For many competitors the high school track and field season ended at the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League division meets last week. Others, though, were just getting warmed up, with visions of the state meet dancing in their heads.

The El Camino and De Anza finals signaled the start of the championship season, a series of challenges that grow in difficulty and prestige each week, culminating with the state meet, May 30-31 at Cerritos College in Norwalk.

But the road to Norwalk will narrow quickly. In fact, most of the contestants who advanced from the El Camino and De Anza finals will not clear this week's hurdle - the SCVAL qualifier meet May 9 at Los Gatos High. Of the 16 athletes in each event, only the best five will move down the road to Gilroy High for the Central Coast Section semifinals on May 17.

Then, out of about 30 challengers in each semifinal event, only eight (12 from the 1,600 and 3,200 races) will return to Gilroy on May 23 to compete for the CCS's three berths to the state meet.

Saratoga high jumper Kiersten Dolbec, a CCS gold medal winner and state finalist as a sophomore, started strong in her quest for a repeat trip to the state meet. She also recorded one of the few surprises at the El Camino championships, held April 30 at Santa Clara.

Dolbec's winning high jump of 5-7 was no surprise, considering she already had cleared 5-8 twice this season and shared the section lead in the event. What was unexpected was Dolbec's entry+