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Cougars Rise Above Weather To Compete In Track, Field
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Driving rain, heavy winds ... and medals.

Escalon's track and field team, or at least a portion of it, headed to the Pacific Grove Invitational on Saturday amidst a weather forecast that sounded pretty decent.

But, as has been the case for the past few weeks, the runners, jumpers and throwers were battling the weather as much as their competition.

"We got about half the meet in, they had to shut some events down," explained coach Roger Beeman. "We drove about two and a half hours to get there and they had to compete early in a driving rainstorm."

The athletes took it in stride, Beeman said, noting that "if football can play in the rain," so could they.

"It really doesn't faze them," he said.

There were several medals earned by team members in the rain-hampered meet as well.

Paul Quiroz took first place in the varsity discus at 92-7 and fifth in the shot put at 37-3. Lalo Cortes was first in the frosh-soph shot put with a throw of 39-2 ½.

In the 800, Sierra Lionudakis took second with a time of 2:32, with Corrisa Bolls taking two medals, second in the triple jump at 29-6 and third in high jump at 4-4.

Ruth Niu was third in the long jump at 13-3, sixth in the high jump at 4-0 and LilLana Cajias was fifth in the high jump, also clearing 4-0 but in fewer attempts than Niu to just edge past her teammate in the standings.

Cajias recently joined the team and Beeman said her enthusiasm and willingness to try a number of events has already endeared her to the squad.

"She's been a nice addition for us," he said.

Other solid efforts on Saturday included Kendra Huntley, fifth in varsity shot put, 26-3; Jenna Price fourth in varsity high jump, 4-4; Johnny Meza, fifth in the varsity discus, 72-5; Ethan Turner, fifth in the varsity high hurdles, 18.9 and David Esparza, fourth in the frosh-soph triple jump at 31-5.

"We didn't get to pole vault, the long jump and triple jump went for a while, then they stopped, then a couple hours later they went again," Beeman said of the meet interrupted by the stormy conditions.

"But it really ended up being a very nice day," he said. "By the end of the day, we had about a half hour of sunshine, got to go to the beach and walk on the wharf, we came home warm, dry and happy."

With the dumping of rain on the region in the past week, Escalon's track is in no shape for hosting a scheduled meet today, March 30, with Ripon and Beeman said that will be rescheduled.

Officials are looking for some sustained dry, sunny weather in hopes of getting the spring athletic season back on track soon.