Area tracksters wrap up season at Masters

By Alex MacLean, The Union Democrat

The 2013 track and field season came to a close for 10 area athletes at the Masters Meet heldThursdayandFridayat Elk Grove High.

Eight tracksters, two each from Sonora, Bret Harte, Calaveras and Tioga, qualified to compete at the prestigious postseason meet by placing in the top five in their respective events at the Sac-Joaquin Section Divisonals earlier this month.

Wildcat senior Samantha Smith and Bullfrog sophomore Clara Jefferson competedFridayas alternates.

"It's been a good year," said Bret Harte head coach Hal Clements. "All of our athletes have shown continuous improvement throughout the season. We were close to our best at the Masters, but it just wasn't good enough to get us to State."

The top three finishers in each event at the Masters advanced to the State Meet at Buchanan Highthis FridayandSaturday.

Bret Harte senior Joe Hollett wrapped up his high school track and field careerThursdayrunning the 800-meter preliminary race in2:00.00 to finish in 17th place. Jefferson finished 22nd in the discus throw with a toss of 94-02.

Bullfrog junior Tristan Boblet ran his way to a tie with Tioga junior Matthew Spring in the 1600. Both finished in4:30.81 for a share of 20th place in the event.

"Joe and Tristan have both had an outstanding season and set personal records at almost every meet," Clements said. "Jefferson has progressed well throughout the season and got to the Masters, which gives her something to shoot for next season."

Spring tied with Boblet in what was his second time competing at the Masters after competing the previous year as an alternate.

"This year, Spring was second in the section and made it outright, so that was a big deal for him," said Timberwolves head coach Randi Mittelstadt. "He's come a long way this season and we think he can do even better next year."

Tioga sophomore Casey Bryant competed at the Masters in the high jump event, finishing tied with four other athletes in 13th place after leaping 5-11. The fact he made it to the Masters in his first year on the team was a big accomplishment, according to Mittelstadt.

And with both Bryant and Spring expected to return next season, Mittelstadt said it could be another big year for Tioga track and field.

"It's always nice to have known quantities coming back who have already proven themselves," Mittelstadt said. "We also have a couple kids who could step up and perhaps make it that far, so we're expecting another good season next year."

Calaveras sophomore Hannah Hull and junior Kelly Airola represented the Redskins at the Masters, competing in the 1600 and high jump, respectively.

Hull was one of the top ranked 1600 runners in the section early in the season before an injury kept her from competing again until Mother Lode League play began.

According to Calaveras head coach Doug Avrit, Hull has been steadily improving since making her return. She ran the 1600 in5:30at the MLL Championship before shaving another 15 seconds off that time at the Divisionals to qualify for the Masters, where she finished eighth out of 22 in5:07.

"Hannah did very well at the Masters considering she was hurt for awhile," Avrit said. "We had to do some alternate training including some running in the water. Her improvement in these last few meets is a testament to how she was determined to stay in shape despite not being able to run."

Airola jumped 5-01 to finish tied for eighth place with nine other competitors. Avrit said she competed well but it would have been "tough to make it to State with the number of girls in the hunt."

"Both Kelly and Hannah are coming back next year and will have the opportunity to improve on this year's placing," Avrit said. "There's a lot of quality and depth on our team, so it's going to be a fun season."

Sonora had three athletes compete at the Masters, including junior Steven Grolle in his third appearance at the meet in so many years.

Last year, Grolle advanced to the State Meet while competing in the 1600 but was unable to repeat that success in the 3200 this year, finishing seventh in9:30.64 behind a tough field of runners.

"He had a good steady pace but never really picked it up in the last couple of laps," said Sonora head coach Frank Garcia. "He'll definitely be motivated to qualify (for the State Meet) next year and will be running in several meets over the summer."

Meanwhile, Wildcat senior Jeff Storey finished seventh in the long jump with a 22-1 leap, just short of his personal record record 22-3. Garcia said Storey was "really happy" with his performance.

"There were a lot of jumpers in the 23s and for Storey to jump in the 22-range to end his high school career is just awesome for him," Garcia said. "He wants to continue jumping in college and will be really successful."

Smith will also be continuing her track and field career when she joins the team at Troy University next semester after earning a full-ride academic scholarship to the Alabama college.

She competed at the Masters as an alternate in the 3200 and finished 19th in11:33.91, which was also a new personal best.

"She was just really excited after thinking it was over but then getting one last chance and setting a new personal record," Garcia said. "Doing the best you can is what it's all about, and she really did just that."

11902152
The Union Democrat
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