Manteca’s Juan Gomez has a heck of a kick.
In the Valley Oak League track and field championships at Sierra’s Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium on Saturday, the Buffalos senior trailed Lathrop’s Tyrell Cooper by 10 yards when he got the baton to anchor the 4x400-meter relay. Gomez caught Cooper coming out of the first turn and hung on his shoulder for 200 meters before shooting into first place coming into the stretch and holding off Cooper to win in 3 minutes, 25.84 seconds, edging the Spartans by less than a second (3:25.76).
“He was talented,” Gomez said of Cooper in the relay. “I stayed on his shoulder all the way around the corner and I felt strong coming in the stretch. I wanted to get it for my team.”
Earlier in the meet Gomez came from behind to edge Sierra freshman Jesse Hurtado in the 800, 1:59.66 to 2:01.22, and Gomez won the 400 (49.84). Hurtado won the mile (4:30.57).
“I trust my coaching and have confidence in my training,” Gomez said. “I just do what my coaches tell me to.”
Sierra’s Kyle Wesley picked up three gold medals – 100 (11.17), long jump (21 feet. 7 ½ inches) and triple jump (42-¼) and was second in the 200 (22.98).
“I went out there to have fun,” Wesley said. “I went out there and did what I had to do.
“In the 100 it was great out of the blocks and once I got to the letters I opened up and I was nice and warm and carried it home from there.”
Manteca’s Jade Griffin won the 100 (12.50) and 200 (25.64).
“This feels great to end the league season with wins in both races,” Griffin said. “I really wanted it in the 200 so it feels even better.”
East Union’s Patricia Tajii swept the hurdle races, winning the 100 (16.32) and 300 (48.95), making up a 25-meter deficit coming in the home stretch of the 300 to defeat Sierra’s Manjot Kaur (49.45).
“I kind of got out a little bit slow,” Tajii said of the 300 hurdles. “I just wanted to catch her was just really focusing on pumping my arms.”
Just a freshman, East Union’s Jadyn Snaer brought home three medals – a gold in the 4x100 relay with Nicole Robertson, Sophie Williams and Jaiden Valencia (50.11) and silvers in the 100 (12.68) and 200 (26.29).
“I am happy about what I have done,” Snaer said. Ít’s always intimidating to be up against a bunch of the juniors and seniors.”
Lathrop’s Isaias Hunter soared to personal best and won the high jump at 6-6 and was second in the triple jump (41-9 ½).
“It felt great,” Hunter said. “The week of practice we had had more skills than we usually did and when we came into the meet today I brought it with me and I think that is what helped me clear 6-6.”
Weston Ranch swept the 3200 races with Iris Carrillo winning the girls (11:53.67) and Tomas Huerta winning the boys (9:52.71) with Huerta’s time being a personal best.
“It was really tough,” Huerta said. “Mentally it was tough, it was a tough race all the way around.”
Huerta was second in the 1600 (4:32.87) as was Carrillo (5:22.42).
“It was tough,” Carrillo said. “The mile got to me – I was so tired for the two-mile.”
Another Sierra freshman won the girls’ mile, Megan Oblin (5:17.77). Oblin was second in the 800 (2:28.63).
Sierra’s Thiara Bikram was second in the 110 hurdles (14.78) and in the 300 hurdles (39.20).
“Coming down the stretch I had a lot of energy left in me,” Bikram said of the 300 hurdles. “Since it was my last event of the day I wanted to give it all I had.
“I could hear people cheering for both of us so I knew he was right behind me so I had to keep pushing it.”
Lathrop’s Elijah Hunter won the shot put (47-4) and was third in the discus (129-9). Sierra’s Jasmin Correa won the 400 (58.83).