It was a typical spring day for Turlock High juniors Max McFarlane and Shaylan Roy-Williams, two Sac-Joaquin Section Masters champions who were preparing for this weekend’s CIF Track and Field Championships in Clovis, where they’ll lead a contingent of THS and Pitman athletes.
McFarlane, a 6-foot-4, 180-pound junior, sat shirtless in the north end zone at Joe Debely Stadium Tuesday, wearing black athletic shorts and track spikes, his broad shoulders tinged with pink from the glaring sun as he readied to take another run at clearing 17 feet.
But before taking another practice vault, McFarlane rummaged through his backpack.
“I think I lost my Masters medal,” said McFarlane, who won the championship with a jump of 15 feet, 0 inches, nearly a foot and a half less than his personal best (16-5). “It’s probably in my car.”
McFarlane’s laissez faire attitude toward the location of his medal is somewhat understandable: winning Masters was never his goal.
“My goal from the beginning of the year was to win state,” said McFarlane, who also placed 16th in the triple jump (42-3). “So, I knew Masters was just a step I had to take to get there.”
Some 20 meters away, Roy-Williams was going through some non-impact long-jump drills and occasionally taking a what-the-heck crack at the high-jump bar.
Unlike McFarlane, whose pole vault victory was a bit of a foregone conclusion, Roy-Williams was a dark horse in the long jump and twice found herself on the razor’s edge. She was down to her third and final jump to qualify for finals, which she did with a leap of 17-3 3/4. After her first two jumps in the finals, she found herself in fourth place.
Only the top three move on to the state meet.
Roy-Williams promptly uncorked a leap of 18-7, tying her career best and soaring past the rest of the field.
“It was stressful,” Roy-Williams said moments after her victory on Saturday. “I don’t even know how to explain it. I was just keeping my focus. ‘OK, it’s now or never.’”
After landing in the sand, she wasn’t confident she’d done enough.
“The third-place jump (at the time) was 17-9 and when I landed, I was like, ‘Please just give me 17-10,’ because it didn’t feel very far. Then I heard someone say 18-7 and I was like, ‘What?’”
McFarlane and Roy-Williams are two of eight Turlock and Pitman athletes headed to the state meet at Buchanan High School.
Pitman’s Joey Stout qualified for state in two events, taking second in the 200- and 400-meter dashes.
Stout was clocked in 48.27 seconds in the 400, finishing behind Vanden’s Brayden Chavez (47.80). In the 200, his time of 21.84 was just .09 behind Ian Dossman of Franklin (Elk Grove).
“There’s definitely going to be competition at state,” said Stout, who owns a PR of 47.99 in the 400 and 21.50 in the 200. “I’ll be on the floor after my races because I know I’ll have nothing left. I can say that right now. But I’m just hoping to PR and get better.”
Turlock’s Olivia Walker qualified in the high jump, 400 and 4x400 relay.
“What more can you ask for?” Walker said. “I thought my day couldn’t have gone any better and I’m really proud of my teammates. We really persevered this season and I’m really glad we get to do it for one more week.”
Walker was second in the high jump (5-3) and third in the 400 (57.375), just .003 behind second-place finisher Diyanna Hackley of St. Mary’s (Stockton). Ihe Okoh of Franklin (Elk Grove) took first in 56.43.
Walker teamed with Ava Torres, Zoe Lamur and Ella Spaulding to take second in the 1,600-meter relay, finishing in 3:53.21, 1.21 seconds behind the Christian Brothers quartet.
Torres, Lamur and Walker built a 15-meter lead before Spaulding got the baton, but the senior could not hold off the CB anchor.
Even though Spaulding would be moving on to state in the relay, she was disappointed she couldn’t hold onto the lead. She also was a non-qualifier in her two individual events — 300 hurdles (fourth, 44.86) and discus (20th, 100-10).
“The 300, I thought I was going to do better than I did,” said Spaulding, who signed a letter of intent to attend Fresno State next year. “I felt good in the warm-ups; I felt strong. Then I got in the blocks and I thought, “This is it; this is your moment.’ Then right around the third hurdle I thought, ‘Oh, my God, this hurts.’ And it usually doesn’t.
“In the discus, I knew I wasn’t going to qualify. My goal was to throw over 100 feet and I threw 100, so I was happy.”
Turlock’s Phoenix Bradshaw-Nuñez, who won Sac-Joaquin Section Division II titles in the shot put and discus the week before, took second in the discus with a throw of 159-1, behind Jesuit’s Benjamin Condrin (164-01), but did not advance in the shot put, finishing 24th overall.
The 6-4, 250-pound senior’s left eye was swollen shut, the result of an accident suffered during a song-lyrics game at a school rally. The limited vision affected his ability to spin and move in the ring.
“It definitely affected my discus throws,” said Bradshaw-Nuñez, who surmised that he would’ve won had he been healthy. “I didn’t even know how I was going to do after I got hurt, so I’m glad I’m here and going to state.”
Junior teammate Lester Stavrianoudakis finished 12th in the discus (139-10).
Pitman High’s Blayne Siebert, a junior who qualified for the 100-meter finals with a dash of 10.72, ran a 10.82 in the final, finishing sixth.
“I think it was just nerves, knowing my season could be over,” said a disappointed Siebert. “I had 10.6 in my head since yesterday. I was looking to get to state, but I’m satisfied with my season. It didn’t end the way I wanted it to, but I’ll be back next year.”
In the boys 3,200 meters, Turlock senior Gavin Van Oostende finished 14th, but broke a 41-year-old school record in the process.
Van Oostende was clocked in 9:35.56, nearly three seconds better than Juan Orozco’s 1982 mark of 9:38.4.
“It means a lot,” said Van Oostende, who will run at Stanislaus State next season. “Last year, I didn’t even break 12, and this year I’m down to about 9:35-ish. I think it’s my coaches pushing me more and a group of friends who are all doing the 3,200. They’ve been really supportive throughout my whole year.”
Teammate Theodore Santos finished 21st (10:00.67) in the 3,200.
In the boys 800, Hughson’s Joseph Lighthall repeated as Masters champ with his clocking of 1:53.41, nearly two seconds faster than the runner-up. Lighthall, who at 6-3 and 180 pounds looks more like a tight end than a middle-distance runner, had a 5-meter lead within about three strides off the line and built up a 15-meter lead after 400 meters.
His message to the rest of the field: Catch me if you can.
“Last year my goal was to make it to the state finals,” said Lighthall. “This year, I hope to win. My PR is 1:51.95. If I get in there with some competition, I hope to go sub 1:50.”
Pitman’s Maci Day finished 17th in the girls 1,600 with a 5:26.0 clocking.
In the boys 1,600, Turlock junior Daniel Zaragoza finished 17th (4:41.59).
Hilmar’s Caden Bailey took 19th with an effort of 41-9 1/2 in the boys triple jump.
In the girls pole vault, Turlock sophomore Brooke Schumacher was ninth (10-6), while teammate Bonnie Hayes, a junior, was 12th (9-6) and senior Allyson Petersen was 17th (9-6).
Hilmar senior McKayla Aiken was ninth (111-10) in the girls discus, while Turlock’s Deja Cox was 25th (84-04).
Turlock junior Chloe Wong was 23rd in the triple jump (31-6).
In the girls 3,200, Hilmar freshman Sidney Logsdon was 23rd (12:06.65). The Yellowjackets’ Derek Taylor was sixth (6-3) in the boys high jump.