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Track And Field Successful Season Wraps Up With Masters Meet Competition
Escalon's track and field season came to an end at the Masters Meet, hosted in Hughes Stadium at Sacramento City College, with strong performances, but no qualifiers for the upcoming State Meet.

"We're very proud and very pleased with what the kids accomplished," said head coach Roger Beeman. "But you always want more ... that makes it kind of bittersweet."

Cougars competing in the Masters included seniors Brandon Cavanaugh, Pearl Rivers and J.D. Visser, along with junior Jenna Price. Cavanaugh's event was on Friday, May 28.

"Brandon placed sixth overall, which is higher than what he was seeded," Beeman explained. "He threw a 163-2, which was the second best throw of his career."

Another fact that Beeman said was notable was the progression that Cavanaugh displayed.

"As a sophomore, he made it to the Section finals. As a junior, he won the Section, this year as a senior, he made it to the finals at Masters and came away sixth. We're very happy with his season."

Prior to the event, Cavanaugh said he was going in with a strategy.

"I will warm up, stretch, prepare better," he said.

The two-day Masters Meet ran Thursday and Friday, with Thursday's events hampered by the late May rain.

"Thursday's weather was challenging," said Beeman.

For Rivers, her heat in the 800 was packed with talent and though her coach said she ran strong, she did not qualify to move on.

"Pearl ran very well, ran a 2:21 but 2:19 made it to the finals, so she didn't make it out of the qualifying heat," Beeman explained. "She's been fighting a bit of a respiratory problem ... any little difficulty is magnified at this level."

Rivers was coming off a Section win in the 800 and hoped to qualify for the State Meet. However, the field was extremely fast and incredibly tough.

"She ran her second fastest time ever and just took seventh in her heat," Beeman pointed out.

"I just try to get a really fast first lap," Rivers said of how she approaches the 800, adding that she then works to "hang on" and hold off challengers in the second lap around the track.

Competing in the shot put, Visser also had what Beeman termed a "good, solid day" of throwing.

"Very much like Brandon, our Section is loaded with really good throwers this year, J.D. threw a 46-5," Beeman said. "You had to hit a tough qualifying mark."

The winning throw this year topped out at over 63 feet, he added.

Visser said he was "hoping for 52" at the Masters, but didn't get off the throw he wanted. However, he was pleased with making it to the Masters and setting a personal record in the shot earlier this season.

Rivers, Visser and Price all competed on Thursday, when the weather conditions were less than favorable.

"There was pouring rain just before the meet, there were some high winds and it was cold," Beeman said.

Price, the lone junior in the quartet of Cougars, competed in the pole vault for Escalon, after taking second place honors in the Section meet.

"Jenna vaulted well, but didn't end up getting the 9-3 opening height needed," Beeman said.

For the junior, getting to the Masters this year just whetted her appetite for more.

"It's an adrenaline rush," Price said of competing in the pole vault. "I want to get the school record."

All four Cougars had times and marks that were just a little off their previous bests in the Section meet, but Beeman said all can be proud of their achievements.

"It's one of the more difficult things in sports, your best season ends with a defeat," Beeman said of ending a successful run short of the State Meet finale. "Jenna's coming back, but we'll miss all the seniors."