By Tom Price Jr.
Rachel Mitchell and Adam Hightower both came from behind in their events to win closely contested races May 12 at the Sequoia-Sierra Area Championships at Coalinga High School.
Mitchell, was well off the pace with roughly 180 meters remaining in the 800-meter race, but as she turned the corner she ran down the pack. She closed quickly enough to catch the top two girls and eventually edge them in a stunning 1-2-3 finish. Before the race, Mitchell was seeded as the No. 5 Area runner in that event, but exceeded expectations with her personal best time of 2:26.99 which was just .01 seconds faster than the runner from Templeton.
Having already passed one fallen hurdler, Hightower improved appeared to be set for a Valley qualifying third place finish, but fate once again intervened when the feet of the front two runners tangled following the final hurdle. Hightower completed the hurdle and raced passed the two crawling competitors for a first place finish.
Like Mitchell, Hightower wasn't ranked in the top three going into the race, but will be heading to the Valley Meet with momentum.
Abbey Cochran ran a personal best 5:32.70 in the 1600-meter race and qualified for Valley and Cory Griffin finished sixth in the 100-meter dash with a Valley qualifying time of 11.26.
Also getting the nod for the Valley Meet was the 4×100 boys relay team of Hightower, Griffin, J.J. Jimenez and Nate Cary and the 4×400 girls team of Mitchell, Cochran, Kelly Curtis and Abbey Cochran.
The Valley Grand Masters Tournament will be held tomorrow at Sanger High School.