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Hernandez Wins Masters, Bound For State
5-30 OAK Track3
Oakdale runner Meche Brown speeds toward the 200 finish at Masters. - photo by Jonamar Jacinto/The Leader

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.

His previous clearance at 6-9 had already won him a Masters title and finalized his qualification to the California Interscholastic Federation Track and Field Championships at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Clovis on June 1 and 2.

Hernandez bested fellow Division IV competitor Londeen McCovery of Cosumnes Oaks by two inches to claim the title.

McCovery, who was runner-up to Hernandez at the D IV-V championships in Modesto on May 17, easily out-jumped the rest of the field, which could only reach 6-3.

Hernandez has won every high jump he has entered in this season, and was the only Oakdale competitor to qualify for state and one of 11 to appear in the first day of Masters competition on May 24.

Oakdale’s 1600 girls relay team of Me’che Brown, Deziree Pennington, Kellie Gratigny and Kim Linder also ended 14th in the field of 21 qualifying teams with a 4 minute, 7.64 second time. Brown was also 16th in the 100 (12.89) and 20th in the 200 (27.43).

Gratigny ended an impressive 10th in the triple jump (36-10.5) while Linder was 20th in the 400 (1:01.36). Pennington added an 18th place finish in the 100 hurdles (16.59) and was 21st in the triple jump (33-11). Domi Powell rounded out girls action on the first day with a 19th place finish in the high jump (4-11).

Davis Harper heaved a 48-06 shot put to end 19th in the event while Wyatt Coffey, Erick Padilla, Joey Flores and Chris Davis sped to a 1600 relay time in 17th.

Kyle Peterson finished 12th in the discus (148-0) during the second day of action on May 25th. Had he thrown the 167-9 that earned him a D IV-V title on May 17, Peterson would have finished third and qualified for state. Either way, Peterson was the top sophomore at Masters and the third best non-senior.

Carly Rodgers of Oakdale was also eighth in the pole vault on Friday. She fell short of the 11-3 personal best that would have locked up a trip to state.

Brooke Wong was unable to clear her opening height in the same event while Gratigny ended her run of Masters competition by placing 23rd in the long jump (15-01).

Hernandez enters the June 1 state prelims with the second best mark of any jumper. The top seeded athlete in the event is Cody Crampton of Canyon High, who cleared 6-10 at the Southern Section Masters. The state record in the high jump is 7-03.