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Sierra’s girls finish sixth

Weston Ranch hurdler makes school history

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Sierra’s girls finish sixth

Weston Ranch distance runner Roberto Alvarez tries to hold onto the second-place spot in the 1,600-meter run before Sierra's John Bowers outkicked him in the end to steal the runner-up finish.


POSTED May 22, 2009 2:40 a.m.
MODESTO — The final day of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III meet was a mixed bag for area athletes.

Weston Ranch High’s Angell Mayfield is the area’s lone individual champion, becoming the first in his school’s history to achieve the feat in track.

And East Union’s Jennifer Fields qualified for her third straight Masters meet in the discus throw after shattering her personal record for a surprising second-place finish.

Sierra’s girls team, however, left Modesto Junior College without its first-ever divisional title that instead went to a dominant Foothill team. Sierra ended up in sixth place with 35 points to Foothill’s 57.

Placer captured the boys championship, and its girls were the runners-up. Sierra and Weston Ranch’s boys finished 10th and 11th, respectively.

“We were right there,” Sierra coach Anthony Chapman said. “Some of our girls are really disappointed right now, but we have to look at the big picture. To my recollection this is the best that a girls team from our school has ever finished at a section meet.”

Mayfield bolted through the finish line well ahead of 110-meter hurdle favorite A.J. Romine of Rio Linda. The two were shoulder to shoulder going into the final hurdle, and Mayfield hit his fifth gear after landing.

He set a new wind-legal personal record of 14.55 seconds, making him a legitimate contender to compete for a berth to the state meet.

The top six placers in each event will compete in the Masters meet at Sacramento City College’s Hughes Stadium next Thursday and Friday. A top-three finish there is required to advance to the California Interscholastic Federation Championships.

“I’m just looking forward to next week,” Mayfield said.

As is Fields, who had planned ahead of time to skip her senior class trip to Disneyland to compete at Masters.

Fields, seeded fifth going into Thursday, started off well. Her first attempt in the preliminary round was marked at 114 feet, 2 inches, which would have been good enough to secure second place. But on her second-to-last toss in the finals, she heaved it 120-3 to shatter her previous all-time personal record.

“I was just having fun,” she said. “That’s all you can do is have fun and throw as best as you can. It felt great. I was so excited about the PR.”

Sierra’s Cristina Westover took fourth at 112-9. She will also compete in the shot put at Masters after placing third in the event on Tuesday. Fellow Timberwolf Courtney Whitlock is the only other area athlete to qualify in two individual events, as she finished sixth in the 100 hurdles (16.58) and fourth in the 300 hurdles (47.77).

The area’s two best distance runners each wrapped up second-place finishes.

And in both distance events, Weston Ranch’s Roberto Alvarez blew sizable leads down the final stretch.

With Placer’s Lucas Stancliff coasting ahead of the rest, Alvarez appeared to have second place wrapped up in the 1,600 on the final turn. But Alvarez began to lose steam with about 70 meters to go, and a group of five runners behind him made up the distance in a hurry.

Sierra’s John Bowers squirted his way past Alvarez and the rest of the pack to take second in 4 minutes, 35.90 seconds. Alvarez settled for seventh and an alternate spot for Masters.

Alvarez intended to redeem himself in the 3,200, his stronger event. As soon as the bell signaled the final lap of the race, Alvarez broke away to again build a work a big lead going into the final turn.

With 30 meters to go, Big Valley Christian’s Nathan Jackson came out of nowhere to narrowly steal the victory by about two-tenths of a second. Alvarez clocked in at 9:55.25, about four seconds off his personal best. Bowers checked in at seventh place.

“I just didn’t concentrate in the last couple of seconds there,” he admitted. “I didn’t even know somebody was behind me.”

Also qualifying for the Masters meet are: Sierra’s Shanedra Pitts in the 100 (third, 12.80), Manteca’s Julianna Flores in the 100 (sixth, 13.08), Sierra’s girls 4x100 (third, 51.16), Sierra’s boys 4x400 relay (sixth, 3:30.78), Ripon’s Emily Hobbs in the pole vault (sixth, 8-9), Sierra’s Grant Widmer in the high jump (fourth, 6-0), Sierra’s Ulysses Knapps in the long jump (third, 21-5) and Sierra’s Taylor-Renae Wilson (second, 17-2).
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