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Trio Of Oakdale Athletes Qualify For Junior Olympics
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AAU Hall of Famer Guy Fowler fired his starters pistol during a race on Friday afternoon. Dennis D. Cruz/The Leader

The annual Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Region 22 Qualifier was hosted at Riverbank High School this past week. The prestigious youth event is normally held at Oakdale High School; however with the football field inside the all-weather OHS track being remodeled, the event was relocated.

Young hopefuls gathered at the stadium in Riverbank starting June 14 and competition concluded on Saturday, June 17. The young athletes from across the state participated in the four day Olympic style event. Track events included 100 meter dash, 200 meter dash, 400 meter dash, 80 meter hurdles, 100 meter hurdles, 110 meter hurdles, 200 meter hurdles, 400 meter hurdles, 800 meter run, 1500 meter run, 2000 meter run, 3000 meter run, the 1500 meter walk, 4x100 meter relay, the 4x400 meter relay and the 4x800 meter relay. Field events included the long jump, triple jump, discus throw, the turbo javelin throw, the javelin throw, shot put, high jump, pole vault, triathlon, and the outdoor pentathlon, heptathlon, and decathlon. Each athlete was trying to qualify for the National AAU Junior Olympics in Detroit, Michigan.

The voice of the Oakdale Mustangs, Pete Simoncini, was on hand as master of ceremonies, while AAU Hall of Famer Guy Fowler and Karen Fowler were also on hand to help run the event. Oakdale’s Francisco Vargas, Justin Crescenti and Jessica Jericoff represented the Mustangs proudly in multiple events. Crescenti finished first in the men’s 17-18 year old 800 meter run, first in the high jump and third in the men’s 17-18 year old 400 meter dash with a time of 55.66. Vargas placed second in the men’s 17-18 year old 400 meter hurdles. Jericoff placed first in the female 14-year-old discus throw with a mark of 103-06, and first in the shot put with a mark of 33-08.50.

The AAU Junior Olympic games will be held July 29 through Aug. 5.