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Sierra hosting section meet today, Thursday

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POSTED May 14, 2013 1:55 a.m.

Sierra High has built it.

And they have come.

The school’s modernized track and field facilities has been home to Valley Oak League and Manteca Unified Student Trust meets since its nine-lane all-weather surface was installed during the 2009-10 school year.

For two days this week, Sierra will be home to what is believed to be the biggest high school track event ever hosted in the city. Schools from 13 medium- and small-school conferences will converge on Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium today and Thursday for the Sac-Joaquin Section’s Division IV and V meet.  Included from the area are Manteca Unified and Ripon High qualifiers out of the Valley Oak and Trans-Valley leagues, respectively.

The field events kick off the action today at 3 p.m. with the girls high jump, boys pole vault, boys triple jump and girls discus. The boys shot put and girls triple jump begin at around 5:30. The rest of the field events take place Thursday. The track trials begin at 4 today, and the finals start at 6 p.m. on Thursday.

The top five placers in each event advance to the SJS Masters Meet held at Elk Grove High on May 23 and 24. Athletes who do not finish in the top five can also qualify by hitting at-large marks.

Medium-sized schools hailing from the Sierra Valley Conference, Western Athletic Conference and VOL are vying for the section’s Division IV championship. Sierra is among the section leaders with seven boys titles (McClatchy and Vallejo have nine each), five coming in the last eight years. Ripon is among those competing for the Division V banner.

There are several local standouts of note competing this week.

Sierra’s 4x100 boys relay, anchored by 2012 Masters individual qualifier Emmanuel Elijah, is the favorite and will look to break the meet record of 42.74 seconds set by its 2011 predecessor that reached the state championships.

Weston Ranch’s state hopeful, sophomore John McDonald, takes aim at the 100 and 200 meet records. Jordan McNeal of East Union checks in with the second best qualifying time in the girls 100, and Weston Ranch’s Renee Royster-West is No. 2 in the 200.

In the distance races, Manteca High’s Philip Herrera is the top-seeded 1,600 boys runner, and Ripon’s Eleanor Waters is a contender for the 3,200 crown.

Sierra pole vaulter Onix Paredes is one of the area’s top field athletes. He’s a frontrunner in his event even though three El Dorado entrants have better qualifying marks. Daniel Clemons (shot put) and Carl Chandler (triple jump) lead Manteca’s two-time defending VOL boys team.

Loreal Taylor will look to be Lathrop High’s first divisional champion in the high jump, where she is seeded third. Sierra teammates Valerie Nestor is second in the girls shot put, and Jaliya Williams is third in the girls long jump.

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