PREP ROUNDUP: Upcoming track and field spring meets

Sanger Spring Classic scheduled for March 26, athletes compete at meets in Clovis and Kingsburg last weekend

Reedley High hurdlers Real Morales and A’Aliyah Matlock flank Buchanan High’s Natia Guimond during a varsity girls 100 meter hurdles heat race at the Gateway to Track and Field Invitational in Clovis on March 13 at Buchanan High’s Veteran’s Memorial Stadium. Sophomore Matlock finished in 18th place while sophomore Morales placed 22nd in a crowded girls field. (Jon Earnest)
Reedley High hurdlers Real Morales and A’Aliyah Matlock flank Buchanan High’s Natia Guimond during a varsity girls 100 meter hurdles heat race at the Gateway to Track and Field Invitational in Clovis on March 13 at Buchanan High’s Veteran’s Memorial Stadium. Sophomore Matlock finished in 18th place while sophomore Morales placed 22nd in a crowded girls field. (Jon Earnest)
Jon Earnest
Published March 19, 2024  • 
11:00 am

CLOVIS – The track and field season continues in its early stages with the official arrival of spring this week, but top regional team performers are sharpening their skills for upcoming traditional meets.

One of those meets is the annual Sanger Easter Classic meet at Dodson Field on Tuesday, March 26. First field events will begin at 4 p.m., with sprint medley relays opening track events at 4:15 p.m. and competition completed shortly before 8 o’clock. A total of 29 schools are entered including regional schools Sanger, Sanger West, Dinuba, Reedley, Immanuel and Parlier.

Multiple athletes competed at two meets this past weekend; the Gateway to Track and Field Invitational at Buchanan High on March 25 and the Rafer Johnson Invitational in Kingsburg on March 26. At the Gateway meet, locals collected 17 top 10 finishes with 10 coming from Sanger High competitors.

Senior Clara Wagner had three of those finishes in the girls 100 (ninth in personal best 12.77 seconds), 200 (10th in PR 26.12) and long jump (seventh in 16 feet, 3.5 inches). Fellow senior Atianna Marquez placed second in the girls pole vault (10-10) and 10th in the 100 (PR 12.78). Among the boys, senior Daniel Galvez clocked a PR 9:32.39 in the 3200 meters run, while freshman Caleb DeLong cleared 5-11 in the high jump to tie for third.

Sanger High’s Robert Topete, right, sprints to the finish line to beat out Buchanan’s Austin Hall and Turlock’s Steven Salazar during a varsity boys 400 meters heat race at the Gateway to Track and Field Invitational in Clovis on March 13 at Buchanan High’s Veteran’s Memorial Stadium. The sophomore clocked a personal record time of 51.88 seconds to finish 16th out of 68 runners. (Jon Earnest)

Immanuel High sophomore Lexi Schartmann finished third in the 400 meters in a season-best 57.59 seconds and ninth in the 200 meters. Sophomore Clara Riddle finished eighth in the 3200 in a season-best with 11:41.44, while senior Bailey Krause placed sixth in the discus in 110-05. In Kingsburg Krause won the girls varsity discus throw in 107-8.

Reedley High had two top 10 finishers at the Gateway meet in sophomore A’Aliyah Matlock (sixth in girls 300 hurdles, season-best 48.46) and junior Brett Mitchell (ninth in 3200, PR 9:42.35). Dinuba High’s Julian Ramirez prepared for upcoming premier meets with a sixth place finish in the boys discus at 164-5.

Sanger High senior Nathan Velasquez also collected a first place medal at the Rafer Johnson Invitational, winning the shot put with a best throw of 48-6. He also finished eighth in the discus at 127-11. 

Immanuel’s Schartmann also competed in Kingsburg, posting a season-best time of 2:19.68 in the 800. Eagles junior Micah Vossler had top 10 finishes in the boys high jump (fifth with a PR 6-0), long jump (eighth) and triple jump (fourth) while Mia Carrillo finished ninth and sixth in the girls hurdle races with season-best times.

Sanger West High athletes posted 10 finishes in the top 10 at the Johnson Invitational including multiple marks by junior Daray Bland (tie for sixth in boys 100 and 200), junior Joseph Gutierrez (PR fifth place in boys 110 hurdles and sixth in 300 hurdles) and sophomore Tamehra Nichols (third in girls 100 and ninth in 200). Hornets freshman Maleah Cox finished third in the shot put with a PR 31-2).

Another competition scheduled for this week is the Central Valley Classic at Clovis North High School on Saturday, March 23. Select Sanger High athletes will compete in Southern California at the Azusa Meet of Champions on Saturday, March 23.

SOFTBALL

Orange Cove 1-2 at Central Classic tournament

Continuing its rugged preseason schedule, Orange Cove High finished with a 1-2 record at the Central Classic at Clovis West High School on March 15-16. The Titans (3-7) trounced Hanford High 18-5 on March 15, then dropped decisions to Mission Prep by a 5-1 score on Salinas High 6-0 on March 16.

Freshman Miah Lopez went 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles and four RBI while senior Mia Castillo (4-for-5), freshman Allyanah Cano (3-for-5, 4 runs) and senior Star Elizondo (3-for-5, 2 RBI) all shined offensively in the win over Hanford. Junior Madeline Powers added 3 RBI while Castillo struck out 13 and scattered five hits for the pitching victory.

The Titans managed just one hit against Salinas (9-3) and was limited to three hits against Mission Prep in a rematch of the 2022 and 2023 section finals. Orange Cove will play at Kingsburg in a non-conference matchup at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 21, then opens play in the Fowler Easter Classic at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, March 23 against Shafter High (9-3). That’s followed by games Monday, March 25 against Chowchilla (6-2) and Dinuba (2-7).

Reedley 7, Torres 0

At Reedley High on March 14, the Pirates (7-5) blanked the visiting Toros in a non-league contest that was dedicated to Malachi Rios. The RHS senior is battling an aggressive form of cancer. His sister, Bella, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Reedley High’s Macy Ruiz (13) steals second base against Torres High during the Pirates’ 7-0 softball victory on March 14. The freshman finished the game 1-for-3 with an RBI. (Danny Jimenez)

In the game, junior Lauren Fonseca pitched a two-hit shutout with 13 strikeouts. The Pirates collected seven hits from seven different players and scored three runs in the second inning to take control. Sophomore Arianna Zarate tripled and scored a run while freshman Macy Ruiz doubled and scored a run.

Reedley opens play in the Fowler Easter Classic at 2:30 p.m.Saturday, March 23 against Bakersfield High (4-5-1). That’s followed by games against Dos Palos (10:30 a.m.) and host Fowler (6:30 p.m.) on Monday, March 25.

BASEBALL

Sanger drops CMAC opener, then trounces Taft

Sanger High dropped its County Metro Athletic Conference opener by a 2-0 score at Edison High on March 15, then bounced back a day later by blanking Taft High 12-0 in an opening round game of the Fowler Easter Classic. The Apaches offense collected 12 hits against the Wildcats.

Sanger (9-2) has two more CMAC games this week against visiting Madera (March 19) and at San Joaquin Memorial (March 21, 6:30 p.m.) before returning to Fowler Easter Classic at 4 p.m. Saturday, March 23 against Firebaugh.

Jon Earnest
Reporter