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Bruin Track Team Comes Close To State
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Record-setting and disappointment went hand-in-hand Friday, May 27, as Riverbank High School athletes compted at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Meet Track Finals.

Three Bruin students broke school records and two won fourth places, which makes them alternates who will not compete in the State Meet unless one of the top three drop out.

"We came so close to going to state," said coach Monte Wood. "This year we had a chance of qualifying four kids and came close with three. But we have a lot of talent. Next year I expect three or four to reach the state meet."

Among the Bruin runners, Maritza Garcia placed fourth in the 800 meters with a time of 2:18.91.

"She's more of a mile girl. She injured her foot at the end of cross-country and lost a month of training," said her coach. "Next year she'll focus on the mile and two mile. She ran a 5.09 mile in March."

German Fernandez, the freshman prodigy who appeared out of nowhere after skipping cross-country, broke a RHS record in the mile with a time of 4:22.9. The old record was 4:23.00. Hernandez also placed fourth and became an alternate.

"It was a very impressive performance,'' said Wood. "He ran a great race, led most of the last lap, but was outkicked at the finish. He just needs more experience and a little more speed."

Jumper Ralphie Stevens placed fifth and broke a school record for the triple jump with a distance of 46 feet, some four inches better than the former figure.

"He was sitting in third place, when two kids passed him with three inches on their final jumps," was the coach's comment.

Stevens also won an eighth place in the long jump with a leap of 21-4, which is not his best distance.

Pole-vaulter Kasey Wool finished in tenth place with a height of 10-9, again some way off her best height of 11 feet.

Bianca Melchor placed seventh and also broke a school record for the two-mile with a time of 11:37.0.

Another up-and- coming Bruin pole-vaulter, Kelly Clancey, cleared 10-3 to tie her personal record.

Omar Fernandez, a sophomore and German's cousin, ran the two-mile in 10:05.0 for a personal best.

As to the state meet alternate positions allocated to Garcia and German Fernandez, coaches of the top three winners in their events have assured Riverbank High coaches they will let them know if their athletes drop out.

"But that is unlikely. They all seem to be in good health and available," said Wood. "But I expect much of our track team will be attending the state meet (as spectators) anyway."

The CIF State Meet in track and field is set for Friday and Saturday, June 3-4, at Sacramento's Hughes Stadium.