Host Del Oro sweeps invite

Placer’s Burton sets PR, wins shot put
By: Justin A. Lawson Journal Sports Writer
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LOOMIS – Del Oro High senior Brie Simmons isn’t used to having competition so when she found herself next to Gabby Williams of Reed (Sparks, Nev.) she embraced the challenge. The two dueled in the 100 and 300 meter hurdles Friday at the Del Oro Invitational from the starting gun. Simmons, although much shorter than the lanky Williams, stayed stride for stride with Williams through each hurdle but came up short in both events. And although Simmons lost, she wore a smile like she took home two gold medals. “It actually wasn’t tough, it was awesome,” said Simmons, who will sign with BYU on Wednesday. “Being local I don’t get very much competition so the hardest part is figuring how to tap in to that intensity without the competition so it was awesome having someone push me right there where I could still get her.” Simmons finished second to Williams in both events but broke her own school record in the process. She ran a 14.30 in the 100 and 44.72 in the 300. The invitational brought out 18 schools from around the area and Northern Nevada. Aside from host Del Oro, local schools Colfax and Placer found themselves competing with some of the best athletes the area has to offer. The Eagles swept the invitational in girls varsity, boys varsity and both frosh/soph teams. Del Oro dominated the girls’ varsity competition with 158.50 points to second-place Reed’s 90. Placer was sixth with 23 points and Colfax finished 12th with eight points. On the boys’ side, Del Oro had to fight out Center 85.5-70. Placer was 10th with 18 points and Colfax was 13th with seven points. Placer was down some of its best athletes with pole vaulter Shelby Crider at the prestigious Woody Williams Invite at UC Davis and Joe Mangino out of the competition with a pulled hamstring. Mangino had sat three weeks with the same injury and returned earlier in the week but reinjured himself at practice Thursday. Even without their top athletes, the Hillmen had a strong showing thanks to Lance Burton, Zach Stelzer and Christina Winters. Burton topped his personal record in the shot put by two feet to win the competition on a throw of 47-5.5. Stelzer, who wore a brace on his ankle, ran a 4:19.60 in the 1,500 meter to finish fourth, a time that likely would have been a personal record if it was the 1,600, which is his race of choice. “I would have gotten a PR time,” said Stelzer, a sophomore. “It helps a lot running with faster packs.” Winters found a relaxing pace in the 1,500 meter before she kicked up her speed and pulled away to a fifth-place finish at 5:07:54. “I race with Alexa (Lua, who finished fourth) in cross country and she usually has a better kick then me,” Winters said. “So definitely going in to it I was like stare at the back of her head, stare at the back of her head. Every move that she made, I made.” Winters went on to place sixth in the 800 at 2:33.48 behind a trio of Del Oro runners – Amy Heyn, Dominique Tristant and Alexa Lua. Colfax’s Madi Newman finished fourth. Placer junior Kerry McCullough finished second in the triple jump with a 31-10. When Del Oro senior Casey Wheeler came off the track after a second-place finish in the 110 meter hurdles he wasn’t content with his 14.49 time. So when he came back up for the 300 meter competition he left nothing to chance as he ran his way to a meet record time of 38.63 seconds. “Some may call it short, I would call it he was three one-hundredths short of a new school record,” Del Oro coach Dustin Fee said after Wheeler’s 110 meter run. “It’s been a record that he very much wanted and is in his grasp right now.” Wheeler was also part of the Eagles’ first-place 4X400 meter relay team along with Blake Covey, Jonathon Tuttle and Austin Smith. The foursome beat out the competition by nearly 10 seconds with a meet record time of 3:23.98. Covey showed his speed in the 400 meter when he settled into a steady pace for the first 280 meters. The senior then kicked up his speed to come up from the middle of the lead pack to an all-out dash for the title against Manteca’s Jordan Lyons. Covey passed Lyons with about 40 meters left in the race and walked off the track while Lyons lay on the artificial turf infield for 10 to 15 minutes to recover from the pace. “Over the years I’ve kind of learned that people like to get out hot in big meets like this and can’t necessarily hold on,” Covey said. “So I like to run smart but still stay in the hunt.”