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Herrera, Florez Wrap Up Season At Masters Meet
A long and exciting prep track and field season came to a close on Friday as the final two Riverbank High athletes standing completed the last Sac-Joaquin Section event of the 2010-11 school year.

Freshman Mikayla Florez landed a stunning five-second personal best in the 1600 meters and watched junior teammate Jackie Herrera culminate a terrific season in the 3200 at the SJS Masters Finals at Hughes Stadium on the Sacramento City College campus.

"The kids really stepped up this year," Riverbank coach Monte Wood said on Saturday. "Even with injuries and transfers we had some very good meets and we were still competitive.

"We have some good kids coming back and are definitely on the upswing."

The Bruins won frosh/soph titles for both boys and girls during extremely tight Trans-Valley League action this year. The school's most populated program should be even better in 2012 with the influx of sharp underclassmen and an eighth grade class that has already caught Wood's eye.

And coach Wood knows young talent when he sees it.

His fantastic freshman, Florez, exploded onto the postseason scene with a six-second personal best at the Division IV/V tourney to advance her season. At Masters, she erupted for a final 400 kick in 71 seconds to finish with a new personal record at 5 minutes, 13.83 seconds in 10th place. She was only 11 seconds short of qualifying for the state meet and outclassed all other freshmen in the race.

"She just started running in July of last year, so coming in I just didn't know how fast she could run," Wood said. "She looks so relaxed right now and is running great."

Florez qualified for the highly touted Golden West Invitational on June 11, and will likely take on the state's best freshmen in an all ninth grade mile.

Herrera had a tough go against the section's best and placed just 23rd in the 3200 with a 12:33.01 time. She broke the 12-minute barrier at divisionals to qualify for Masters.

"I think Jackie just wasn't quite mentally ready this week," coach Wood said. "She got out of her routine and seemed a little worn out."