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TVL Terrific - Bruin Track And Field Stars Surge To Success
0417 Track 1
A relay baton hoisted by Riverbanks Sam Certuche is handed to Gabe Manriquez during Trans-Valley league action against Escalon. Photo By Dick Hodges

A toddler chewing on scrabble letters could assemble an appropriate cliché headline for Riverbank High’s over-performing track and field program.

On The Right Track. Keeping Track. The Tracketeers. Tick Track Toe.

That last one may be a bit of a stretch, but it matches the performance of Bruin athletes, who craned limbs to reach new highs during a stunningly dominant effort over perennial Trans-Valley League strength, Escalon, on April 11.

Riverbank’s girls cruised to a 103-33 win over the Cougars while Bruin boys captured a 100-36 victory.

Bruin coach Monte Wood said it was the first time Riverbank has scored 100 or more points against the Cougar boys and girls.

The victories propel both undefeated teams to an important showdown with Hughson (boys 2-0, girls 1-1) on Thursday, April 18.

“I know they (Escalon) are down right now, but we really ran well,” Wood said. “I think we are ready for the big dual meet against Hughson this week.

“They (Hughson) are talented and deep, but I think our kids are hungry and up for the challenge. It is going to be a good one.”

The Hughson boys eased to a 74-56 win over the same Ripon unit that Riverbank edged just 71-65. The Huskies beat Riverbank 70-65 a year ago to win the league title and return the likes of sprint standout Tanner Duron (TVL runner-up) and distance specialist Zach Morrett (defending 3200 meter TVL champ).

The meet may come down to relays and jumps, where Riverbank could have an advantage.

The Bruins added to their jump arsenal with Kenny Veliz, a basketball and soccer star who leaped to a 38 feet, four inch mark in his first jump in two years against Escalon. Veliz also anchored Riverbank’s winning 400 relay team. Gabe Manriquez won the 100 with a sharp 11.1 second burst and was first in the 200. Fabian Arana maintained his undefeated stand in the shot put and discus, and is likely to maintain that honor after the Hughson meet. Cecil Arias was also first in the 110 and 300 hurdles.

The Bruin girls carry a 182-90 combined advantage over TVL foes. A lot of that success has rallied around the lean athletic form of Haley Richardson. She won four events against Escalon after competing in the pole vault, 100 hurdles, 3200 and 1600 relay.

“I have never had an athlete as versatile as her, not even (Bruin grad and Chico State star) Kelly Clancey,” Wood said. “Kelley was a little bit better athlete than Haley, but Haley can run all the races and do well and do multiple field events.”

Sabrina Garcia captured the 200 while Mikala Florez won both the 400 and 800. Melissa Garcia won the shot put and discus while Angel Harrell was runner up in the discus. Garcia’s 115-3 toss and Harrell’s 114-1 mark impressed coach Wood, who said Riverbank has never before had two girls throw over 110 feet in one season.