Turlock Christian High found success on the track in its inaugural year in the Central California Athletic Association with its girls’ team winning the league championship and its boys’ team finishing second overall.
The Eagles ran a neck-and-neck race with Big Valley Christian in both divisions through the season as their young teams battled for the top spot in the CCAA. It was no surprise that the two teams split the race as Big Valley Christian’s boys placed first overall and its girls placed second overall.
“Both squads were fairly young,” Coach Jake Von Sherrer said. “The boys’ team had one junior, two sophomores and then like 14 freshman. And then the girls, I think we had one senior, a couple of juniors and then nine to ten sophomores and freshman. So very young teams, but there was good individual talent and potential.”
While their numbers were relatively low compared to the roster of Big Valley Christian, the Lady Eagles compensated with the individual talent of a handful of athletes. Mikayla Yagi and Cassie Balswick both earned individual championships in the 100m and 400m, respectively. Yagi and Balswick were also part of the 4x100m relay team, alongside Camryn Lanigan and Abi Bawcum that placed first at the CCAA Finals and Balswick was also part of the first place 4x400m relay team alongside Nicole Mendonca and Doris Zhao.
“They’re obviously very gifted athletically,” Von Sherrer said of the duo.
Yagi also placed second in the long jump while Balswick placed third in the high jump. Zhao spread her talents to other events, placing second in both the 1600m and the 3200m. Lanigan earned a second place finish in the 300m hurdles, Bawcum placed second in the shot put, Breanna Huber placed second in the discus and third in the shot put and Bella Oh finished second in the 800m.
“The girls fell into their natural events very quickly,” Von Sherrer said. “As the season wore on and we started to look towards the conference meet, we felt our girls had a real good shot at winning.”
TC also swept the relay events in the boys division with the team of Nathan Son, Desmond Barron, Drake Maliepaard and Mannuel Presiado placing first in the 4x100m relay and the team of Maxwell Tyson, Judah Gregg, Michael Yonen and Jackson Wang placing first in the 4x400m relay. Still, the effort wasn’t enough to beat Big Valley Christian.
“We knew it would be close, but a tough task to beat Big Valley,” Von Sherrer said.