By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Reaching New Heights DeYoung, Bruins Soar Into The Postseason
When Ben DeYoung eclipsed 13 feet, 6 inches in the pole vault for Riverbank High back in 2001, he had no idea that the height would turn into a popular family fashion.

His brother Richard followed suit with the same personal best in 2005 - and kid brother, Casey, wasn't about to break the trend.

The current Bruin senior cleared 13-6 for the first time in his four-year career at the Trans-Valley League championships at Modesto Junior College on Wednesday.

The mark topped the next closest jumper by over a full foot, and led the Bruin boys to a one-sided league title. Riverbank's girls were just a few points short of Escalon, and settled for second.

Bruin athletes who finished top three at the TVL championships took on the first day of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III Championships on Tuesday at MJC, May 18, after The News went to press. DeYoung won't compete until the second day of action, Thursday.

"I knew how much clearing that would mean to Casey and I, because I coached both of his brothers," Riverbank coach Monte Wood said. "But I had no idea it meant so much to his teammates. He was mobbed by most of his team and the whole grandstand erupted. He then just barely missed 13-9."

DeYoung's 13-3 clearance at last year's Division III finals was good enough for seventh place, just one position from an advancement to the SJS Masters. A 13-6 would have easily advanced him another week.

"That 13-6 has been my goal since my freshman year," DeYoung said. "I have been telling myself all this time that I can do it, and it was such a huge relief to clear it."

DeYoung wasn't the only Bruin athlete to shine at the May 12 league championships. Jorge Gomez won all four of his events and left opposing runners in the dust during a 52.2-second 400 meter victory. The same time would have awarded Gomez a trip to Masters last year. His 22.9-second 200-meter TVL victory would have nabbed the same honor.

Gomez also joined the winning 400 and 1600 relay teams. He saw teammate Guillermo Salcedo speed to a victory in the 3200 and watched Jose Moreno toss a league winning distance in the shot put.

Riverbank girls saw just two league titles, with their TVL sprint leader (Jade Finch) missing the postseason with an injury.

Genisa Contreras was first in the 100 hurdles and Vanessa Vargas soared to a win in the triple jump. The Bruin girls trailed Escalon by just six points with one event to go, but saw the Cougars win the 1600 relay and Riverbank settled for second in both the event and the meet.

"Right now the important thing is rest after a long season," Wood said. "We continue to set personal records and our results from the TVL championships shows the work we have done."

Tuesday's first day of D-III competition set the tone for Masters qualifications in a difficult field of competitors from 13 different leagues. In track, Riverbank and other small school programs are lumped with the same talent from larger Central Valley and Sacramento area squads. It makes for a stellar field of athletes with Masters qualification never a certainty.

"No division IV school has ever won Division III," Wood said. "The way we approach it is to finish as high as we can; be the highest scoring Division IV team.

"Looking back six years, Riverbank boys have been the highest scoring D-IV team four times and our girls have been the best D-IV team three times."