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Now or Never
Last chance for areas top seniors to make state
Manteca Highs Paul Lyons charges for the finish line en route to winning the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV/V title in the 110-meter hurdles last Thursday, May 19. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO

The remaining members of Sierra High’s senior-loaded boys track and field team and Manteca High’s Paul Lyons have accomplished all they have wanted to accomplish up to this point in the season.

Now it comes down to qualifying for the California Interscholastic Federation State Championships.

To get there, they must finish in the top three or hit the at-large mark of their respective events in the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Meet, which begins today and wraps up Friday at Sacramento City College’s Hughes Stadium.

The track preliminaries begin at 4 p.m. today. The three heat winners and runners with the next six fastest times advance to Friday’s finals, which starts at 6.

Also today are the field-event finals for boys high jump, discus and long jump; and girls pole vault, long jump and shot put.

Sierra garnered its seventh section championship in the Division-IV/V meet at Modesto Junior College last Thursday, May 19, doing so in dominating fashion.

The Timberwolves’ 4x100 relay team set a new Division-IV/V meet record (42.92 seconds) in the trials, but its winning time of 43.08 in the finals has it seeded seventh for Masters. Anchor leg Kolton Kody cramped up during the race but gutted his way through the finish line with a sizable lead.

Kody’s injury kept him out of the 100- and 200-meter dashes, events he was favored to win at the divisional finale. Some of his relay teammates are state hopefuls in individual events.

Stephen Thayer checks in with the second-seeded time (10.98) for Masters in the 100. Jesuit’s Austin Mitsch leads the way by a 0.01-second margin. Thayer is also No. 5 in the 200 (22.15).

Ulysses Knapps is the busiest of the bunch. He is a part of both relays and is a threat to advance to state in the long and triple jumps. Knapps is the Division-IV champion in both and is seeded ninth in today’s long jump.

Sierra’s Ruben Lopez and Grant Widmer are others contending for state berths.

Lopez has been a revelation in the 800 this season after spending previous years running the 400. He took first last week in 1 minute, 57.36 seconds and is seeded sixth for Masters.

Widmer will compete in the 110 hurdles, but his ticket to state may be in the high jump. With no clear favorite I the field, Widmer could sneak in as a top-three finisher. His best bet, though, would be to improve last week’s 6-foot, 2-inch jump by 3 inches. The 6-05 mark would be good for an at-large berth to state.

The area’s best bet to qualify for state is Lyons. He is a big favorite in the 110 hurdles, as his top-seeded time of 14.41 is 0.15 faster than No. 2 Nick Martinez of Elk Grove. Lyons is also No. 5 in the 300 hurdles (39.73) and will anchor Manteca’s 16th-seeded mile relay team.

East Union junior Jerrica Hauck is making her second appearance at Masters in the pole vault. The two-time divisional champion and school record holder is the No. 4 seed.

A 12-foot vault may be required of Hauck to place in the top three with Granite Bay’s Katie Zingheim (12-11), Bella Vista’s Angie Charles (12-05) and Sydney Blakeley (12-00) already reaching that mark.

The at-large mark of 11-09 is reachable for Hauck, who vaulted her personal record of 11-01 at divisionals.