The painted lines protruding out from Oakdale High’s discus circle already awkwardly overlap the edge of the shot put pit.
If Mustang athletes continue their trend of inexplicably herculean heaves of the metal saucer, the school may have to spin the discus arena to face the junior varsity baseball field.
Two of the best discus performers in the state are OHS students. They are the latest in a long line of dominant throwers donned in scarlet and gold.
The same program dazzled by the exploits of Tim House, Marco Camacho and Jaylene Ponce is now home to both junior wonder Kyle Peterson and freshman marvel Hannah Chappell. The robust pair is listed top-12 in the state by athletic.net for boisterous chucks of the discus and represent the latest talent mentored by seven-year throwing coach Brett Chappell (Hannah’s father).
“Oakdale has always had a great history of throwers, and I think that comes from hard-working kids and good throwing coaches,” Oakdale track and field coach Dave Bacigalupi said. “Coach Chappell is very dedicated, and the way so many of his throwers have gotten better is no coincidence.”
Peterson was one of the top sophomores in the state last year, but narrowly missed qualifying for the California Interscholastic Federation Track and Field State Championships when he fell short of his 167 foot, nine inch personal best and mustered only one accepted throw of only 148 (12th) at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Championships.
It’s not an effort he’s expected to repeat. Peterson’s 164-9 that won him the Stanislaus County Meet on Friday is the farthest throw by an SJS athlete this year by over eight feet. He is No. 8 in the state with that mark and just five feet short of top-five status.
Peterson is on pace to break the colossal 176-foot school record set by House in 2010. It’s a mark that gave House runner-up honor at Masters and guaranteed his trip to state.
“The goal is for both Kyle and Hannah to make it to state,” coach Chappell said on Monday. “Fortunately they are both outstanding athletes and they have a great adaptation to the implement, as far as progressing from where they are at.
“It makes it pretty easy for me to coach them.”
It doesn’t hurt that one of them lives under his own roof.
Hannah has only a year of track and field experience, but erupted onto the Amateur Athletic Scene when she placed 22nd in the AAU Nationals in Texas. The Junior Olympic qualifier is No. 11 in the state for the discus. She’s the top underclassman in the state and has thrown over 13 feet farther than any other freshman.
She’s the reason the word phenomenon exists.
“It’s exciting to have someone like that join the program,” Bacigalupi said. “It’s fun for everybody on the team to compete alongside someone with that kind of potential.”
Bacigalupi and coach Chappell attribute Hannah’s success to an extensive career in youth athletics, specifically strength-gained by years of work with some of the area’s premier travel softball programs as a pitcher. The mechanics in a discus throw are not unlike a fastpitch softball throw. The genetics of being related to Brett, who threw for Fresno State, doesn’t hurt either.
Chappell was first among 23 competitors at the Stanislaus County Meet. She surpassed the next-best throw by over 11 feet and saw junior teammate Grace Perreira end third in the event.
The Oakdale girls were second as a team, but the program got a nice surprise when the Oakdale boys rallied to best second-place Pitman by 15 points for the team title.
Junior Chris Davis won the 400 meter easily while senior DeWayne Finney won the high jump and junior Brynden McAndrews, a lineman on the football team, was second in the pole vault. Senior Spencer Thomas (fourth in the 100), sophomore C.J. Domingo (seventh in the 200), sophomore Brock Whiting (fifth in the 400, third in the long jump), sophomore Isaiah Aguilar (seventh in the 1600, fifth in the 3200), junior Tyler Williams (fifth in the 110 hurdles, sixth in the 300 hurdles), sophomore Tyler Flores (seventh in the 300 hurdles) and senior Austin Jones (sixth in the triple jump) also performed well at the meet. The OHS boys were also fourth in the 400 relay and third in the 1600 relay.
Oakdale’s girls were without injured sprint standout Me’che Brown, who should return to action soon. The team landed a top mark from senior Macey Caris (high jump) and was second (junior Brooke Wong) and fifth (Perreira) in the pole vault.
All-around stars Kellie Gatigny (senior - third in the 200, fourth in the long jump, sixth in the triple jump) and Desirae Pennington (junior – second in the triple jump, third in the 400, fourth in the 100 hurdles, fourth in the 300 hurdles) also contributed to Oakdale’s strong team score. So did junior Alyssa Perigen (seventh in the long jump), freshman Kyannah Hernandez (seventh in the 3200), sophomore Anna Perrone (fifth in the 1600) and junior Viviana Aguilar (seventh in the 1600).
Bacigalupi said his team performed better than expected and he saw a lot of positive things from his younger athletes.
“I thought they all did a good job,” Bacigalupi said. “I am really excited about the future this year.”
Oakdale hosts Manteca today, March 13 for their first conference meet. The team postponed a meeting with Weston Ranch on March 6 because of rain.