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Sierra rode Thiara to VOL, section titles
All area boy Track
Noveleen Thiara enjoyed a breakout senior campaign that included Valley Oak League and Sac-Joaquin Section championships along with a berth to the SJS Masters Finals. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO/Bulletin file photo

Noveleen Thiara quietly enjoyed a breakthrough season for Sierra High’s boys track and field team, leading it to Valley Oak League and Sac-Joaquin Section titles.

“He doesn’t require the spotlight,” Sierra coach Ezequiel Ruiz said. “He just comes in and goes to work.”

His efforts did not go unnoticed — Thiara is the Manteca Bulletin’s Male Track & Field Athlete of the Year. He was an automatic points producer for the Timberwolves with his contributions in the 200, 400 and both relays, and the senior relished his role as the team’s workhorse.

“It was a tough job, especially on weeks when we had a league meet and an invitational,” Thiara said. “I had to be ready for every event. If I did bad in one, I just had to forget about it and move on to the next one. It was a tough job but I think I was physically fit enough to handle it.”

Thiara graciously deflects compliments and thanks his coaches and fellow seniors for leading the team’s banner season. Fact is, Sierra couldn’t have done it without him.

“Noveleen was our centerpiece for this championship run,” Ruiz said. “He was our heavy hitter in four different events in every single meet. This guy was huge for us, and I can’t emphasize enough how big his contributions were for our team.

“He’s the type of kid you want to have,” Ruiz added. “He has a great personality, works hard and gets the job done.”

Thiara had never previously gotten past the VOL meet but did the necessary work over the summer to go much farther in his final year. He joined the Central Valley Roadrunners youth track club and continued to train on his own in the months leading up to the spring season.

Thiara’s specialty is the 400-meter dash. His ultimate goal was to break the 50-second barrier. Doing so would put him in some elite company in the section.

In past seasons he ran the 800 but decided to drop that in favor of the 200. That, along with the extra time put in, gave him just the boost he needed.

“Running the 200 helped my speed and take-off for the first part of my race,” Thiara said. “The two just worked hand in hand.”

His previous best time in the 400 was clocked at 52.42 set in the 2013 VOL Championships. He bested that during the first meet of 2014, crossing the finish in 52.21 in the Tom Moore Relays hosted at Sierra’s Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium. Thiara improved his time in the next two meets and registered a 50.34 time at the Mudville Invitational in Stockton.

“That’s when I knew I had a chance (to break 50),” Thiara said.

He would do so on his final three runs of the season.

Thiara took second in the SJS Division IV-V Finals in 49.70 at CSU Stanislaus, where he will continue his track career as a promising walk-on. In the same meet, he also placed fourth in the 200 (22.34) and was joined by Onix Paredes, Jake Supinger and Jacob Wampler in taking second in the 4x100. The relay quartet checked in at a season-best 43.06.

Thiara’s efforts helped Sierra put together a dominant effort to capture the program’s eighth section title. The Timberwolves did so by a wide margin, outscoring runner-up El Dorado 70-37 with VOL rivals Manteca and Sonora (36 each) tying for third.

“It was the highlight of my whole track career in high school,” Thiara said. “With guys like Onix, Nick Valdes (hurdles) and Josh Spooner (distance), we all did track since we were freshmen and we came along way from our first year. We had no championships for a couple of years so we came in as seniors thirsting for that.”

Thiara wasn’t done yet.

At Elk Grove High, the site of the SJS Masters Meet, he ran an all-time personal best time of 49.32 in the 400 prelims and advanced to the finals. He ended up placing eighth in 49.75 in the finale. While he came up short of a berth to the CIF State Championships, he exceeded his own expectations by just giving himself a shot at doing so.

“I never imagined myself being in the Masters finals,” Thiara said. “I was pretty surprised about that. Now, I’m more excited for college track because of what I achieved. I just thank my coaches and teammates who supported me, because I wouldn’t have made it as far as I did if it weren’t for them.”