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Bruin Pair Secure Masters Advancement With Solid Section Marks
With 13 Sac-Joaquin Section conferences across two divisions struggling for only six berths to the SJS Masters tournament, competition was fierce at Modesto Junior College during the D-IV/V Track and Field Championships last week.

Thursday's finals sorted out the final placements for small school athletes, leaving Riverbank High with just two advancements (Mikayla Florez and Jackie Herrera) deeper into the track season.

"We are young, and we will climb our way back to the top," Bruin coach Monte Wood said. "We had freshmen and sophomores perform very well against upper classmen."

With standout jumper Robert Martinez still out with an injury, Riverbank boys were unable to land any top-6 finishes to secure team points from the event.

Freshman Fabian Arana still turned heads by winning his flight with a 116-4 toss of the discus, and outdistanced 10 upperclassmen and the only two sophomores to reach divisional action. He was the only freshman to even qualify for the postseason tourney.

Sophomore Christian Torres hit a personal best of over three seconds in the 1600 to finish 16th among 23 runners. Classmate Kenny Veliz landed a respectable mark in the triple jump while Angel Duarte wrapped up a solid season at the shot put pit and Alex Reynaga ended a good year in the 300 hurdles.

Florez made waves at her first ever postseason tournament with an impressive personal best in the 1600 meter to place third with a 5 minute, 18.16 second time. She was nearly 25 seconds faster than the next closest freshman runner. Florez was also sixth in the 800 to qualify to Masters in that event as well.

Herrera continued her stellar season in the longest event, the 3200. She ran an 11:59.21 to nab fifth overall among 19 qualifying participants.

Adriana Rosales was seventh in the 1600 to just miss an automatic advancement to Masters, though her alternate status could keep her season alive, should a runner be unable to compete in the event. She was also eighth in the 800.

Riverbank also sent Melissa Garcia to both the shot put (ninth of 25) and discus (eighth of 21), and she missed Masters qualification by less than two feet in both events. She was the only athlete to finish top-9 in both events.

Riverbank girls snared nine total points to place 17th among the 29 teams who did well enough to take home team points.

"We have almost all of our girls coming back next year, so we look to move up in the divisional meet scoring," Wood said.

Masters action kicks off on Thursday with Trials at Hughes Stadium on the Sacramento City Campus.

The first heats of the 800 are expected to begin at 5:45 p.m. The 1600 (6:19 p.m.) and 3200 (8:25 p.m.) will run during Friday's Masters Finals.

The top three place winners in each event, along with athletes that reach the at-large standards, will qualify for the California Interscholastic Federation Track and Field Championships.