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Track And Field Squads See Action In TVL Meets
Lady Cougar Ashleigh Strand concentrates before sending the shot put flying in earlier season action. She recently scored team points with a second place effort in the discus against Hughson. Marg Jackson/The Times

The last two weeks have been busy for the Escalon High School track and field teams. The Cougars kicked off their Trans-Valley League season on March 29 at Mountain House to compete against the Mustangs as well as Modesto Christian’s Crusaders. Both the boys and girls teams came away victorious against both opponents, giving them a 2-0 record in the TVL.

“It was great to start league competition with two wins right away,” said Head Coach Carrie Nash.

On the boy’s side Christian Brunetti and Thaddeous Stern took first and second in the 100m, sophomore Zach Pickett picked up three second places, the 200m, 400m (53.45, a personal record), and the high jump. Rex Robbins added to team points with his third place finish in the 200m (54.71, a personal record). Emiliano Ramirez finished second in the 800m. Freshman Juan Lopez ran a personal best in the 1600m, (4:55.00) to capture a second place for the Cougars. He came back later in the meet to win the 3200m with Troy Bedell finishing second. Alex Jimenez and Xavier Chavez both took second in their hurdle races, Jimenez in the 110m highs and Chavez in the 300m lows.

In the field events Chad Orndoff-Moreno placed first in the discus and third in the shot put, Josh Teske was first in pole vault, Brunetti finished first and second in the triple and long jumps. Chase Granis was third in the long jump.

The girls had strong finishes from Jackie Lau in the 100 and 200. First place went to Yajaira Salinas in the 400m and 800m, Nora Nash in the 3200, Sidney Lima in the 300m hurdles, Shelby McCune in the shot put and discus, freshman Leila Phillips in the triple jump and Mikayla Vega in the pole vault. Kaitlyn Matsunami and Marissa Gonzales were second and third in shot put. Grace Eckhardt finished second in the discus and Jessikka Gonzalez was third in the high jump.

Wednesday, April 5 the Cougars had their first TVL “home” meet at Hughson. Escalon’s facility is not able to host any meets, but Escalon takes responsibility for running their ‘home’ meets on their opponents’ track.

The varsity boys team won 99-37 while the girls suffered an 89-47 loss at Hughson.

“It was fun to see the boys sweep events like the 400m, 110 hurdles, and 300 hurdles. There were also a lot of events on both the boys and girls teams where we had overall winners, considering how strong Hughson is and it was just the second week of TVL competition,” said Nash.

Standing out again were Zach Pickett in the 200 and 400, Juan Lopez in the 800 and 1600m, Eduardo Calderon in the 3200, Alex Jimenez in both hurdle races. For the girls wins came from senior Yajaira Salinas in the 400m and 800m, Sidney Lima in the 100m hurdles, Shelby McCune in the discus and Alexia Johnson in the high jump. Notable seconds were Jackie Lau in the 100m and 200m, Nora Nash in the 3200m, Lima in the 300m hurdles, Ashleigh Strand in the discus.

“We had some athletes missing against Hughson on the girls’ side that would have made the score much closer, but hats off to the Huskies, they would have won regardless as they are a good, well-coached team. It was a good experience for us,” said Nash.

The Cougars are next scheduled to “host” the Indians in Ripon at Ripon High on April 12 at 3:30 p.m.