The sight of over 10,000 spectators and the presence of the best prep athletes in the state proved the perfect ingredients for greatness for 2012 Oakdale High graduate Manny Hernandez at the 94th Annual California Interscholastic Federation Track and Field Championships on June 1 and 2 at Buchanan High School in Clovis.
After a lazy fly ball from Oakdale High's Mark Ortiz bounced off the mitt of Sonora's right-fielder to allow three more unearned runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, Wildcat ace Ryan Stevenson turned to his dugout in disgust and waved his hand across his neck to request his departure from the mound.
When Oakdale High senior Manny Hernandez grazed the high jump clearance bar at six feet, 11 inches to just miss a personal best, he couldn't be that disappointed in his Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Championships performance.
The jeers and cheers emitting from the Oakdale High dugout should reach a whole new chatter level today, May 23, as the Mustangs play Vista del Lago for a shot at the Sac-Joaquin Section finals at 4 p.m. at Lodi's Tony Zupo Field.
Between section champion golfers, track stars and victorious baseball/softball programs from the first days of postseason bracket action, it proved impossible to select any individual as the lone Oakdale Leader Athlete of the Week. So we compromised, in the end selecting track standout Carly Rodgers, golfer Ryan Jones, baseball pitcher Logan Handzlik and softball pitcher Shelby Reali as a collective group of Spring sport standouts.
It didn't take long for Oakdale High baseball and softball teams to make their presence known at the postseason level. The baseball boys silenced River City 5-1 on Thursday in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs at Tony Zupo field in Lodi. Just a few miles south, Oakdale's softball team blasted past both Central Catholic and Ceres with a pair of stunning 10-0 shutouts at the Arnaiz Softball complex in Stockton.
Six days after besting a field of nine teams at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV Golf Championships, Oakdale tackled a field of 14 teams at the SJS Masters Championships on Monday at The Reserve at Spanos Park in Stockton.
The pitter patter of Kellie Gratigny's feet echo across Oakdale High's all-weather track like a drum solo as her track spikes propel her down the long jump runway with fast but lengthy strides that seem to magically thunder from her elfin five-foot, four-inch frame.