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Quartet Of Bruins Move On To Masters Championships
Competitors at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III Track and Field Championships were not giving up Masters qualifications without a fight.

The meet saw faster times and greater distances surpassed than the same tournament a year ago. In the wake of these improved marks, Riverbank athletes struggled to finish top-six and earn a trip to the SJS Masters Championships.

Jose Moreno, Alex Reyes. Jorge Gomez and Casey DeYoung were the only Bruins to make the cut.

"Our athletes performed very well, and I was proud of them for their performances, but the competition was just tough," Riverbank coach Monte Wood said. "The D-III meet was very competitive this year."

The stiff competition was best on display in a thrilling discus final, where Moreno broke a school and previous D-III record by tossing the discus 168 feet, 8 inches.

Though the mark set a new D-III high, it was followed by better tosses of 174-3 and 172-5 to force Moreno to settle for third at divisionals. Moreno was also third in the shot put after a 50-foot toss.

Reyes was eight seconds faster than a 3200-meter time (10 minutes, 1 second) that awarded him third place honors at last year's meet, but could only finish fifth in 2010 after seven runners eclipsed the 10-minute mark.

Casey DeYoung matched his career high by leaping over another 13-6 bar in the pole vault. Gomez added a 22.49-second 200 to finish sixth and snag the last qualification to Masters.

Riverbank's boys ended ninth in a field that included 29 teams that scored points in the D-III action. The Bruin girls were unable to snag a top-six advancement or team point, but saw sophomore Genisa Contreras speed to a seventh place 100-hurdle time of 17.53.

Lizzie Uscanga (12:29.21) and Natalia Herrera (12:53.36) each reached personal bests in the 3200 and finished eighth and 14th respectively. Uscanga was sitting 18th after the first two laps, but gradually worked her way past 10 runners as the race slipped into its second half.

Riverbank's 1600 boys relay team sped to a fourth place finish in preliminaries with a 3:35.12 mark, but an improvement to 3:32.82 in the event finals was only good enough for seventh overall.

The SJS Masters will be under way on Thursday and Friday at Sacramento City College's Hughes Stadium. The top three finishers in each event qualify for the California Interscholastic Federation Championships on June 4 and 5 at Buchanan High in Clovis.

Moreno represents the best shot to move on, as his discus toss from D-IIIs was better than any throw from Masters last year. But with a pair of fellow small school throwers surpassing the same distance, state qualification is anything but certain.

Masters action begins with 3 p.m. field events on Thursday, May 27.