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Humble Claims Section 800 Title; Daley Sets Record
Standout Oakdale High School athlete Haleigh Humble closed out her running career as a Mustang as a Section champion, setting a new school record in the 800 meters and winning the Section title over the weekend. Leader Photo By Dave Campbell

Oakdale Mustang harriers Haleigh Humble and Dax Daley set all-time school records in executing brilliant performances during the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Meet. The elite competition was hosted at Davis Senior High School in Davis on Saturday, May 21.

Humble, a Stanislaus State-bound senior, became perhaps the most prolific runner in the history of Oakdale High School by setting her third school record covering two laps in 2 minutes, 13.79 seconds to emerge as the Sac-Joaquin Section champion in the Women’s 800 meter run. Previously Humble had set school records in both the 1,600 meter and 3,200 meter runs and is a three-time Valley Oak League cross country champion. Asked about Humble’s incredible performance Saturday evening, head cross country and track distance coach Guy Fowler said: “Haleigh executed the perfect race. She did not exert too much energy on the first lap and that enabled her to out-kick her competitors down the home stretch. It was the perfect way to end her running career at OHS.”

Humble agreed, saying, “It was an awesome race. The main thing was just to be present in the race against my competitors and then give all I had in the final stretch. I just followed Coach (Vic) Moreno’s plan to a tee and it felt amazing: exactly like he said.”

When asked about her three school records, Humble simply said, “It’s an honor (to have them) and I’m excited to see some runners come in and try to break them. It feels really awesome to be leaving and having those records.”

Humble has opted out of competing in the California State Meet this weekend as she prefers to graduate with the OHS Class of 2022 on Friday evening.

“Being there with my class during graduation is so important to me,” said the life-long Oakdalean who is slated to lead the Pledge of Allegiance at the graduation exercises.

Track and field head coach Dave Bacigalupi noted that Humble has joined a unique club at OHS, holding three school records.

“Jill Santucci (now Jill Burford) had the school record for the 100, 200 and 400 until Kylie Nunes broke her 200 record this year. Jacki Powell currently holds the triple jump, long jump and 100m hurdles record. Jacki shares the hurdle record with our current hurdles coach Lori Vargas,” explained Bacigalupi. “Jacki actually at one time had four records, she also had the 300 hurdles record to go along with the triple jump, long jump and 100 hurdles. She held all four for four years before Dezirae Pennington broke the 300h record. Haleigh has joined a very small group.”

Daley finished sixth in the 3,200 meter run (previously known as the 2-mile run) in a school record time of 9 minutes, 21.21 seconds. The top three finishers go on to the California State Meet. Prior to the race he had confided that he was motivated because the field of runners was stellar. The junior stayed with the leaders throughout seven laps of the eight lap race, but then fell back a bit in the final 400 meters to finish sixth overall.

“Early in the week as I prepared for Saturday evening, I said I would stay with the lead pack as long as I could. I felt really good when the gun went off and put myself in a good position. (Coaches) Moreno and Fowler had told me to stay relaxed throughout the race and I did,” Daley explained. “I was able to stay in the lead pack and at one point was running third. I said to myself, ‘I am going to surprise everyone.’ In the final lap, though, my legs became lactic and I fell off a little bit. I still ran a personal best and I’m excited about that.”

Fowler had this to say as he analyzed Daley’s performance: “Dax is a true competitor who knows how to race. He put himself in the perfect position to pull an upset to qualify for the state meet. He gave it his all and came up short … but he is coming back next year with all this experience. He should be exciting to watch.”

Like his coach, Daley is excited about next season’s cross country and track and field seasons. In track, he now believes he can qualify for next year’s state meet in the 3,200 meter run. Regarding cross country, Daley said, “I think we have a 99 percent chance of our team qualifying for the state meet next year.”