Clearing skies and warmer temperatures this past week found more than 70 runners, throwers and jumpers on the Bruin track and field team out with two tune-up meets at the home stadium. On St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, some runners competed at the County Meet in Turlock.
Coach Monte Wood said a handful of his athletes competed there, but the true highlight was a win by Alondra Hernandez in the 800 meter race.
“Coming off the last turn with 100 meters to go, she was sitting in sixth place,” Wood explained. “She stepped on the gas hard and caught up with a pack of four runners.”
Feeling that might be as much gas as Hernandez had left in the tank, the coach said he was pleased to be proven wrong.
“She ran down the lead runner, nipping her at the line for the win,” Wood said.
He also noted she had a faster second lap than the first.
“Very rarely does a girl make a negative split in the 800, but she did it by three seconds. Her first lap was 75 seconds, the second was recorded at 72,” Wood said of the victory. “It was the sixth year in a row that a Riverbank girl has been a County Champion in a distance race.”
On Tuesday, March 14, athletes from Trans-Valley League and Mother Lode League teams came to town for a meet and Wood said his young team competed well. He pointed to a strong showing from Zac Richison, who placed in the top three in the pole vault, 110 hurdles and the 300 yard hurdles, setting a personal record in that event.
On Thursday, the team ran against Big Valley Christian High School in a practice meet, where Bruin runners and jumpers did well.
Richison won the triple jump at 38 feet, 7 inches. According to Wood, it was his first time ever in that event. He said Jenise Perryman broke 30 feet in the girl’s triple. And the girls 4x100 team ran well.
“But the highlight of the day was the 4x400,” Wood said.
Ten teams from Riverbank took the track, the coach noted, including seven coed, two all girls, and ... a coach’s team.
“That’s right,” Wood said. “Coaches Smith, Buchanan, Harvey, and myself ran the 4x400 relay. And we took second place.”
He’s hoping someone got it on video.