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Bruins End Track Season At Masters
Seven Riverbank High students advanced their 2011-12 athletic campaign to the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Track and Field Championships on May 24 and 25 in Elk Grove.

All saw their seasons end short of a top-3 placement and advancement to the state meet, but each tasted elite competition against the best athletes in the section.

"We are a school of 700 competing against division one and two schools, but we got in there and competed," Riverbank coach Monte Wood said. "Events like this can be pretty intimidating, and I need to enter the younger kids into bigger meets to prepare them for it."

Masters was expected to offer serious potential for sophomore Mikayla Florez to continue her season another week, but Riverbank's Division IV cross country champion fell short of her goals in the same 1600 meter event that she won on May 17 at the SJS D IV-V finals.

Florez was nearly 14 seconds shy of her personal best in the race with a 5 minute, 25.71 second finish. Her time allowed the same runners she bested earlier in the season to sneak into state advancements and was only good enough for 18th place among the field of 23 qualifying competitors. Her 5:11.81 would have captured a Masters title.

"That time isn't what I wanted to get, it was pretty bad for me," Florez admitted Sunday. "When I went into that race I knew I had a chance but I think what mentally happened is that I didn't have any confidence.

"I know I have two more years and I can go for it again. Hopefully I can keep both (D-IV) titles in cross country and track."

Before the meet, Florez was also forced to part ways with the senior runners who had helped develop her career since she came onto the high school scene as a gangly freshman in 2010.

"It was tough to say goodbye to them, but I know that they have to go," Florez said. "I have had really good years running with them and they helped me train to be where I am now."

Riverbank's boys 400 relay team represented by Raymond Burney, Joaquin Felix, Robert Martinez and Gabe Manriquez also made a Masters appearance on May 24. The foursome ended 19th in a field of 21.

Angel Harrell was 17th among 23 qualifiers in the discus the same day. She heaved a 102 foot, 9 inch toss for her best mark in the heat.

Her fellow junior, Melissa Garcia, landed Riverbank's top finish in any event when she heaved the shot put 33-7.25 on Friday. Her throw was good enough for 15th place.

Most of Riverbank's long distance runners will be back in the fall for the cross country season. Riverbank is a perennial Trans-Valley League and Division IV power on the beaten path.

"We have got a lot of talent returning next year," coach Wood said. "We are pretty much gearing for cross country now with base training ready for the summer."