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VOL winners impress in short races
Sierras Thomas Trzcinski, Mantecas Isaac Macias, Mantecas Phillip Herrera, and Sonoras Steven Grolle battle for position at the start of the varsity boys 800 meters during Saturdays Valley Oak League championships at Sierra High. - photo by HIME ROMERO

The Valley Oak League isn’t traditionally known for its sprinting, but the 2013 class is poised to make some noise.

Led by Weston Ranch’s John McDonald, the area’s top short-distance runners turned in some impressive times in Saturday’s VOL Championships held at Sierra High.

McDonald blazed to a time of 10.82 seconds in the 100-meter dash and backed that up with a 21.91 in the 200. His 100 mark puts him at fourth fastest in the Sac-Joaquin Section, according to times posted on The sophomore’s season best 200 time of 21.89 is ranked No. 2 in the section. He also helped the Cougars’ 4x100 relay qualify for next week’s SJS Division IV-V Preliminaries with a third-place finish.

The top three performers in each event automatically advance for the divisional meet that will also be hosted by Sierra on May 14 and 16. Competitors can also qualify by meeting or surpassing at-large standards.

Emmanuel Elijah spearheaded the Sierra boys 4x100 team’s head-turning effort. The section’s No. 1 quartet dominated a competitive field in 42.16 seconds. Elijah — the runner-up to McDonald in the 100 and 200 — was joined by Jordan Lewis, Jayson Manuta and Nchekube Uwakwe.

East Union sophomores Haley Cook and Jordan McNeal each qualified in two individual events while earning VOL titles. Both were part of a loaded group in the 200 won by Weston Ranch’s Renee Royster-West (26.15). McNeal took second, and Cook finished fifth but moves on as an at-large entry. Cook garnered the gold in the 400 (1:01.51), as did McNeal in the 100 (12.31). Both of East Union’s girls relays also advance.

Phillip Herrera of Manteca High paced area distance runners with first places in the 800 (2:04.35) and 1,600 (4:28.43). He and McDonald are the only Manteca Unified competitors to win multiple events.

Sierra led area schools with the most first-place finishes. Nicholas Valdes won the 300 hurdles (41.44) and was second in the 110. Jaliya Williams is another two-event qualifier after claiming the girls long jump (15 feet, 10 inches) and taking third in the triple jump.

Onix Paredes and Jojo Macias went 1 and 2 in the boys pole vault, respectively. Paredes took it easy, as his first-place mark of 13-00 is 3 feet shorter than his section-leading measurement. Also in field events, the Valeries shined in the shot put with Valerie Nestor winning with a 37-foot toss and Valerie Westover ending up second.

Manteca’s Daniel Clemons was the boys shot put victor (49-3 ¾), while Loreal Taylor won the girls high jump (5-00) to become Lathrop High’s first varsity track and field champion.


Lathrop High’s Delicia Higares was among the meet’s top lower-level performers Saturday. She won the 100 and 200 while leading the Spartans’ mile relay to a title.

Mahir Pepic of Manteca doubled up in the distance events, winning the mile- and two-mile races.

Other first-place finishers from the area were: East Union’s Humberto Andrade (boys triple jump), Olivia Vezaldenos (girls high jump), Maliah Watson (girls shot put) and Cassidy Smith (discus); Sierra’s Johnny Machado (boys 300 hurdles) and Anthony Santiago (boys shot); Manteca’s Trevor Crippen (3,200); and Lathrop’s Terrina Phillips (400, 4x400).