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Sierra girls lead area charge in section qualifications

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Sierra's Kim Lucero takes her second attempt during the varsity girls shot put Saturday at Oakdale High, the site of the 2009 VOL Championships.


POSTED May 10, 2009 1:57 a.m.
OAKDALE — Scores of area athletes had what it took to qualify for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV Championships Saturday at Oakdale High, the site of the 2009 Valley Oak League Track & Field Championships.

The Sierra High girls’ team, which finished second to Oakdale in the point standings, 153-113, led the area qualification spree with nine athletes moving on in 10 different events, not including section qualifying squads in both the 4x100-meter and 4x400-meter relays.

“A lot of good things happened for us today,” Sierra head coach Anthony Chapman said. “We didn’t get everything we wanted — both relay teams lost by a fraction of a second, and Courtney Whitlock came up short in the 110 (hurdles) — but we got most everything else.”

Shanedra Pitts was phenomenal, racking up wins in the 100 (13 seconds flat), and 200 (26.79 seconds), while Taylor Wilson was best in the 400 (1:02.09), and the long jump (16-03, personal record).

Cristina Westover was a double winner as well, claiming first in the shot put (33-11.5) and the discus (113-04).

East Union’s Jen Fields and Sierra’s Mahlynn Liotard finished second and third, respectively, to Westover in both events.

Whitlock had an emotional day, as a misstep on the final hurdle in a neck-and-neck race with Oakdale’s Taya Sebring during 110 hurdles cost her the crown by .03 seconds.

Whitlock ran a 16.26, besting her own Sierra record.

“I was three-stepping as far as I could, and I felt myself switching to four,” Whitlock said after the race. “The last 10 (meters) going over with three I felt myself a little short. I landed and twisted and I knew I screwed up my rhythm a little bit. That’s all it took.

“Coach just told me to take out my aggression and leave it all on the track. I know that the 300 is my better race, and I could get a win there.”

Whitlock’s words turned prophetic later on when she claimed 300 crown with a mark of 48.46 seconds.

Manteca’ Julianna Flores had an outstanding day, finishing second in both the 100 (13.08), and the 200 (27.16). Flores also moved on to sections in the high jump, finishing fourth with a leap of 4-feet, 7-inches.

Karen Marks will be moving on for Sierra in both the pole vault and the long jump, and Lorie Hoffman will move on in the pole vault.

East Union’s Janiece (4th, 1600) and Veronica (2nd, 3200) Villanueva will both be moving on, as will Rachel O’Neal, who finished third in the triple jump (31-09), and Iyana Stewart, who was third in the 800 (2:43.44).

On the boys’ side, Oakdale and Sonora battled it out for the team title, but a number of local stars shined as well.

John Bowers and Roberto Alvarez battled to a stalemate in their personal long-distance war as Sierra’s Bowers took the 1600 (4:34.08), while Weston Ranch’s Alvarez was tops in the 3200 (9:59.02). Both runners finished second in the race they didn’t win.

Sierra’s Zolton Knapps claimed the crown in the 100 with an 11:48-second finish, and the Cougars’ Kobie Good was best in the 200 with a time of 23.39.
Sierra’ Jonathan Scherry claimed the top prize in the 800 (2:06.44), and Angell Mayfield, Weston Ranch’s vaunted hurdler, was best in both the 110 (14.41), and the 300 (41.86).

East Union’s Stevyn Teeple will be moving after finishing runner-up in the long jump with a leap of 20-feet flat.

Sierra’s Ulysses Knapps qualified in both the triple jump and the long jump, and will travel to sections alongside teammates Adam Bennett (3rd, discus) and Grant Widmer (4th, high jump; 2nd 300H).

“The boys did much better this time than when they met Oakdale in the regular season,” Chapman said. “I’m really proud of the team; the kids left everything out on the track. But we wouldn’t be where we are without our assistant coaches.”

Manteca’s Richie Lopez was second in the shot put (47-03.25), and East Union’s Tim Mora was fourth in the discus (126-02.5).

The Division IV Championships will be held at Modesto Junior College.

Trials begin Tuesday, May 19 with the finals to commence Thursday, May 21.
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