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SVL decides league's best track athletes
The Sacramento Valley League Championship Meet belonged to Durham High as the Trojans claimed the team title in the varsity boys and girls divisions Wednesday at Yuba College.
With a chance to advance to the Northern Section Division III Championship Meet at Mt. Shasta High on the line, several athletes from Willows and Pierce set personal records and earned the right to move on.
The top two athletes in each event earned an automatic berth to the Division III meet, which will feature teams from the SVL and from the Mid-Valley League. Wildcard spots will be given to the athletes with the four next best marks.
Durham won the varsity boys division with a score of 130, well ahead of second place Trinity (99), Mt. Shasta (91), Willows (77), Live Oak (46) and Pierce (39).
The Trojans (102) barely beat out Trinity (97) in the varsity girls division, and Mt. Shasta (89) snuck into third place ahead of Live Oak (87), Willows (56) and Pierce (28).
Macey Cox won two events for Pierce in the varsity girls division. She won the long jump (15-feet, 1/2 inch), the triple jump (30-9.5), placed third in the 100-meter hurdles (19.88) and fifth in the 100-meters (14.85).
Nieko Bates put on a strong showing in the varsity boys division, winning the 110 hurdles (18.99) by a hair. As Bates and Trinity's Justus Ownbey flew over the final barricade side-by-side, Ownbey's trail leg clipped the top of the hurdle and Bates leaned across the line two hundredths of a second ahead.
"I had better times but the heat affected it a lot. I think if didn't have the other kids pressuring me as much as they did I would have been a lot slower," Bates said.
Ownbey (46.54) got his revenge in the 300-meter hurdles, leading Bates (46.81) across the finish line. Bates day wasn't over, he placed third in the long jump (17-3.5) and was a part of the second place 400-meter relay team (48.77) with Preston Smith, Oscar Dorantes and Marco Ambriz.
Smith placed third in the discus (102-7), sixth in the triple jump (31-8) and eighth in the long jump (15-5.5). Marco Ambriz took seventh place in the varsity boys 800 meters with a time of 2:21.98. Marina Ambriz placed seventh in the varsity girls 100 meters with a time of 15.53.
In the junior-varsity boys division, Carlos Martinez won the 1600 (5:17.38) and the 3200 (11:35.45). Stepnaie Lathum won the junior-varsity girls 100 (14.51) and Delany Cano won the high jump (4-4).
Willows' Trevor Candelaria will travel to Mt. Shasta as the favorite after winning the varsity boys discus (127 feet, 3 inches) and shot put events (48-2.5).
Kaylen Wilson joined Candelaria as the only other varsity Honker athlete to win an event at the league championships, winning the varsity girls discus event with a throw of 97-0. Wilson placed second in the shot put (30-8 1/2), second in the 100-meter hurdles (18.91 seconds) and third in the long jump (13-5).
The Honkers' Mary Feeney and Derek Soeth kept their seasons alive with several second-place finishes.
Feeney came in a close second to Live Oak's Amyah Clark in the 100-meter (14.03) and 200-meter (28.45) races.
Soeth came in second behind Live Oak's Andrew Lopez in the 1600-meter (4:53.09) and 3200-meter (11:09.99) races.
He nearly came back from a 15-meter deficit on the final lap of the 800-meters, but lost to the Lions' Edward Lopez by one one-hundredth of a second with a time of 2:11.78.
"Every time I race against those guys it's the same thing, they'll pull ahead and then I pray that my kick at the end can really help me out," Soeth said.
Soeth didn't run the 800 the last two seasons but decided to run it again this year to stay warm during the long break between his other two races. The 1600 takes place near the start of most meets and the 3200 is near the end.
"Last year I got tired and lethargic in between but this year I've seen a lot of improvement just by running the 800," he said.
Bryce Jones placed second in the long jump (17-9), third in the triple jump (36-6) and third in the high jump (5-4).
Jones was also a part of the Honkers' 400-meter relay team with Steven Johnson, Felipe Garcia and Jose Chavez which finished third with a time of 49.14 seconds.
Michaela Biggs (81-9) took fourth in the varsity girls discus, Adrian Mercado (35-8) finished fourth in the varsity boys shot put and Esmeralda Perez placed fifth in the 400 meters (1:20.04).
In the junior varsity boys division, Austin Whitney won the 800 (2:18.34) and the 300 hurdles (49.98). Devin Perez won the junior-varsity girls 800 (2:39.99) and took second in the 1600 and 3200.
The Northern Section Division III Track and Field Championships start at noon on Friday at Mt. Shasta High.
CONTACT Kirk Barron at 458-2121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.