For the most part, Mallory Patino was alone on the track at Debely Stadium on Tuesday after school was let out. The Turlock High sophomore was running sprints in preparation for this week’s Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Meet at Sacramento City College’s Hughes Stadium.
Despite being the only Turlock athlete practicing on the track, she never let up.
“She’s super competitive,” said coach JoAnn Davison, who was filling in for Patino’s usual coach, Dee Gilmore, for this particular practice.
It’s always been this way for Patino, whose competitive nature will make a second straight appearance at the Masters on Thursday and Friday. This time, she’ll run in two hurdles events, though the 300-meter hurdles is considered her best event. Her time of 46.85 seconds is seeded 10th in the Section, meaning she’s a long shot from earning one of the top three state qualifying marks.
But that doesn’t mean she won’t be competitive. She’s taking this opportunity to drop her time once again, as she’s hoping for the third week in a row to break her personal best. Eventually, she wants to be a Section contender.
“When I was younger, I was always the faster girl in class, but I never thought it’d get me anywhere,” said Patino, who is also the Section’s 18th seed in the 100-meter hurdles behind 11th-seeded Kelsee Derr of Pitman High. “But I know now that hard work does pay off and I think I’m getting rewarded for my hard work now.”
Just like Patino, Turlock junior Nicole Cipponeri is making her second consecutive Section appearance in the pole vault. She qualified with a mark of 9 feet, 11 inches. The Bulldogs’ third and final qualifier is freshman Cierra Booz, who will compete in the long jump.
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