STOCKTON — It was a satisfying day to say the least for the Lathrop High track and field squad at Friday's Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV and V Finals at Chavez High.
LaNicia Ellis, for starters, put on a stellar performance, winning the D-IV 400-meter dash (58.84 seconds) and placing second in the 200 (25.46), in turn, qualifying for next week's SJS Masters meet.
"LaNicia just started running the 400 because we needed her to help us win the league championship," said Spartans coach Krystle Davis.
Ellis was especially thrilled with first-place effort in the 400. "I'm really happy with the results," she said.
The Lathrop girls' 400 relay team of Isis Siga, Ashley Gaspar, Ally Giordano and Ellis also qualified for the Masters by edging out Rosemont for first place (50.22).
Maria Soto put up good times in the 1,600 (5:29.83) and the 3,200 (12:03.22) — both school records, according to Davis.
She qualified for the Masters in the 3,200 while taking fourth overall. Soto was third in the 1,600.
Erielle De La Cruz, who is a senior, was all set to go to Disneyland Grad Night trip. She even purchased her ticket.
But then the section meet coincided with her plans. De La Cruz decided the triple jump was more important. She also competed in the long jump.
"I'm really happy how it turned out," said De La Cruz, who, despite an injured knee and a sixth-place finish in the long jump, set a personal best in the triple jump (35 feet, 1 inch), outdoing her previous PR of 34-4.
She placed third in the D-IV triple jump while qualifying for the Masters.
For the Lathrop boys, Joey Sanchis took third in the 400 (51.94) while just finishing out of the top five in the combined D-IV / D-V field.
The Ripon trio of Laila Irigoyen, Abrahim Asaidi and Benny Dimas are also going to the Masters.
The latter ran from behind in his 800 race, falling behind the pack through the first lap while staging a strong kick from the final turn to the straightway.
"I was boxed in," said Dimas, who was the TVL champion in the 800.
The Ripon High sophomore found a runner in the pack to help set his pace before that final burst. "I knew it was going to be a fast race," he said.
In the D-V 800, Dimas (2:02.31) shot past Isaac Castro (2:03.10) of Center to win the event.
Irigoyen (2:18.58), who is also a sophomore, jumped out to a fast start in her 800 race before being edged out down the stretch by Amber Jackson (2:18.12) of Forest Lake Christian.
"This is what we worked for all year," she said on making it to the sections.
Irigoyen added that she's still working on her racing strategies and pacing given the strong field in both the sections and the upcoming Masters.
While Jacob Christopher (9:35.36) of Calaveras led from start to finish in the 3,200, Alsaidi (9:42.64) stay not too far off the pace while running behind Adin Dibble of Sonora. In the final lap, he surpassed Dibble in taking second place.
The Masters meet takes place May 17-18 at Davis High.