Eagles soar into Masters

Track and Field
By: Eric J. Gourley, Gold Country News Service
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The Del Oro High track and field team backed up strong efforts at the Sierra Foothill League meet with an even more impressive performance at last week’s Sac-Joaquin Section Division II meet. The girls placed third and boys took fourth out of 30 teams competing at Bella Vista High. The Golden Eagles qualified a whopping 24 athletes to the Sac-Joaquin Masters Meet at Sacramento City College, which begin this afternoon and conclude Friday. Leading the charge will be a trio of relay teams, all of which have a solid shot at advancing to next weekend’s state meet in Clovis. The girls 4x100 team of juniors Ciara Clement and MacKenzie Landry, sophomore Brie Simmons and freshman Brianna Ruiz finished second in Division II and is the second-ranked team at Masters. The girls 4x400 team of juniors Desiree Bacchi, Jessie Rozario, Casey Bell and Ruiz finished two tenths of a second behind winner Oak Ridge at the Division II meet. The team is ranked No. 3 in the Masters preliminaries. “Our girls teams are both ranked in the top three at the Masters level, which is pretty amazing,” head coach Jake Hardey said. The Eagles’ 4x400 team on the boys side is ranked fourth in a loaded Masters field after winning the event by more than a second at the Division II meet. The team set a new school and SFL meet record earlier this month and eclipsed that at the Division II meet, running a 3:23.04 with junior Kai VonAlvenslaben, senior Bryce Pratt, sophomore Blake Covey and junior Kenny Andri. “We’re lucky enough to have seven guys that can run on that relay at any time,” Hardey said. “We’re pretty deep there.” In the girls open 400, Ruiz and Bell paced fifth and sixth last week to qualify for Masters. On the boys side, Andri placed second in Division II and Covey was a surprise finish in fourth. Andri, who ran a 50.08 on May 12 to win the SFL 400-meter title, could run his first sub-50 at Masters. “That would be awesome,” Hardey said. “He’s run within a tenth of a second of 50 four different times this year. He’s just so consistent.” Junior Caitlin Devitt-Payne qualified in the girls 800, as did senior Matt Lozancich in the boys event. Devitt-Payne also qualified in the mile. Junior Emma Freeman will represent the Eagles in the girls two-mile at Masters. The Eagles will also be well represented in the hurdles. Junior Lauren Anderson and senior Jessica Mixon placed sixth and seventh, respectively, in the 100-meter hurdles at last week’s Division II meet to qualify for Masters. Anderson, Bacchi and Simmons will compete in the 300-meter hurdles this week. On the boys side, sophomore Casey Wheeler placed third in the 300 hurdles and seventh in the 110 hurdles to qualify in both events. Wheeler set a new school record in the 300 at the league championships. Headlining Del Oro’s field contingent, junior Noelle Latham won the girls high jump at the Division II meet. Mixon, the SFL champion, also qualified. Junior Karissa Willis advanced in the girls shot put and senior Jesse Stafford has aspirations of qualifying for the state meet after placing second in the boys high jump last week. Landry and Vicki Warner will represent Del Oro in the girls pole vault. Landry won the SFL crown earlier this month. A week before the Division II meet, the varsity girls won the Sierra Foothill League championship on May 14, while the boys were third behind Rocklin and Granite Bay. Between JV and varsity, 24 different athletes stood at the top of the podium at the league championships. The Masters trials kick off this afternoon with field events at 3 p.m. Running begins at 3:45 p.m.