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Pride comes out atop in third Center Meet
Bulldogs finish second
Pitman girls track 3
Lindsey Phillips of Pitman clears 10 feet 6 inches during one of her final attempts in the pole vault. - photo by EDDIE RUIZ/The Journal

Pitman and Turlock High competed in the Central California Conference Center Meet in Atwater High for the third time this season, and for the third time in a row, the Pitman varsity girls won, while the boys boasted their second win in three meets on Wednesday afternoon.

“It was tight going into the last two races for the boys,” said Pitman head coach Thad Moren. “We had a two-point advantage heading into the last two races but we finished well in the two-mile to set us up well in the final, the 4x4 race.”

John Puffer of Pitman helped the boys’ team take a six point lead heading into the final race after placing fourth with a time of 10:32.09. Pitman would win the pole vault for boys and girls.

The Turlock boys came out as the winners in the 4x4 relay race, but the Pride trailed by less than three seconds and still managed to come out atop in the final standings with a score of 121.33. Turlock was second (117) and Merced (98.33) third.

“We ended up losing by four points and it wasn't enough because Pitman scored more and we just came up short,” said Turlock boys head coach Jeff Khomari. “We had some injuries that hurt us and it was really close because the first Center Meet was close, but this was the same as the first, came up short.”

On the girls’ side, Pitman dominated.

The lady Pride handled their league opponents well, winning by 74 points after tallying 184. Turlock placed second with 110 but the Pride, who recently had four student-athletes sign collegiate athletic scholarships, were the superior team, stacked with veteran leadership and talent.

“The last Center Meet we had girls that were going to run but this time we ran everyone to full capabilities and we had some good results,” said Moren.

Kiana Clay broke the school record and also ran a personal best in the 200 meter race after finishing with a time of 25.05.

Both the relay teams, the 4x4 and 4x1 won and the Pride also went first and second in all jump events for the girls.

Jamie Stroup and Sydney Holmes split the first place result in the high jump after each clearing 4 feet and 10 inches.

Lauren Cariaso placed first in the long jump, winning with a clearance of 16-07. Holmes was second with a jump of 16-02.

Lindsey Phillips placed first for the girls in the pole vault after clearing 10 feet and six inches — two feet ahead of the second place finisher.

Freshman Whitney Barnes dominated the shot put with a 38-11 throw, and at the same time qualified for sections with her distance.

“Whitney was in the process of learning shot put and came around and got good marks learning the technique,” Moren said. “I am looking forward to her moving on to divisionals and masters and see if she can make state for another sport. That would be awesome.”

Although the Pride dominated, the young Bulldogs displayed some great talent with their large number of freshman and sophomore competitors at the varsity level.

Freshman Hannah Tinley of Turlock placed third in the girls’ varsity pole vault with a clearance of eight feet.

Julia Handy who is also a freshman, anchored both relay teams that finished just behind Pitman and placed second in the 400 meter race with a time of 1:00.70.

“Most of the girls are pretty young, freshman or sophomores so incoming they did not know the work ethic but now they have and it has paid off with their times,” said Turlock girls head coach JoAnn Davison.

Turlock's boys had some sparks as well with Justin Serpa, Jose Soto and Bryan Montes anchoring the crew.

Montes placed second in the 110 and 300 hurdles. Soto placed second in 800 meter race and Serpa took first in the triple and long jump and placed second in the high jump.

In the shot put, Pitman's David Fox finished second with a 44-05 and Turlock's Robert Martinez and Alex McKeon placed third and fourth, respectively.

Sophomore Isaiah Marable of Pitman held strong in the 400 meter race and placed first in the race and second all-time in school history with a time of 50.83.

“Coming around the back stretch I was really tired and saw everyone in front but the last 100 meters I sprinted the fastest I could and just passed them,” said Marable. “Right before the race I get nervous and shake a little bit.”

Jacob Sylvester placed first in the boys’ pole vault with a height of 12 feet six inches and Turlock's Anthony Hollcraft finished third with 10 feet.

“For us individually we did have guys not do as well on the boys’ side but our relay were the top finishes and those were the turning points,” Moren added.