Boys and girls tracksters saw competition on the field, on Wednesday, April 13, under a special U.S. flag commemorating alumni who are or who have served in combat zones around the world.
The flag, presented to head coach Monte Wood by the wife of RHS class of 2006 alum Tony Winstead, had flown with him in his Blackhawk helicopter in Afghanistan.
The boys beat Hughson in the dual meet for the first time in several years, according to coach Wood.
“This was a big step in bringing back the boys’ TVL Championship to Riverbank.” Wood said. “We really dominated in the throws and the distance events. Omar Montoya and Martin Cornejo were huge on Wednesday by going 1-2 in the shot put and 1-3 in the discus. We also went 1-2 in the 1600, 800, and 3200 meters. The senior distance boys were dominant. Ruben Paredez, Michael Rodriguez, Diego Ruiz, Noah Glynn, and Eric Wise are carrying these teams.”
Wood said the team has proven to be dedicated and focused, a winning combination.
“Very rarely do we have a group of seniors this motivated and focused as their high school careers wind down,” Wood said. “Eric Wise set a 1-foot personal record in the pole vault by jumping 10-feet-6 and then finished second in the 3200 meters by coming from way behind to out kick a Hughson athlete at the end. I can’t say enough about how far Eric has come and how proud I am of him for what he is doing with his life.”
Marty Sveen won the pole vault with a jump of 12 feet. Newcomer Wolfgang Lopez is a difference maker for this team, noted Wood. He won the high jump with a jump of 5 feet 8, then took second in the long jump with a distance of 18 foot 6 inches.
“Then he ‘out leaned’ a Hughson athlete for third in the 100. He is a great athlete and he also adds that extra spirit to this team that we need,” Wood explained. “He is constantly jumping around and cheering his teammates on. I can’t say enough about what he has brought to this team.”
Though the season has a long way to go, Wood said if his Bruins continue to improve and stay focused, they have the opportunity to win the TVL championship for the first time since 2010.
On the other side, the girls team lost to a “very, very good Hughson team,” according to the coach.
“They are deep in all events, but we gave it our best effort. Our girls performed very well but in the end we just didn’t have enough to keep up with a very talented Hughson team,” Wood said.
Kim Ruvalcaba won the 1600 meters in a very exciting race by outkicking a Hughson freshman. Alondra Hernandez provided excitement herself by beating Hughson’s talented freshman runner in the 800.
“It was her first time running the race, and she went after it and took the victory.” Wood said.
Mikala Stewart won the discus with a new personal record of 92 feet. She also took second in the triple jump and in the shot put.
“I was very proud of the way all our kids competed,” the coach said, “but we have a lot of the season left and we have to continue to improve.
“This time of the year is very challenging for kids, especially seniors, to stay focused because so much is going on. But we have to if we want to win.”
Track and field was to be at home once more, against Hilmar, this afternoon, Wednesday, April 20.