As the temperature outside climbed last week, so did the excitement escalate as competitors from far and wide came to the AAU Region 22 Track & Field Championships on the Riverbank High track.
Runners, throwers and jumpers from Bakersfield to the Oregon border, the California coast to Western Nevada, ages 8 and under through 18 years of age, came to qualify for the next level, the National American Athletic Union Junior Olympic Games in Detroit, Michigan. The top six finishers in running events, including relays, the top five in field events and the top four in multi-events will move on to the Nationals.
According to RHS track coach Monte Wood, this is the third youth track and field meet in the last four weeks on campus. Over the four days, it certainly drew the largest crowd, mostly coaches, parents and family members, to the Riverbank area. Wood said the all-weather track was a great setting for the event.
“And it brought recognition to our school and patrons to our community,” he added.
Wood also noted RHS athletes who competed, at least two of which qualified to go to Detroit.
Jenise Perryman qualified with medals in the 100-meter hurdles, the triple jump and the high jump.
Cecilia Leon scored in the shot put, placing fourth in the discus.
Seventh grader Dalen Smith placed second in the 13-year-old division of the 800-meter race and fifth grader Eduardo Diaz competed in the long jump, the 100- and 400-meter races.
The events were broken down by age group, based on year of birth. In the individual events, it started at 8-and-under, then each year until 15-16 combined and 17-18 combined. In the relays, it was 8-and-under, 9-10, 11-12, 13-14, 15-16 and 17-18.
The multi events, heptathlon and decathlon, were held on Wednesday and Thursday, June 14 and 15, with the track and field competitions held on Friday and Saturday, June 16 and 17.
Other local competitors included seventh grader Nick Mangiapane, in the 100- and 200-meter races, and 10th grader Marissa Castellanos in the shot put and discus.
Coach Wood noted that the AAU Regionals are usually held in Oakdale, but this year, their football stadium is being rebuilt, so it moved here.
He said they were expecting to have over 450 athletes from California and Nevada competing.