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Areas Masters qualifiers taking aim at state berths
Pole vaulter Onix Paredes of Sierra is a contender for the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Meet title. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO


• WHAT: Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Meet
• WHERE: Elk Grove High
• WHEN: Today (3/4 p.m. field/track), Friday (3/6 p.m. field/track).
• ADMISSION:  Adults, $10; Students (K-12), $5; Children (5-under), free.

Twenty one area athletes will compete in the final Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Meet today and Friday, the last stop before the CIF State Championships.

The top three finalists in each event advance as do all competitors who nail at-large standards.

Sierra will bring the largest contingent among local schools, with eight Timberwolves making the trip to Elk Grove High.

Leading the way is Emmanuel Elijah, who has his sights set on three state berths. His best shot may be in the 4x100 along with teammates Jake Supinger, Nchekube Uwakwe and Jordan Lewis. Last week, they set the SJS Division IV/V Meet record in 42.20 seconds — the second fastest qualifying time for today’s Masters trials. A quartet from Buhach Colony checks in at 42.15, which is also Sierra’s season best.

Elijah is also the SJS Division IV/V 100-meter champion and 200 runner-up. Lewis competes in the long jump on Friday.

Onix Paredes is one of just five entrants in the pole vault to hit marks of 14 feet, 7 inches or better in last week’s divisional meets. His season record of 16 feet would get him to state as an at-large qualifier. He took second to El Dorado’s Matt Johnson (15-04), who will be the top-seeded vaulter at Masters.

“I will hopefully give him a challenge at Masters,” Paredes said of Johnson last week.

Nicholas Valdes (110 hurdles, 300 hurdles), Jaliya Williams (long jump) Valerie Nestor (shot put) and Mason Merilles (shot put) are also competing for Sierra.

Manteca High senior Phillip Herrera is coming off first-place finishes in the Division IV/V meet’s 800 and 1,600. He will likely scratch today’s 800 race to make graduation and save his legs for the mile on Friday. Also graduating is Buffalo shot putter Daniel Clemons, a divisional runner-up who also competes Friday. Sophomore triple jumpers Carl Chandler and Lechi Nkwocha will be joined by freshman Regan Both (200) today.

East Union’s sprinting tandem of Haley Cook and Jordan McNeal are making their second appearances at Masters. McNeal enters with the sixth fastest qualifying time in the 100 and will also run the 200. Cook qualified in the 400.

Weston Ranch sends two sprinters. Renee Royster-West will run the 200 along with Both and McNeal. McDonald, the muscular sophomore from Texas, could emerge as a contender for a state berth today in the 100 and 200, events he took second and first in, respectively, at the Division IV/V meet last week.

“I’m not worried about anybody else, I just try and go out and do the best I can,” he said after claiming his first divisional title in the 200. “I run my hardest and whatever the result is I’m fine with it. If I don’t make it to state I’m just a sophomore — I’ve got two more years.”

Freshman Eleanor Waters is one of three representatives from Ripon High. She advanced to Masters in the 1,600 and 3,200, while Taylor Spence returns in the 300 hurdles. Bryan Vincent qualified in the high jump.

High jumper Loreal Taylor is Lathrop High’s lone athlete.