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Sierra boys race past champions

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Sierra boys race past champions

Manteca’s Lechi Nkwocha soars into the long jump pitat Sierra High’s Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin/

POSTED March 27, 2014 12:33 a.m.

It was a tighter meet than Rick Cuevas had anticipated, but the end result was more or less what Manteca High’s first-year track and field coach expected.

His Buffaloes boys team was beaten at Sierra 84-42 on Wednesday, marking the first loss in three years for the two-time-defending Valley Oak League champion. Sierra also claimed the girls competition, 96-30.

“I tip my had to Sierra’s boys, they have a good team over there,” Cuevas said. “To be honest, I didn’t think it would be that close. I was surprised we led by almost 10 points with three events left.”

Sierra swept the two-mile race paced by standout harrier Josh Spooner and continued to pad its lead as late results arrived from the field events.

Sierra coach Ezequiel Diaz said his athletes were on edge all day as rain pelted the running, throwing and jumping surfaces within Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium during school hours. He was pleased with how the Timberwolves responded overall.

“The kids showed up and overall had a good day,” Diaz said. “Our varsity teams picked up some big wins against a good program and (Manteca’s) boys got us the last two years. It’s still early in the season and anything can happen. We’re off to a strong start but we know we have to finish strong.”

Both of Sierra’s varsity squads improved to 2-0, while Manteca’s both open up 0-1.

Spooner led a dominant effort by Sierra’s distance group, as he also won the 1,600. Nick Valdez took first in both hurdle events, and Jake Supinger won the 400 and long jump.

Carl Chandler won the high jump and was the runner-up in the triple and long. Mahir Pepic was the top finisher in the 800 and placed second in the mile. Alex Laurel won the 100 and ran the first leg on the winning 4x100 relay.

Sophia Vucanovich spearheaded Sierra’s girls with wins in the 400 and 800. McKenna Albrecht doubled in the throwing events.

Arianna Avina coasted to a first-place finish in the two-mile run and took second in the 400 for Manteca. Jessy Talarico tallied the top mark in the pole vault.

Manteca did most of its damage in the lower levels. Manteca toppled Sierra’s frosh-soph girls 81-28, while the boys prevailed 76-50.

Cuevas expects both of his lower-level teams to compete for VOL titles and plans on elevating some of his best young talent to the varsity for the league meet.

“All the coaches agreed to keep our younger athletes together for the dual meets and go for a league championship,” Cuevas said. “We could have made the score a little bit closer by moving them up today. We have some great juniors coming back next year, too, so next year could be a different story for us at the varsity.”

The Lady Buffaloes have a promising group of sprinters led by Jade Griffin and Regan Both, who went 1-2 in the 100 and 200. They were also on the winning 400 and mile relays.

Raquel Soto (400) and Summer Kirby (pole vault, long jump) won their specialty events and joined Griffin and Both on the relay teams. Trinity Basuil contributed first-place points in the hurdles.

Manteca’s boys swept the 100 and 200 sprints. Juan Gomez captured the 110 and 300 hurdles as well as the 400. Jared Guzman took the 800 and anchored the winning 4x400.

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