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Bruin Track And Field Preps For TVL Finale
Bruins Kim Ruvalcaba, left, and Valeria Aguiniga are bookends in the 800, a Ripon competitor sandwiched between them here as they make their way around the track. Photos Courtesy Of Jennifer Hodges

The varsity boys completed the Trans-Valley League dual meet track and field season undefeated by beating Ripon 73-63 on May 4.

“It was a closely contested meet, and we had to fight from behind to win,” said head coach Monte Wood. “The last three individual events of the meet, Wolfgang Lopez won the high jump, we swept the 3200, and we swept the pole vault. This is the first time we have been undefeated in dual meets since 2012.

“I am proud of the boys as they have stayed focused the entire season.”

Wood noted that the team has a lot of seniors and many times it is hard for the seniors to stay focused because of all the things they have to do to finish their high school careers.

“But this group has been fantastic,” Wood added. “They aren’t the most talented team, but they are the hardest working group of kids and a very tight group. I am really proud of what they have accomplished so far. However, we need to win the league meet to be undefeated TVL champions.”

At the meet, said Wood, the Bruins thought they needed to sweep the 3200 to win the meet because the high jump was still going on. They ran Ruben Paredez and Mikey Rodriguez in the 3200 after running the 1600 and the 800. Eric Wise and Diego Ruiz were also in the race and had run the 1600.

“Each kid was tired, and I am certain each kid doubted they could do what was needed to be done,” said Wood. “When the gun went off, they were all over the place. At one point a Ripon runner bolted from the pack and took a 10 meter lead. Eric, Mikey, Diego, and Ruben almost instantly moved together to close the gap. They relaxed. They focused. The pain on their face turned to determination. And I bet they would tell you they felt better than before they started the race.”

As a group, the Bruins quickly overtook the Ripon athlete who eventually fell way back. The collective energy from the boys was clearly noticeable, their coach noted.

“These guys have put countless miles and hours together. When the team needed them the most, they reached deep down to a place probably they only understand,” Wood said. “It was a proud and beautiful moment.”

The girls lost the dual meet, though they battled their Ripon counterparts throughout the competition.

“It seemed like almost every closely contested race or event we lost. We have battled through some injuries and a few of our young runners are struggling with competing at a high level week after week,” admitted Wood. “We finished the dual meet season 4-2 and are sitting in second place going into the TVL championship meet this Thursday.”

The TVL Championship meet will be hosted in Riverbank on Thursday, May 12. The field events begin at 3 p.m. and the running events at 6 p.m.

“We should be finishing the meet under the lights, and it should be a great meet. We hope everyone will come out to support us,” Wood said.

Divisionals will be Tuesday and Thursday, May 17 and 19 at Stan State in Turlock, followed by Master’s on Thursday and Friday, May 26 and 27 at Elk Grove High School.