Track and Field fans who packed the home stands at El Dorado High School Thursday witnessed performances by Sierra Valley Conference athletes who turned in quality performances. As the sun set on the Sierra Sapphire track, the host Cougars were at the top of the heap for both varsity boys and girls teams in the final conference standings.
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“The overall team effort these kids put together today was nothing short of remarkable,” El Dorado coach Peanut Harms said.
At stake was qualifying to the Sac-Joaquin Section’s Divisional tournament at Sierra High. The top three finishers advanced as did any athletes eclipsing the at-large section qualifying marks.
The girls varsity division was intensely competitive with the score virtually tied with two events to go, the 3,200m and the 4×4 relay. As advertised, the Vista del Lago distance wrecking crew, led by Madeleine Annkhelyi, dominated both to grab the meet victory.
The Lady Cougars wouldn’t be denied. With points from the 3,200 before shocking the league-leading Cosumnes Oaks’ 4×4 eam to finish second, El Dorado won the overall championship by a combination of Thursday’s standing and head-to-head dual meet matchups. Union Mine’s girls took fourth.
“Last year we won the league meet but lost to both Vista and Cosumnes Oaks in head-to-head competition,” Harms said. “It is great to bring the banner back to El Dorado.”
Arianna Pizzuti placed in four events (2nd both relays, open 400/3rd 200m); Makayla Hoyt in three (2nd 100mh/4th 300mh/2nd 4×4 relay team); Sabrina Tate in three (2nd high jump/2nd long jump/3rd 400m); and Carley Fowler took fourth in the shot put. Whitney Standal won the high jump (5-4) for second in school history and was third in the long jump and 100m. Courtney Macklin’s late kick won her the 800m and she also was third in the high jumpand part of the 4×4 relay team.
“Even though I trained for the sprints and jumps all year, Coach “P” told me I could win the 800 based on raw talent and as usual, he was right,” Macklin said.
On the boys side, the much-anticipated showdown between El Dorado, Vista and Cosumnes Oaks didn’t materialize with the Cougar boys amassing 193 points, beating the Wolfpack by 78 and the Eagles by 109. The D’back boys finished fifth.
“I had us winning by 30 but when our throwers throughly dominated their part of the equation; placing six of the top eight in the shot, scoring four of the top six places in the discus, and Gabe Hurwitt and Gabe Ferges going 2-3 in the long jump — I knew we were in for a special day,” Harms said.
If the throwers and jumpers started it, the pole vaulters, hurdlers and distance crew put on the finishing touches with outstanding top 5 all-time El Dorado performances led by Cambron Lyles school record in the 300 meter (39.78), second place finishes in the vault and 110mh, and running a leg of the second place 4×4 relay squad.
Matt Johnson had an equally incredible day winning the vault (14-3), toppling the school record in the 300mh (39.95), taking third in the high jump, and running a 49.83 leg of the 4×4.
“It was a challenge … all of our guys were doing well today. It was a big team effort today and lots of fun,” said Johnson who’s trying to get close to the school record vault of 15-9, a record his dad set in 1992. “I’m trying to get there (record). Anything’s possible.”
Sean Gregg won the high jump (6-4, No. 5 all-time), ran a personal best (4:28) to win the 1,600, and took second in the 3,200m. The performances led El Dorado boys to their third straight league title as they’ve now gone undefeated for the third year.
Union Mine had three champions. Thursday, Lindsey Williams heaved the shot put 33-3 to edge teammates Samantha Prichard (32-10) and Sarah Vasquez (31-3.5). All three advance.
On Tuesday at the conference’s trials, Vasquez set a school record in winning the discus with a toss of 109-2. Prichard was third (92-1)
“I was shocked when they called my name for the finals and speechless that I’d won,” Vasquez said. ‘Some days were good and some weren’t this season but I’m thankful for this.”
The other D’back champion was pole vaulter Leah Bertuccelli who PR’d by a foot. Her 9-0 clear tied a school record.
“The weather was very good and made it easier with the jumps,” Bertuccelli said.
Union Mine’s Purdum Smith was fourth in the boys 400m race but his time (51.42) was good enough for an at-large berth.