Mariscal, who ran another big PR in the girls 800 in 2:16.78 to finish seventh. The boys 4×100 relay team of Malachi Zabala, James Breen, Shaun Jamal and Donovan Tommy took fifth in 43.05.
Back to Demby, who was confident she could unleash a big throw entering the Finals.
“I’m definitely happy with what I’ve done, but I expected it,” she said. “I never expected anything less because I know I’m capable of doing stuff like this. But saying it and doing it are two different things. So, it feels good to go to state for shot.”
Demby said the key for her was being relaxed and just letting everything go.
“Breathing, form, not trying to go out too fast,” she said. “I’m just trying to make sure that my form was right, my technique was right, that’s really all it was.”
Demby only tried out for Del Mar’s track and field team in her freshman year because her friends convinced her it would be fun.
“You can just goof off,” Demby said, relaying what her friends told her. “Well, the goofing off kind of stopped after I realized I’m pretty good at this.”
Demby’s family moved to Hollister for her sophomore year, and going from Del Mar which has an enrollment of 1,348 to a school with the section’s largest enrollment—3,467 and counting—was a bit jarring initially.
“It was a really big transition,” she said. “It’s a really big school but I’m just fortunate enough there’s a great track program and I found people who care for me and want to see me do good. Just great people.”