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Sierra thrower named top field athlete at MJC Invite
MJC Invitational
Manteca’s Dario Rodriguez (1) wins the 800 meters in 2 minutes, 5.21 seconds and edged East Union’s Alex Cuevas (3) by one-one hundredth of a second. Sierra’s Jovan Sangh (9) finished third. - photo by Dave Campbell

MODESTO — Sierra’s Shomari McKnight was named the outstanding boys field athlete and reached a coveted milestone in the shot put in the MJC Invite at Modesto Junior College.  

McKnight let out a scream of joy with his first-placed effort of 49 feet, 2 ½ inches in the shot put. The celebration was not just for the gold medal, but for exceeding the minimum qualifying mark by one-half inch for the invitational night portion of the Meet of Champions on Saturday, April 2, at American River College in North Highlands.

“Honestly, I was not too confident about that throw,” McKnight said. “There was something about it. It wasn’t that smooth, but I really got in a good position at the end and I really hit it.”

McKnight’s second place throw in the discus (139-5) helped him earn the outstanding field athlete award.

“This award feels amazing,” McKnight said. “I have been in a slump in the discus for a little bit, but I have been working hard and I feel like I pulled through today.

“I feel that I produced, I feel like I can keep getting better and that I will keep getting better. I have to keep going, I have to keep working. I feel great.”

Manteca’s Roberto Facundo won the 110-meter hurdles (16.97) and 300 hurdles (43.67).

“Whatever I did at practice I was able to apply it here,” Facundo said. “I am just thankful I have a good coach that can teach me what I need to do to get it done.”

Manteca’s Isaiah Arechiga pulled away on the second leg of the 4x400 relay and along with Ramon Arechiga, Evani Gaeta and Julian Moncada brought home the gold medal in 3:36.40.

“I saw that he was about 10 meters in front of me and I just couldn’t take that,” Isaiah Arechiga said. “The 4x4 is such a fun event and this is the best 4x4 team I have ever been on. Everyone else on the team is absolutely amazing especially Juju (Moncada). He wasn’t going to run this but he came out and kept the lead and we got first.”

Moncada was fourth in the 100 (11.28).

The Arechigas, Moncada and Kaden MacDannald finished third in the 4x100 relay (44.33).

One of the more exciting races was the boys 800 which was won by Manteca’s Dario Rodriguez (2:05.21) who edged East Union’s Alex Cuevas.

“I was getting tired,” Rodriguez said. “My hamstrings were cramping up and I tried to take it a little easy.

“In the end I just had to bring it home. It was close – too close for me. I don’t ever want to let that happen again.”

Cuevas’ second-place time was just one-one hundredth of a second behind Rodriguez at 2:05.22.

“I just tried to stay with the front of the pack,” Cuevas said. “Stay with them and then make my move on the last 150 and try and catch up.”

Manteca’s Shylea Hollins won the girls discus (103-5) and was fourth in the shot (29-9).

“I came into the disc really confident today,” Hollins said. “Thursday I took a third-place loss and I got really upset, but I came into today with a really good attitude and I just threw and did what I know I can do.”

Sierra’s Mia Lagunas ran away with the girls 400 (1:03.25) and was fourth in the 200 (27.26).

“I have been trying to hit 63 for a really long time,” Lagunas said. “And I am really proud I was able to hit it now.

“That was my goal for the season and now I am hoping to get to 60 by the end of the season.”

Finishing second for the East Union girls was the 4x100 relay team of Caliyah Lopez, Taylor Snaer, Kaylee Mejia and Kinsley Herrera (50.24). Sierra’s Abigail Chapman finished second in the 300 hurdles (49.20) and was on the second-place 4x100 relay team with Serena Dittman, Aileen Montero and Mia Lagunas (4:24.63). Manteca’s Genesis Mailangi was second in the shot put (31-8 ¼).

East Union’s Cesar Salinas was second in the boys 400 (51.45), third in the 200 (23.0) and was on the third-place 4x400 relay team with Anthony Morales, Juan Cortes and Cuevas (3:42.24). Sierra’s Jovan Sangha was third in the 800 (2:05.73).

Finishing third in girls competition were East Union’s Linda Medrano (1600, 5:37.16), Manteca’s Rylan Steckler (pole vault, 8-6) and Sierra’s Grace Langenfeld (shot put, 31-8 ¼).

Sierra finished tied for third with Turlock in the girls team competition and Manteca was fifth in the boys.

Sierra’s Christian Gonzalez was named the outstanding junior varsity track athlete and help lead the Timberwolves to a first-place team finish, winning the 1600 (4:48.90), finishing second in the 3200 (10:28.23) and was on the second-place 4x400 relay team with Gael Reynoso, Mario Juarez Jr. and Landen Nabb (3:47.25).

Also winning first place in junior varsity competition from Sierra were Juarez Jr. (400, 56.35) and Nabb (800, 2:13.71).

The Manteca 4x100 relay team of Jhadis Luckey, Edward Anthony, Quinn Martinez, Alijah Marshall took first place (46.13). Luckey won the long jump (18-6 ½), Alexander Chatham won the discus (125-0) and Edward Anthony won the 200 (24.02).