Demitrius Snaer takes pride in developing local talent with his Modesto Junior College track and field program.
That local talent was on display last Friday and Saturday, May 19-20, when MJC hosted the California Community College Athletic Association State Championships. The men’s team placed fourth, and five Pirates from the Manteca area — four male, one female — earned top-eight medals.
Delta College also left its mark at the state meet, placing eighth on the men’s and women’s side with one local product, Marco Perez, earning an individual title.
Snaer is a 1993 East Union High alumnus and Fresno State Hall of Famer who still resides in Manteca, and daughters Jadyn and Taylor have starred as athletes at his alma mater. He enjoys seeing young athletes from his hometown thriving at the next level.
“It means a lot, honestly,” Snaer said. “As someone who grew up in the community, it’s nice to be able to impact some of the kids from the community. I went to high school at East Union, and there are always people who want to engage me with the East Union-versus-Sierra-versus-Manteca stuff. I just say, listen, I coach at MJC and I’m cheering for all these kids. I have nothing but the utmost respect for all the coaches in Manteca. There has always been talent in Manteca, it just takes the right coaches to bring that out.”
Former athletes from Manteca and Ripon were major contributors to the Pirates men’s and women’s championships in the Big 8 Conference — it’s the first time since 2006 since both MJC teams claimed the conference crown in the same season. Snaer was named Big 8 men’s and women’s Coach of the Year.
Then, on May 12-13 at Yuba College, MJC’s men’s team claimed the Northern California regional title, outscoring second-place Hartnell by a wide margin, 121.5-77. It’s the Pirates’ first NorCal championship under Snaer.
“The kids were happy for me getting Coach of the Year, but it’s really a trophy for the kids,” Snaer said. “I’m not Coach of the Year unless these kids do what they did. They’ve made me look good.”
Ripon grad Aaron Wood and Manteca’s Sonny Dozier shined at the state meet, where the top eight were awarded medals and the top four named All-Americans.
Wood finished as the runner-up in the decathlon, shattering the MJC record with a whopping 6,899 points. His best pole vault mark during the competition is also a new school record at 16 feet, 2 ½ inches.
He placed in the top four in nine of the 10 events, tallying the top marks in the long jump, high jump and pole vault.
“He’s a Division I decathlete, and I knew that when he came in,” Snaer said. “We were excited to get him, because he’s the real deal of an athlete. He’ll be able to go anywhere he wants.”
Dozier is also garnering attention from Division I schools after turning in three All-American performances at state. He was fourth in the triple jump (46-6 ¼), fourth in the long jump (23-1 ¾) and part of the runner-up 4x100 relay. Fellow Manteca alumnus Domenic Favaloro was also on that 4x100, and their time of 40.73 seconds is 0.01 off the school record.
Abrahim Alsaidi (Ripon) took eighth in the 1,500 (4:03.53), placing behind MJC teammate Dominic Rhodes (seventh, 4:00.40).
Camrenne Genilla (Manteca) finished sixth in the women’s heptathlon. She took first in the javelin throw and was the only heptathlete to eclipse 100 feet at 114-1. Her older sister, Rhiannon, holds the MJC javelin record (153-10).
“When I saw Camrenne play Taylor in basketball, I said I want this girl on my track team,” Snaer said. “She’s awesome, and I look forward to having her back next year. Our plan is to repeat as conference champions and have the women win NorCal, as well.”
Two East Union graduates were among the standouts for Delta at the state meet. Perez is the 5,000-meter champion, finishing in 14:39.74. Miekayla Surnip took seventh in the javelin with a mark of 109-07.