The California Interscholastic Federation track and field postseason officially ended for Riverbank athletes at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Championships in Elk Grove on May 23 and 24.
But the season isn’t over yet.
On June 8 and 9, junior distance runner Mikayla Florez and senior thrower Melissa Garcia will participate in the prestigious Golden West Invitational on the dazzling UC Berkeley campus for one final shot to carve their name into Bruin lore.
Florez hit her personal best to end one second shy of the school 1600 meter record with a brilliant 5 minute, 5.93-second showing at Masters. She finished sixth among the 22 best runners in the section.
She was just over six seconds short of the at-large mark to qualify for state and three seconds shy of nabbing a top-three mark and automatic qualification.
“Mikayla ran really well,” Riverbank coach Monte Wood said. “She let the lead pack get away from her on the third lap, but finished strong and passed several girls in the last 200 meters.”
Coach Wood said he believes Florez can knock a few seconds of her career-best, and expects her to seriously contend for her place in the record book at Golden West.
She’s not the only one.
Garcia was the SJS D IV-V shot put champion and appeared destined for the Masters finals and a new school record when her first heave sailed close to 39 feet. She unfortunately fouled on the toss, and repeated the travesty on her next two throws to see elimination from the finals qualifier. At 39 feet, she would have been in serious contention to qualify for state among a field that sent a 40-8.25 thrower to the next stage of CIF track and field.
“(The first throw) would have broken the school record, but she stepped on the toe board and fouled,” Wood said. “She then fouled on the other two attempts and that was it.
“She has been such a competitor for three seasons for us, and it was hard to see someone who has accomplished so much (three-time TVL shot put champion) feel as if they failed.”
Still, Garcia has a chance at redemption in the near future.
“The good thing is that she has one more shot at it, pun not intended, because she is going to throw at the Golden West Invitational,” Wood added. “We will see if both of those school record can (go) down in two weeks.”