Thursday, June 23, 2016

Elena Bruckner Named Gatorade California Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year

CHICAGO — In its 31st year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, today announced Elena Bruckner of Valley Christian High School as its 2015-16 Gatorade California Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year. Bruckner is the first Gatorade California Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year to be chosen from Valley Christian High School.

The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the track, distinguishes Bruckner as California’s best high school girls track & field athlete. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year award to be announced in June, Bruckner joins an elite alumni association of state award-winners in 12 sports, including Allyson Felix (2001-02, Los Angeles Baptist, Calif.), Derek Jeter (1991-92, Kalamazoo HS, Mich.), Candace Parker (2001-02, Naperville Central HS, Ill.), Abby Wambach (1997-98, Our Lady of Mercy, N.Y.), Mark Sanchez (2004-05, Mission Viejo HS, Calif.), Lolo Jones (1997-98, Roosevelt HS, Ia.) and Bianca Knight (2006-07, Ridgeland HS, Miss.).

The 5-foot-6 senior won the shot put with an throw of 49 feet, 9.75 inches at the state championship meet this past season. Bruckner also finished second in the discus, and won both the shot put and discus at the Arcadia Invitational and the Texas Relays. She set a state record of 54-7 in the shot put, which ranked as the nation’s No. 2 performance among prep competitors in 2016 at the time of her selection. Her season-best throw of 186-10 in the discus ranked No. 1 nationally this season, and ranks her fourth in U.S. high school history.

Bruckner has maintained a 4.13 GPA in the classroom. A devoted member of her church community and a talented singer, she organized a medal drive to collect sports awards from championship athletes and redistribute them to hospitalized children.

“Statistically, Elena is one of the best combo throwers in the history of prep track and field, but she’s never been satisfied, always looking to get better,” said Valley Christian coach Josh Small. “She’s a gifted athlete, but also one who has matched that talent with an incredible work ethic.”

Bruckner has signed a National Letter of Intent to compete in track and field on scholarship at the University of Texas this fall.

The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. The selection process is administered by the Gatorade high school sports leadership team in partnership with USA TODAY High School Sports, which work with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.

Bruckner joins recent Gatorade California Girls Track & Field Athletes of the Year Jasmyne Graham (2014-15, Eleanor Roosevelt High School), Ariana Washington (2013-14, Long Beach Poly High School), Sasha Wallace (2012-13 & 2011- 12, Castro Valley High School), Amy Weissenbach (2010–11, Harvard-Westlake School), Ashton Purvis (2009-10, Saint Elizabeth High School), Anna Jelmini (2008–09, Shafter High School), Christine Babcock (2007-08, Woodbridge High School), and Tori Anthony (2006-07, Castilleja School) among the state’s list of former award winners.

To keep up to date on the latest happenings, become a fan of Gatorade Player of the Year on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. For more on the Gatorade Player of the Year program, including nomination information, a complete list of past winners and the announcement of the Gatorade National Player of the Year, visit www.gatorade.com/poy.

Links: Gatorade POY / Press Release

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Cross Country Sign-Up

Interested in joining the Valley Christian Cross Country team? Please take a moment and fill out our participant sign-up form at the link below:

Sign-up Form: CLICK HERE


The boys are coming off their most successful season in school history and return six of their top seven from last year's State Championship qualifying team. Last season the girls placed 4th in the CCS Championship marking the ninth time in ten years that the Lady Warriors have finished fourth or better at the section championship. They also return six of their top 7 returning runners this fall.

We have many exciting things planned over the summer and throughout the season. Please sign-up above to be added to our team e-mail list to find out more!

HOW TO GET STARTED:

  1. Fill out the sign-up form by clicking the link above. 
  2. Summer training starts in June. Contact Coach Small at joshsmall@gmail.com for more information. 
  3. You will need a physical and other forms on file in the Athletic Office before the first day of practice. You can find the physical form at this link: CLICK HERE 
  4. Be sure to come back and check the team blog for updates throughout the summer!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Valley Christian's Elena Bruckner is Mercury News girls track and field athlete of year

By Darren Sabedra
dsabedra@bayareanewsgroup.com
SJMN Article: CLICK HERE

The Central Coast Section has never seen a thrower quite like Valley Christian's Elena Bruckner.

The Texas-bound standout followed up a sensational junior season with a dominant senior year, breaking Central Coast Section records in the shot put and discus along the way.

Only five U.S. high school throwers in history have better marks than Bruckner's 54 feet, 7 inches in the shot put and only three have superior throws than her 186-10 in the discus. For this, she was an easy choice to repeat as Mercury News girls track and field athlete of the year.

Bruckner did not have the perfect finish, falling short of a double victory at the California Interscholastic Federation state championships this month in Clovis. But she overcame her runner-up performance in the discus to win the state shot put title for the second consecutive year.

It was 104 degrees when the discus finals began, and the heat affected Bruckner. "As I was warming up for discus, I honestly felt like I was about to pass out," she said. "I couldn't feel any pushing off on my legs." Bruckner took second in the discus in 160-9 and then came back to win the shot put in 49-53/4. "Obviously it was frustrating and really disappointing that I couldn't come out for the win for discus," she said. "But I knew that shot put was the thing that I had been the most consistent in recently, and I was feeling really good about shot put."

In the final event of her Valley Christian career. Bruckner went out on top. Asked what she will remember most about the experience, she said, "Probably the team itself, just the camaraderie with the rest of the throwers."

Look for all-Mercury News girls track and field team at mercurynews.com/high-school-sports.

All-Mercury News Girls Track and Field:
  • 4x100 -- Branham 
  • 4x400 -- Los Gatos
  • 100 -- Rachael Estell, Mountain View 
  • 200 / 400 -- Jade Harrison, Cupertino 
  • 1,600 -- Gillian Meeks, Gunn 
  • 3,200 -- Niki Iyer, Harker 
  • 100 / 300 hurdles -- Jazlynn Shearer, Silver Creek 
  • LJ -- Caice Lanovaz, Los Gatos 
  • TJ -- Arianna Fisher, Silver Creek 
  • SP / Discus -- Elena Bruckner, Valley Christian

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Bruckner Caps Senior Year With State Title


Clovis, CA – Elena Bruckner, perhaps one of the most prolific combo throwers in U.S. history, is now a two-time state champion after successfully defending her shot put title at the 2016 CIF Track & Field Championship. She also finished second in the discus.

[San Jose Mercury News: Valley Christian's Bruckner, Mt. Pleasant's Carbin win titles]

Due to an extreme heat warning running events were moved back an hour to 7 pm, but field events remained in the hottest time of the day. The thermostat topped out at 105 degrees for the girls discus which had a 4:30 pm start. While competing in such conditions were unpleasant they were not unbearable. Still the heat is draining and no doubt takes it’s toll on the body.

"When I got here, right from the start, I started to overheat," Bruckner told the San Jose Mercery News in a post meet interview. "When I was warming up (for the discus), everything felt off ... A couple of (the discus attempts) felt technically correct, but didn't have power in them."

Bruckner began the day with a runner-up finish in the discus, finishing second to Pamela Amaechi of Lincoln High School in San Francisco. She improved upon her third place finish from a year ago but the national leader in the discus couldn’t help but feel disappointed. She threw 165 feet in the State Trials the day prior, a mark that outdistanced the winning throw but couldn’t find her groove in the finals.

“I couldn’t feel my legs,” Bruckner said of her performance. “There just was nothing there.”

While temperatures “cooled” to 102 degrees for the girls shot put, it was a runaway victory for Bruckner who ended the season undefeated in the event. Despite a throw that was 5 feet off her personal best she was not challenged in the event, leading from the start. She is the current state record holder with a mark of 54-7, that mark ranks #5 all-time in U. S. history. 

By the end of the shot put Bruckner had scored 18 points before a single running event took place, personally giving the Valley Christian girls a big number to chase in the team competition. By the end of the meet she alone powered the Valley Christian girls finished 6th place in the team competition.

[Video: Bruckner talks about her first and second-place finishes at the state meet]

Bruckner missed graduation to defend her state title. She had received her diploma at the Baccalaureate service Thursday night before driving to Fresno. The day after reflecting on it all it the weekend was all just a blur.

"Not many people are able to win a state championship on an off day," Coach Small. "Elena has had an amazing year and I am proud of what accomplished here today. She should be too."

Bruckner now turns her attention to the Junior Nationals that will qualify athletes for the World Junior Championships. She also hopes to compete in the US Olympic Trials in July. She is just shy of the Olympic Standard of 57.00 meters (she has a personal best 56.95m) but is currently in a qualifying position ranked in the top 24.

Links: Results / State Trials Pics / State Finals PicsSan Jose Mercury News Article

Saturday, June 4, 2016

A Photojournalistic Journey from Day 1 of the CIF Track & Field Championships


A 4 pm start for the girls discus meant competing in an uncomfortable 102 degrees. As temperatures peaked into triple digits Elena Bruckner once again showed her pose and consistency hitting a first round throw of 165-6. She moves on to the State Finals as the top seed. 




The emotions of competing in your first state meet can easily get away from you. Athiya Iese unfortunately fouled three consecutive times, but all was not lost. She would come back in the shot put later in the afternoon to finish 16th.



Elena Bruckner moves on to the final in the girls shot put with a trials mark of 51-9.5. The southpaw glider was the only thrower to crack 50 feet.




Athiya Iese finished 16th in the girls shot put with a mark of 39-1.



Dylan McCreery finished 17th in the State with a throw of 49-4.