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Pitmans girls claim county meet title for sixth time
county track pic1
Pitmans Allysa Gonzalez launches herself into the sand pit during her long jump event at Fridays Stanislaus County Meet. - photo by FRANKIE TOVAR / The Journal

Pitman High had a successful outing at the Stanislaus County Meet on Friday as its girls finished in first place with 154 team points and its boys finished second with 80 team points. Turlock High wasn’t too far behind its cross-town rival as both its girls and boys finished in third place with 78 and 70 respective team points.

The victory by Pitman’s girls marked the sixth time in the past seven years that the Lady Pride claimed the top spot at the meet. Kiana Clay was a driving force in the first place finish with wins in all four of her events which included both relays, the 400m, and the 200m. Joining Clay on the relay teams were Terri Gallon, Kelsee Derr, and Elisiah Frank.

“We haven’t ran very many races with her this year so this meet was her opportunity to get on the track and say, ‘Hey, I’m in high school and I’m ready to run’,” Pitman coach Thad Moren said.

Derr also finished first in the 100m and 300m hurdles while Gallon finished third in the high jump and Frank finished fourth in the 800m. Lauren Cariaso’s performance on Friday included a second place finish in the long jump and two third place finishes in the 100m and triple jump. Other notable Pride performances included Lindsey Phillips’ first place finish in the pole vault, Rashel Pritchard’s second place finish in the discus, Alexa Benavides’ second place finish in the high jump, Allysa Gonzalez’ third place finish in the long jump, and Claire Littlefield’s fourth place finish in the triple jump.

“We were looking forward to this meet,” Moren said. “Last year Oakdale beat us by just a little bit, so we really wanted to test ourselves against them and get that championship back.”

As for Turlock, Mallory Patino and Cierra Booze finished first in the 300m hurdles and long jump, respectively, with Patino setting a personal record and Booze jumping just under 17 feet. Patino also finished third in the 100m hurdles and Booze finished fifth in the triple jump. Jocelyn Montes finished second in both the 200m and 400m while Makenzie Salyer finished third in the 3200m.

“I was really pleased,” Turlock coach Mike Brown said. “This was the first real meet we’ve had all year and it was good to see them perform.”

On the boys side, Pitman again performed well in the relays, taking first in 4x400m relay with the team of Aaron Mayfield, Marcus Vasquez, Jordan Porter, and Ryan Vargas. Mayfield continued his success on the track with a second place finish in the 800m while Porter also earned a second place finish in the 400m. Vargas finished fourth in the 400m as teammates Aaron Lusher took third in the shot put, Bryan Rosales took third in the discus, and Titus Judish took fourth in the high jump. The Pride also had a pair of first place individual performances with Isaac Gonzalez in the 1600m and Chance Hagar in the pole vault.

“We missed a couple opportunities to get some points in the field events, but taking second for the second year in a row is definitely where we want to be to build on the year,” Moren said.

Turlock’s Justin Serpa emerged from Friday’s meet as the most accomplished Bulldog with his first place finish in the long jump, third place finish in the triple jump, and fifth place finish in the high jump. Logan Conner also had a good day with a first place finish in the 300m hurdles and a third place finish in the 110m hurdles while Anthony Heiber finished fourth in the 1600m and Jack Nicolai placed second in the 200m.

“I know he’s gotten a lot stronger but I didn’t expect it,” Brown said of Serpa’s performance. “It was really impressive.”

Denair High was also at the meet and its girls finished 15th and its boys finished 13th in the team standings. Trey Howze had the best performance of all the Coyotes present with a second place finish in the 300m hurdles.

The top eight performers in each event will now go on to compete in the first ever County Clash Meet on March 22 at Turlock High which will showcase the best athletes Merced and Stanislaus counties have to offer.

“It’ll be fun and there will be good competition,” Brown said.

“It’s a chance for people in the area to go to a meet and know that the top kids in the area are going to be there,” Moren said.