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Turlock, Pitman athletes finish top-20 at State
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Pitman’s 4x100m relay team completes the final handoff at the CIF State Track & Field Championships (Photo by Thad Moren).

Five local athletes — Silas Freeden, Michael Moore, Quincey Williams, Colby Vierra and Denzel Steckwren — made the trip to Buchanan High School in Clovis over the weekend to compete in the 101st CIF State Track & Field Championships with hopes of ending their athletic seasons on a high note.

Although the five failed to compete beyond the preliminaries, they did manage to finish in the top 20 of their respective events with Turlock High’s Freeden finishing in 18th place in the pole vault and the Pitman High 4x100m relay team of Moore, Williams, Vierra and Steckwren finishing in 14th place.

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The Pride’s 4x100m relay team — made up of Quincey Williams, Michael Moore, Colby Vierra and Denzel Streckwren — broke a school record on Friday with a time of 42.13 (Photo by Thad Moren).

“His preparation for it was on target. We knew what he was going to do, he had his plan, and we were set and ready to go,” Turlock head coach Bergann Hernandez said of Freeden. “He was more than capable of making it to the finals, we just finished earlier than we expected.”

“I think our finish was really awesome. Obviously you want to make it to the second day, but it’s tough to make it to the second day,” Pitman coach Thad Moren said. “Not many kids from Turlock ever have.”

As the first relay team in school history to advance to the State Championships, the Pride runners finished with a time of 42.13 — enough to break the school record of 42.38 that was set late last season with a team that also included Moore and Williams.

“That had been their goal all year,” Moren said.

While Pitman found solace in the setting of a school record, the State Championships proved to be a bit harder for Turlock’s Freeden. After jumping 15 feet, 6 inches at the Sac Joaquin Section Masters Meet a week prior, Freeden finished Friday with a jump of 14 feet, 9 inches.

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Turlock High’s Silas Freeden soars through the air on one of his pole vault attempts during Friday’s portion of the CIF State Track & Field Championships (Photo by Scott Durham).

“It was hard in a number of ways in that we had high hopes, and he jumped those bars easily before, but that’s just the nature of pole vault. Sometimes it just doesn’t go your way,” Hernandez said. “It was also hard because it was his last competition of his high school career. We had been together for four years working towards this goal.”

Freeden, who also qualified for last year’s State Championships where he finished in the finals, entered this year’s competition neck-and-neck with Samuel Wright of Lodi High after the two tied for first at Masters. Wright finished with a gold jump of 16 feet, 5 inches.

“His jumps were beautiful. They were just gorgeous jumps. He had major height, he was just coming down short on the standards,” Hernandez said.

Now, with the track and field season officially over, Moore stands as the only athlete slated to return for high school competition next year.

“We’re looking for him to really step up in the 100 and 200 next year and really show what he can do in the individual events,” Moren said.

As for the others who will soon be graduating, their accomplishments in 2019 will live on forever in the record books and the minds of their coaches.

“Turlock High hasn’t taken many athletes to the State meet in past years at all, so for an athlete to go back to back, as far as I know, it’s never happened at Turlock High,” Hernandez said. “We competed with the best of the best and he had a phenomenal season.”

“Obviously top 9 would have been awesome, but 14th was a great accomplishment,” Moren said. “Only four teams from our county have gone to the State meet in the 4x100 in the past two decades.”