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Busy Schedule Seen By Cougar Track And Field Athletes
Discus E
Taking part in the discus event earlier this season, Cougar Joshua McDonald eyes the field ahead as he prepares to go into his motion. Marg Jackson/The Times

The Escalon High School Track and Field team took 14 athletes to the Distance Carnival in Fair Oaks on Friday, March 24. This meet only runs three events: 800m (1/2 mile), 1600m (mile), and 3200m (two mile); and brought in over 700 athletes from across the state and even Nevada.

“They walked away with every athlete hitting a seasonal best time, twelve of which set personal records, four top three finishes in individual heats, and one overall race winner,” Michael Bower, assistant coach/distance coach for the Cougars, said of the Escalon contingent.

Yajaira Salinas was the overall winner for the women’s 800m clocking in with a personal record of 2:18, a mark that ranks her seventh overall in the San Joaquin Section this year.

Freshman Juan Lopez also had an impressive day, running a personal record of 5:02 in the mile and following it up with a 10:51 in his first two mile of the season. A mark that was good enough for second in his heat.

“Emiliano Ramirez had a huge sprint at the end of his 800m race to capture third in a personal record time of 2:22,” Bower added. “And Kaylee Freeseha took the lead early and never gave it up, finishing first in her 1600m run with a personal record time of 6:15.”

Other notable races were Rex Robbins running 2:13 in the 800m, Nora Nash running 12:44 in the 3200m, Andres Cornejo running 5:23 in the 1600m and 2:23 in the 800m; all of which were personal records.

Miguel Plascencia improved by six seconds to set a personal record of 2:29 in the 800m, and David Plascencia shaved seven seconds off his mile for a time of 5:35. Also having a great day was Alex Calderon, who ran a 6:29 in the 1600m to break the 6:30 barrier and later ran a 2:49 in the 800m, a personal record by over 13 seconds.

“We have a fun mix of athletes. Some are just getting started and so they are still getting their feet wet in terms of figuring out how to race their events. But we also have several seasoned athletes who have persevered through challenges and have not seen personal records in some time,” noted Bower. “To see so many hit their fastest times, and on the same day, is really exciting and a momentum building opportunity for the team.”

The trip to Fair Oaks was well worth taking, added the assistant coach.

“Overall, it was a really good day for us. This meet is a lot of fun because there are so many athletes which means each heat has some great competition,” Bower explained. “I have really enjoyed working with this team; they are very receptive to coaching and improving. When we set small goals to work on in races whether it is certain lap splits, improvements in form, or strategies for racing, they go out and do their best to implement them, and as a result, they have shown incredible growth in their abilities. I am incredibly proud of the work they have each done so far this season. We are just now beginning our dual meets and still have two months of season left. I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish by the season’s end.”

Prior to the Distance Carnival event, all team members got to take part in an event sizing up the Trans-Valley League competition.

“The Escalon Cougar track and field team competed Tuesday at Ripon in the annual TVL Relays,” head coach Carrie Nash said. “All events were in relay format. Both varsity girls and boys teams finished in third place.”

Some highlights included: a first place in the varsity boys long jump relay led by Christian Brunetti jumping 20’1”, good enough to earn him the first place individual title, Chase Granis 19’3” (fourth place) and Alex Jimenez 17’1” (11th place); the Cougar boys dominated the 4-by-400 relay winning with a first place time of 3:41.96 (Xavier Chavez, Juan Lopez, Zach Pickett and Rex Robbins) and the Cougars also earned a second place finish in the co-ed 4-by-800 team run by Yajaira Salinas, David Plascencia, Gabby Rigg and Miguel Plascencia.

Also the boys took second overall in the triple jump relay, taking the honors were Christian Brunetti 41’6” (first), Chase Granis 37’6” (fourth) and Wesley Holmes 35’9½” (10th); and two individual standout performances came from junior Shelby McCune, tying for first in the girl’s discus with a throw of 82’7” and sophomore Alexia Johnson claiming second place in the girls high jump with a leap of 4’8”.

This week, the Cougars are scheduled to travel to Mountain House for a meet on Wednesday, March 29 and then go to the Mustang Invite at San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton on Saturday, April 1.