Bruin track and field athletes have been busy this month, with three meets already under their belts before taking on the rest of the Trans-Valley League.
“March 8th we competed at the Sierra Relays in Manteca,” said coach Monte Wood. “We started the meet off well by winning the frosh/soph boys distance medley relay. In this relay one runner runs a 1200, one a 400, one an 800, and the anchor leg runs the 1600.”
For the Bruins, Wood said that the relay team consisted of Ruben Paredez, Federico Murguia, Michael Rodriguez and Diego Ruiz.
“Diego Ruiz anchored the relay and ran a really smart race to outkick an athlete from Atwater for the win,” explained Wood. “Atwater’s coach even commented on how smart of a race he ran.”
The varsity girls also won the Distance Medley Relay. Mikayla Florez anchored the relay and used a huge kick to overtake Madera High for the win.
“Her time of 5:22 in the 1600 was a really good early season time,” said Wood. “The other team members were Kimberly Ruvalcaba, Stephanie Bernal, and Sabrina Garcia.
The varsity girls sprint medley relay placed, with three of the four girls distance runners, which is a testimony of the talent and versatility of this group of girls, Wood noted. The team consisted of Kim Ruvalcaba, Miranda Alcantar, Sabrina Garcia, and Mikayla Florez.
In the field events, Fabian Arana had a huge day. He took second in both the shot and discus. He set a personal record of 151-1 in the discus. He was the only thrower to place in the top three in both throws. Armando Vargas placed second in the high jump.
“Last week, athletes competed on Thursday in the TVL/MLL Challenge which pitted league against league for bragging rights, and then Friday some athletes competed in the Stanislaus County Meet in Turlock,” Wood explained. “For the runners, we couldn’t really have them run a full slate of events on both days, so we were limited in both meets in the number of athletes that competed.”
On Thursday, Fabian Arana swept the throws with wins in the shot put and discus. Aramando Vargas set a personal record of 6-0 in the high jump and won that event. Emmanuel Chavez took third in the 3200 and Diego Ruiz fifth in the 3200.
“Their times of 10:24 and 10:36 were an impressive start to the season,” Wood added.
On the girl’s side, Mikayla Florez won her only race of the night by coming from behind to edge Hannah Hull of Calaveras in the 1600. Kimberly Ruvalcaba won the 300 hurdles in a new personal record of 52.2 and Haley Richardson won the pole vault.
The Mother Lode League schools won the TVL/MLL won the boys title and the girls title, but probably would not have if the County meet had not been the next day, Wood said.
“Hughson didn’t run many of their athletes, and we limited ours. It definitely would have made a difference,” noted the coach.
At the County Meet on Friday night, Fabian Arana again placed in the top 3 in the shot put and discus. He was third in both. Jonathen Beliera was second in the 3200 with an impressive time of 10:08. Moises Gomez ran 10:38 in the 3200 which gives Riverbank four runners under 10:40 in the 3200.
“We still have two runners who have yet to run the 3200 and anticipate they will make it six runners under 11:00,” Wood said of the talented squad. “Many of the other runners and jumpers struggled at the County meet mainly because of competing Thursday night, getting home late, and then having to compete again on Friday night.”
On the girl’s side, Kim Ruvalcaba won the 1600 in a personal record of 5:36. It was only her second time running the event and she took 19 seconds off her personal record. It was the fourth year in a row that a Riverbank girl won the 1600 at the County Meet. Mikayla Florez had won it the previous three years, but due to the hard 1600 on Thursday night, she ran only in the 800 on Friday. She easily won the 800 in a personal record of 2:22 and almost broke the meet record. That time was especially impressive since she ran all by herself the whole race and had run a hard 1600 the night before. The girls 4x400 relay team finished the grueling two days with a fourth place finish in a time of 4:22.
“In probably the proudest moment of the night, Adrian Salazar pulled a hamstring rounding the turn on the home stretch while running his leg of the 4x400 relay,” explained Wood. “He fell down for a minute but got up and hopped the rest of the 120 meters to his relay team member who was waiting.
“The crowd cheered for him wildly and many of the runners came over to him and patted him on the back and hugged him as he sat on a bench after the race. Even another team’s coach emailed me about Adrian’s effort and how impressed he was with Adrian and the Riverbank track and field program.”