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Track, Field Doesnt Miss A Beat In League Meet
Oakdale High’s Josh Gehring defends his VOL high jump title with a leap of 6’5”, good for another league title. - photo by JAGADA CHAMBERS/THE LEADER
Oakdale High School’s track and field program has already put together an impressive 2009 season, yet the squad seems to be just kicking into gear after a dominating performance during the Valley Oak League Track and Field Championships on May 9 at The Corral.
Oakdale closed out the event with both the boys and girls meet championships, with the boys outscoring Sierra High 153–113 and the Lady Mustangs outscoring the Timberwolves 151.5–135.
The Mustangs saw a host of its athletes turn in impressive performances, combining for 17 athletes who finished the league season with All-VOL honors.
“All in all we had eight girls and nine boys make all league,” Oakdale head coach Dave Bacigalupi said. “There were seven seniors, six juniors, three sophomores and one freshman to make it.”
Oakdale got a tremendous effort from senior standout John Brunk, who turned in his best meet of the season with personal records in three separate events and a much-needed debut in another event.
“John ran on the 4x400-meter relay team for the first time in his life,” Bacigalupi said. “They took second, but had it not been for a mistake they would have won that too.
“Brunk really had a great meet.”
He grabbed a first place finish in the long jump (20’11”) and the triple jump (42’4”) and finished second behind teammate Josh Gehring in the high jump with a leap of 6’4”.
Gehring slipped past Brunk with a jump of 6’5”, taking home the title and defending his VOL championship from a season ago.
James Evans (pole vault) and Justin Armstrong (shot put) had championship performances in their respective events, while the squad’s 4x100-meter relay team raced to victory without their normal formula.
“We had to replace (Devin) Brooks and (Nicky) Batteate with Tanner Traub and Blake Raham in the 4x100,” Bacigalupi said. “They were nursing injuries, but those two stepped in and we still won.”
Isaiah Borba anchored the 4x100 team, who cruised to victory in one of the brightest surprises for the Mustangs all meet.
The Lady Mustangs were poised to show that their fifth consecutive VOL title run was not in vain, turning in a solid meet performance that left the team anxious about a hopeful Sac-Joaquin Section Divisional performance.
Jaci Powell made her presence felt with victories on both relay squads and a win in the triple jump, but sister Juli Powell was not to be outdone, turning in a leap of 9’0” for the pole vault championship.
Taya Sebring raced to a win in the 100-meter hurdles and with the 4x100 relay team, while teammate Kristen Hoy made her most impressive showings on both relay teams, coming from behind for victory in both events.
Shannon Peters earned a pair of second place finishes in the 800 and the 1600 before putting it all together in her specialty, taking the 3200 nearly 20 seconds ahead of her next opponent.
The JV squad saw impressive showings from Juan Gonzales, who won the 100, 200 and anchored both relay teams in grand fashion, while Isabella Hoy proved unbeatable in the 400, before anchoring the 4x400 team to victory. Carly Rodgers earned points for Oakdale by winning the pole vault title.
The next step for Oakdale is the Divisionals at Modesto Junior College. Oakdale will try and expound on their postseason success with a strong showing at MJC.
“We have some injuries on the boys squad that may keep us from winning the meet,” Bacigalupi said of the divisionals. “But we will be there giving it our best shot.
“Our girls may not be quite strong enough, but I think many of our athletes will move on to the Masters.”