For the third year in a row, Denair High has claimed a Southern Athletic League title in track and field. In 2011 the boys earned the league crown only to be followed by the Lady Coyotes who earned their championship last season. Now, the boys are back, taking the SAL title with 152 points while the ladies finished in second with 116 points.
“It was really nice. But it wasn’t just winning the title; it was watching these special athletes earn titles for themselves,” Denair head coach Jim Wagner said. “I can’t be any more pleased with this season. I’ve never had all our teams perform this well together in one season.”
Saturday’s SAL final meet was the last chance to battle for the league title and qualify individuals for the SJS Division IV Trials. While Denair finished a respective first and second in the boys and girls divisions, Delhi High finished third and fourth and Turlock Christian High finished fourth and fifth. But even though the Hawks and Eagles failed to catch up to the Coyotes in league standings, they did achieve their goals of advancing their athletes into the post-season.
Denair qualified a total of 22 athletes across 28 events, but only three decided to compete in the Div. IV trials—Trey Howze, who finished first in the 110m Hurdles, 300m Hurdles, and high jump, Vandon Weaver, who finished first in the 800m, and Samantha Watts, who finished first in the 200m, 100m hurdles, and 300m hurdles.
“I put so much emphasis on sacrificing for the team during the regular season that by the time it gets to this point, it’s up to them as individuals,” Wagner said.
“They should do well. They really love the sport, so all three will do well,” he added about Howze, Weaver, and Watts.
Delhi qualified a total of 16 athletes across 12 events, 13 of which made the trip to Sierra High for the trials. Of the Hawks who decided to compete, Dylan Price and the team of Erik Serrato, Cosme Soto, Fernando Nuno, and Hector Jimenez enter with first place SAL finishes in the triple jump and 4x400m relay, respectively. Other qualifiers include David Hernandez, Cosme Soto, Hayden Steger, Garret Thomas, Rene Guerra, Luis Valdez, and Sarah Cruz.
“I was a little disappointed with the end to the season, I think we had a better team than a third place finish,” Delhi head coach Matt Cabral said. “But I’m really proud of the amount of athletes that stepped up this year.”
“I’d be real happy if we could break the top 20. I wouldn’t be surprised if we had a couple top 20 athletes,” he added.
TC qualified seven athletes across eight events, all which will compete at the trials. Malik Portillo and Mikayla Yagi enter with a pair of respective first place finishes in the 100m and long jump and will be joined by teammates Dante Barron, Erick Cervantez, Carlos Ordaz, Jose Almanza, and Jared Zuniga.
“Everyone improved though the year. Considering only one person had run track before this year, that’s pretty good,” TC head coach Chris Pugh said. “Basically, we want everybody to get personal bests.”
The Div. IV trials are being held at Sierra High in Manteca with the first day of competition completed on Tuesday and the final day taking place Thursday.