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Herreras run comes to an end
Mishap midway through race kills shot at finals
Manteca High’s Vincent Herrera capped his short but decorated career in the California Interscholastic Federation Track and Field Championships in Clovis Friday, placing 23rd in the 1,600-meter run.
CLOVIS — The clock struck midnight sooner than Vincent Herrera wanted.

An unexpected qualifier for Friday’s California Interscholastic Federation State Track and Field Championships, the recent Manteca High graduate failed to qualify for today’s 1,600-meter final race at Buchanan High.

Herrera clocked in at 4 minutes, 35.55 seconds — well off his personal record — for a 23rd-place finish Friday.

“He had a great season, I told him not to feel bad,” Manteca distance coach Rick Cuevas said. “Only 25 people got to run this race and he was one of them.”

Herrera, a first-year track athlete, recorded his best 1,600 time in last week’s Sac-Joaquin Section Masters finals, finishing in 4:21.41 for third place and a state berth.

After a slow first lap Friday, the lead pack quickened the pace as Herrera began to make his move from the middle.

But shortly after the 800-meter mark, Herrera said he had a foot get stepped on. By the time the pain dissipated and recovered his stride, he had too much space to make up with little time to do so.

“Usually I can still keep up when something like that happens, but that slowed me down and I got so far behind that I really couldn’t do anything,” Herrera said. “I don’t know why, but my mind wasn’t in it today for some reason.

“I was really nervous while warming up, and once I got stepped on that was it. I feel like I could have tried a lot harder.”

North Coast Section champion Erik Olson of Novato, who came in with the second best seeded time, turned in the top mark Thursday at 4:15.39.  Loyola’s Elias Gedyon, the state’s second-place finisher as a sophomore last season, is the No. 2 seed for the finals.

The top placer in last week’s Masters meet, Robert Pflasterer of Del Campo, captured the 12th and last finals spot in 4:20.74.
While disappointed with the way his season finished, Herrera is pleased with what he accomplished in his short time as a Manteca High runner. He won the 800 and mile in the Valley Oak League Championships and took first in the SJS Division III mile race.

 “I think I accomplished a lot,” Herrera said. “A lot of people can’t get this far, so what I did with just three months (of training) was pretty good.”

— Jonamar Jacinto