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Sierra girls bring home Al Brenda Invite crown
Brianna Sundquist of the Sierra girls varsity track and field team clears the bar Saturday at Cal State Stanislaus during the Al Brenda Invitational. - photo by Photo Contributed
TURLOCK – Over 40 teams showed up for the Al Brenda Athletic Club Invitational in Warrior Stadium on the California State University at Stanislaus campus, but Sierra High was one squad that did more than show up, winning the girls title and taking third in the boys competition.

Sierra continued an already impressive start to the season, out-dueling some 40 programs for bragging rights for the meet’s best squad.

“I told our team that we wanted to just go there and compete,” Sierra head coach Anthony Chapman said. “Our expectations are always high, so we looked at the teams that were going to be there and we felt that we could be competitive.
“Obviously things kind of went in our favor.”

The girls got solid production in several events, getting victories from Jenna Anderson (triple jump), Taylor Wilson (long jump) and Shanedra Pitts who won the 100-meters with a time of 13.22. Lorie Hoffman finished second in the pole vault and teamed up on the 4x100-relay team’s first place finish.

East Union’s Makayla Valdez had turned some heads with a fourth place finish in the 100-meters with a time of 13.33. Valdez also snatched a fourth place finish in the 200-meters, finishing a place behind Sierra’s Pitts.

Lancer freshman Megan Jordan made an immediate impact, earning a second place finish in the 400-meters with a time of 62.12. Sierra’s Laney Ribota just missed out on a top-3 finish in the 100-hurdles, finishing fourth in the finals.

Ripon High junior Sara Stanger also seized a fourth place finish in the long jump. Symone Ramirez of Ripon High had a fifth-place earning toss of 87’09” in the discus throw.

The Sierra boys squad was edged out by champion Stagg and second place Atwater High for a third place overall finish. The boys’ 60-point team total put them in prime position to vie for the title, but the 4x400-relay results left the Timberwolves as the second runner-up.

John Bowers took second in the 1600 and fourth in the 3200, while teammate Ruben Lopez garnered a pair of fourth place finishes in the 400 and 800-meter events. Ulysses Knapps finished second in the triple jump and teammate Udoka Uwakwe missed a first place finish in triple jump by less than five-inches.

Teamamte Stephen Thayer also accumulated some points, finishing fourth in the triple jump and joined forces for a second place finish in the 4x100-relay. Grant Widmer also got in on the action with a third place finish in the high jump, and a fourth place finish in the 300-meter hurdles.

Sierra will try and move forward after the title-earning showing, giving the squad ample momentum for their pursuit of Valley Oak League supremacy.

“We had a very good day today and I am very happy for our kids and very proud of them,” Chapman said. “But Monday is Monday, and we’ll be looking forward to the next one.”

— Jagada Chambers