Turlock High track and field coach Bergann Hernandez said both the Pitman and Turlock high teams started this season with the same goal — a Section title. And they both succeeded.
The Turlock High girls and the Pitman High boys both raised blue banners, the first in each of the school’s histories, at last week’s CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division II finals at Bella Vista High School in Fair Oaks.
On the girls side, Turlock took home first place after 13 of their athletes (Olivia Walker, Ella Spaulding, Cali Brem, Shaylan Roy-Williams, Alexa Sandoval, Zoe Lamur, Ava Torres, Deja Cox, Brooke Schumacher, Ally Petersen, Bonnie Hayes, Leah Ladd and Chloe Wong) combined for a team score of 96. The next closest team, Woodcreek High, finished 45 points behind.
Walker scored 20 individual points and was the Section champion in high jump (5' 2) and the 400-meter dash, where she set a new school record of 56.86 seconds.
She also contributed to school records alongside Spaulding, Lamur and Torres in the 4x100 and 4x 400 relays with time of 3:59.46 and 3:58.50 respectively.
Spaulding was the second highest individual scorer with 22 points, as she captured an individual title in the 300 hurdles (45.03), while taking third place in the 100 hurdles and discus.
Another large chunk of points came from the pole vaulters, particularly from Brooke Schumacher, who won a Section title with a personal record of 11’.
“Our girls team this season has been focused on this goal,” Hernandez said. “This is a young team with great potential. These girls were league champions and Section runner up last year. This year they have pretty much crushed all their competition.”
Though it seemed like a cakewalk for the Bulldogs, there was still a fair share of adversity with high scorers Evelyn Ladine suffering a stress fracture on Wednesday and Shay Roy-Williams dealing with food poisoning on Friday.
“Those girls helped get us here and the rest of the girls just came together with confidence and the team came through with the historic win,” Hernandez said. “Track is a team sport and these girls proved that. These girls were not going to be deterred from their goal. I am so proud of them and truly in awe of all they have done. This group of athletes has not only been dominant in so many competitions, but they are rewriting our record books.”
Also rewriting the history books were the Pitman boys, who also won their first ever team title with a score of 62, just barely edging out the Bulldogs who posted a 60.
Leading the way for Pitman was Joey Stout, who won first place and broke school records in both the 400-meter dash (47.99) and the 200-meter dash (21.59). He also grabbed first place in long jump (21' 1) while also running alongside Sean Forte, Aric Singh and Blayne Siebert to earn third place in the 4x100 relay.
Siebert also broke into the record books as he achieved a school best time of 10.83 in the 100-meter dash. And it came on his second try. After the initial running of the 100-meter finals, it was determined that the camera didn't start, though Section officials didn't call a false start. All runners athletes and coaches were frustrated, but the only solution they accepted was to run it again. Siebert took first place in both final races anyway.
“Blayne was first in both races, proving that he was determined to show who the fastest athlete on the track was. It didn’t matter the time, or the day, or how many times they ran it,” said Pitman head coach Tim McCabe.
He also secured third place in the 200-meter dash and competed alongside Stout, Justin Anderson and Brahm Singh in the long jump. Anderson and Singh also competed in the high jump. Other athletes competing was Diego Cisneros in the 1600, Lucas Arrizon in shot put and John Sylvester in pole vault.
For the Bulldogs, Phoenix Nunez-Bradshaw and Maxwell McFarlane were first place finishers. Nunez Bradshaw took the top spot in both shot put and discus, tossing personal best distances of 51' 1 and 173' 7 respectively. Meanwhile, McFarlane earned a 16' 5 in the pole vault – another personal record.
Chaos and confusion once again took place at the end of the week on Friday, when final tallies were added incorrectly and mistakenly awarded Turlock as the boys team champion instead of Pitman.
“We didn't even know we won the Division II champion until Coach Bergann called and let me know she picked up our championship banner while we were on our bus ride home,” McCabe said. “I was really excited to hear that from [Coach Bergann], but then also really sad that the team didn't get the opportunity they earned that day to stand on top of that podium. But who knew they messed up the scoring? I sure did not. I am really proud of all the effort this season, on both the girl’s and guy’s side. The city of Turlock has no shortage of amazing athletes and we proved that.”