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Cougar Athletes Send Six Into Track And Field Section Competition
Escalon's girls were fourth, the boys were sixth at the Trans-Valley League track and field finals, hosted by Orestimba at Patterson on Wednesday, May 11. The season, hampered by rain that fell early and often, originally was slated to have the final meet be the only scoring meet but the dual meets were actually figured in as well. When the dust cleared and scores were tabulated and combined with the dual meet standings, Hughson came out on top for both the boys and girls, the Huskies crowned TVL champions.

"They were the overall winners of the league, with a combination of dual meets and placing at the championship," said Escalon head coach Roger Beeman. "Hughson hadn't won in quite some time."

Hughson's boys were followed by Riverbank in second, Orestimba, Modesto Christian, Ripon, Escalon and Hilmar. The girls race saw Hughson first followed by Hilmar, Riverbank, Escalon, Ripon, Modesto Christian and Orestimba.

Escalon's boys had their best success on the field, said Beeman, specifically the throwers.

"Steven Hazen was first in the discus (124-7), Paul Quiroz was second (122-4) and Nate Caton fifth (112-4)," Beeman said. "In the shot put, we went two through five, with Tyler Yost second (39-9), Lalo Cortes third (39-7 ½), followed by Quiroz (39-1) and Caton (38-7)."

With the formula used this season, athletes had to make qualifying marks during the regular season to advance to the TVL championship meet.

"Forty-six out of our 78 kids advanced," Beeman explained. "The top six (at TVL meet) scored points and the top three advance to the Section."

Escalon will have six athletes advancing to the Section meet and also saw two individual league champions crowned, Hazen in the discus at 124-7 and Jenna Price in the pole vault, clearing 10-0.

"Our girls had 58 total points and Jenna scored 30 points all by herself," noted Beeman.

Along with her league title in pole vault, Price was second in high jump at 4-8, second in long jump at 15-6 ¼, fourth in the 100 meters at 13.18.

Junior Corrisa Bolls was fourth in the 200 at 28.8 and fourth in the high jump at 4-8, as well as taking fifth in both the long jump, 14-11 and triple jump, 31-3, to add numerous points for the girls. The fourth place finisher in each event is an alternate to the Section meet.

Kendra Huntley took second in the discus at 99-9, Sierra Lionudakis was sixth in the 1600 with a new personal best of 5:51.9 and also ran the 800, finishing ninth in 2:47. The Lady Cougars as a team were fourth in the four-by-400 and fifth in the four-by-100, while Katie Cavanaugh took sixth in the shot put at 28-2.

At the boys high jump, Brandon Medina, Robbie Leal and Ethan Turner each scored points for their team, tying for sixth at 5-2. Josh Redding was sixth in the pole vault at 10-6.

"The tragedy of the event for us was Chaz Welborn," Beeman said of the standout junior pole vaulter, who was leading the league going in.

"He took fourth in the long jump for us, at over 18 feet, but he has had a hip injury and it flared up ... he couldn't get off the ground in the pole vault."

Consequently, the junior won't even get the chance to perform at the Section meet and highlights what Beeman suggested should be a change in the way athletes advance.

"One bad day shouldn't knock you out," he said, noting that Welborn consistently was the first place finisher in dual meets and hoped to set a new school record as he jumped into the postseason.

On a brighter note, Ethan Turner came away with season bests in the 110 hurdles, 17.7 and 300 hurdles, 44.7, taking fifth in each event and he also ran well with the four-by-400 relay team that took sixth.

Kyle Hamilton went 35-3 in the triple jump to take ninth, setting a new personal best.

"So that leaves us with six field athletes advancing," Beeman said.

That competition started Tuesday, May 17 and continues Thursday, May 19 at Modesto Junior College.

Girls advancing are Price, pole vault and Huntley, discus; with boys advancing including Hazen, discus; Quiroz, discus and shot put; Yost, shot put; Cortes, shot put.

"Our boys scored 40 points in those two events (shot and discus) so our throwers and Jenna really were the show," Beeman said of the standout performances.