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Powell, House Continue Seasons With Trip To State
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Two of Oakdale High’s most accomplished prep athletes in school history left one final stamp in the Mustang record books with qualifications to the California Interscholastic Federation Track and Field Championships.Seniors Tim House and Jaci Powell managed top-three honors in their respective events at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Championships, qualifying with only a handful of Central Valley athletes to the pinnacle of the state’s prep track and field postseason.“It’s been an amazing run, and I am really proud of those kids,” Oakdale track coach Dave Bacigalupi said. “It’s a rare thing to send kids to state, but these two are special athletes.”Powell had qualified for Masters in the long jump, triple jump, 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles after a dominant Division III meet. But as good as her Divisional marks were — they paled in comparison to her Herculean Masters performances.Powell was seeded just sixth in the triple jump after a personal best earlier in the season had left her at 36 feet, 5 inches. At Masters, she delivered a staggering 38-7 to not only win the event, but also set a new school record by over a foot.Powell had struggled with illness late in the year, but showed no signs of weakness in a jump that won the event by over a foot and a half.She was tied for eighth in long jump seeds after a 17-2 leap at Divisionals, and nearly was eliminated from the event after scratching four of her six jumps. But on her last attempt, Powell soared to another personal best at 17-10 to finish second. Napa senior Tatum Souza won the event at 17-11.Oakdale’s most decorated female athlete chose not to compete in the 300 hurdles as three events were already stretching her thin in a busy schedule of competition. She qualified for the finals in the 100 hurdles and hit the starting line just 10 minutes after her last long jump. Powell was in third place with two hurdles to go, but faltered late to finish seventh in the SJS.“We don’t know for sure, but Jaci may be the only girl from Oakdale to win a section title in track,” Bacigalupi said. “She was just amazing.”House was equally impressive in the discus after having set the school record in the event at multiple points this season.Seeded fourth, House hurled the shot for a new school best of 176 feet to edge Division III winner Albert Millan of Livingston and nab runner-up honors at the Masters Meet. Jesuit senior Jeremy Hines won the event at 176-10.“His second throw got him to the finals, and then he just got better with every toss,” Bacigalui said. “A lot of people don’t realize how hard it is to come in and have a good day of throws, and he certainly accomplished that.”Oakdale sent 14 athletes overall to Masters, and saw Daniel Linder finish 20th in the long jump at 19-11.5. Domi Powell was 12th in the high jump after a 4-11 leap, while Chris Cooper soared 13 feet in the pole vault to finish 14th.Nate Madsen cleared six feet to finish 13th in the high jump, and Jaylene Ponce delivered a 33-02 toss of the shot put to finish 17th. Oakdale’s 1600 girls relay team (Kelly Gratigny, Justina Keith, Isabella Hoy and Me’che Brown) was 20th in 4:18.75. Mustang boys in the same event (Linder, Wyatt Coffee, Rogelio Aguayo, Gino Valente) were 20th as well after a 3:33.90 run.The CIF Track and Field (State Meet) Championships are at Buchanan High in Clovis and kick off with a series of events on Friday, June 4. Both House and Powell compete in the opening day of competition, with aspirations to qualify top-eight and see the state finals on Saturday.Jaci and her talented senior twin sister Juli Powell were at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for a college recruiting trip on Monday.