By PETE SIMONCINI
The time period spanning Saturday, April 22 through Thursday, April 27 was one most track and field coaches only dream of. Oakdale High School’s head track and field coach, Dave Bacigalupi, lived it as the Mustangs did extraordinarily well in the Sacramento Meet of Champions on Saturday, and then on Thursday, the varsity boys and varsity girls teams both earned Valley Oak League dual meet championships with decisive victories over the Kimball Jaguars in Tracy. For the girls’ team it was the 17th VOL championship in the past 20 years, which translates to the 17th championship in a 19-year span as there were no meets held in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Saturday, April 22, members of the Mustangs’ varsity girls’ and boys’ teams were among 136 teams from Northern California and Nevada that competed in the Sacramento Meet of Champions on the campus of American River College in Sacramento. The varsity girls 4-by-100-meters relay team of Gabby Carranza, Lynsey McPhee, Kylee O’Neal, and Kylie Nunes sprinted to the second fastest time in OHS history with a 49.26 seconds effort in winning the competition, which consisted of 22 teams. Senior Caleb Cavanaugh set an all-time Mustang record in the 1,600-meter run, circumventing the track four times in 4 minutes, 10.40 seconds, which was good enough for 3rd place in the field of 21 runners. His time eclipsed the 55-year-old OHS record held by Steve Costner by 7 seconds. Cavanaugh was but .33 of a second off the first-place time of 4:09.97 run by Albany High School’s Lucas Cohen. In addition to being part of the winning four by 100-meters relay team, Nunes finished 5th in the 300-meter low hurdles in 47.31 seconds and earned 11th in the triple jump with a leap of 33 feet, 5 inches. Memphis Carr recorded a sixth-place finish in the shot put (37 feet, 8 ½ inches) and a 16th place in the discus (94 feet, 1 inch). Teammate Hayden Morton earned 9th place in the discus with a heave of 101 feet, 2 inches. Cameron Guthrie ran to a 5th place finish in the 300-meter hurdles in 41.61 seconds and complemented that stellar performance with a 10th place finish in the 110-meter-high hurdles with a time of 15.04 seconds. Sophomore Aidan Vargas recorded a 10th place finish in the 300-meter hurdles running the race in 42.47 seconds. As has been the case throughout the 2022-2023 school year, it was the distance team, running in the 3,200-meter run, that attained the most placings for the Mustangs, however. In the women’s 3,200, Kassidy Fmura, although still feeling the effects of the ailment that kept her out of the East Union meet on April 20, earned 16th place in 11 minutes, 25.7 seconds. In the boys’ open race, the Mustangs placed 5 runners among the top 22 runners in the meet. Junior Omar Alsaidi finished third overall in 9 minutes, 12.10 seconds, senior Dax Daley earned fifth in 9:13.63, sophomore Ismael Dominguez was 11th in 9:30.48, Jackson Oliveira earned 14th place in 9:32.30, and Cavanaugh complemented his school record run in the 1,600 meters with a 10:05.26, good enough for 21st place. In a separate race, the varsity 3,200 meters, sophomore Jacob Cavanaugh finished 20th in 9:58.64 and Mason Oliveira earned 27th place in 10:22.79.
Still basking in the glory of such a good performance in Sacramento, the Mustangs invaded Don Nicholson stadium at Kimball High School in Tracy on Thursday, April 27 to take on the Jaguars. Although both the freshman/sophomore girls’ and boys’ teams were defeated in the meet, the varsity boys earned a hard fought 89-47 victory to become the outright 2023 VOL champions. Complementing the boys, although facing their toughest challenge of the year, the varsity girls prevailed over the Jaguars by the score of 82-54 for the 2023 VOL title.
The varsity girls used a balanced attack to earn their victory. Versatile senior sensation Nunes sprinted to victory in the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.7, led a Mustang sweep in the triple jump (McPhee earned second place and Holli Schmidt got third) with a leap of 35 feet, 1.5 inches, and ran key legs of the winning 4-by-100-meters (along with Carranza, McPhee, and O’Neal) and 4-by-400-meters (along with Savannah Rivera, Brady Wylie, and Rylee Harris) relay teams. Brookelyn Baba led a Mustang sweep in the 100-meter-high hurdles (Savannah Rivera was second and Emma Weber was third), won the 300-meter-high hurdles, finished second in the high jump (4’8”), and third in the long jump (15’10”). Freshman Bradie Evans had a monster day, winning the 800-meeters (Ava Calandro earned second place) and the 1,600-meters, leading a Mustang sweep with Fmura getting second and Audrey Scott third, and finished second to Fmura, with Scott picking up third, in the 3,200-meter run. Memphis Carr and Hayden Morton once again excelled in the weight events for the Mustangs with Carr winning the shot put with a heave of 36 feet, 35 inches (Morton finished third), and Morton winning the discus throw in 97 feet, three inches with Carr finishing second (92’5”). Also picking up important points for the Mustangs were O’Neal (3rd in both the 100-meters and the 200-meters), McPhee (2nd in the 400-meters), Brady Wiley (3rd in the 400-meters), and Libby Hector (3rd in the high jump).
In the varsity boys’ meet the Mustangs were once again led by the distance team with huge help from the hurdlers and those in the field events. Junior sensation Omar Alsaidi, finally permitted to compete after transferring this past fall to Oakdale High School, stormed to a 53.96 seconds victory in the 400-meter dash with Rafael Rios picking up 3rd place. Rios also earned third place in the 200-meter dash with a personal record time of 23.58 seconds. Israel Dominguez continued his very strong season to date by winning the 800-meters in 2:13.34 (Alsaidi finished second) and the 1,600-meters (4:48.58), leading a Mustang sweep with Nathan Luca finishing second and Dax Daley third. Yet another distance sweep occurred in the 3,200-meter run with Mason Oliveira winning in 9:58.28, followed by Caleb Cavanaugh and Luca. Not to be outdone, Guthrie continued his winning ways in the hurdles’ races leading a Mustang sweep in the 110-meter-high hurdles in 16.1 seconds (Wes Burford was second and Aidan Vargas third) and winning the 300-meter low hurdles in a personal record time of 40.1 seconds. Vargas earned third in the latter race. The four-by-400-meter relay team of Rafael Rios, Dax Daley, Aiden Vargas, and Sonny Torres also bested the home team by some 9-seconds in a time of 4:15.25 in the meet’s final event. In the field events, Gavin Gleason continued his impressive season to date leading a Mustang sweep in the shot put with a heave of 44 feet, 9 inches (Eri Rubio finished second and Luke Guignard third), and then finishing second to Rubio in the discus. Rubio won the event with a throw of 121 feet even. Tyler Cooley won the high jump with a 6’0” leap and Declan Hynes finished third. Rounding out the Mustang team victory, Grant Gardner (11’6”) and Vargas (11’0”) went 1-2 in the pole vault.
Despite falling to the Jaguars, the freshman/sophomore teams were not without their significant performances in the meet. Earning wins for the boys were Ely Gomar with a 56.55-seconds 400-meter dash, Caden Adams (37’1”) in the triple jump (he also earned a second place (17’0”) in the long jump), and Kayden Duenas in both the shot put (40’5.5”) and the discus throw (99’2”). In fact, Duenas led a Mustang sweep in both events, with Broden Bush earning two seconds, and Jaxon Morton (shot put) and Dominic Gutierrez (discus) picking up thirds. Distance runner Dirk Scott earned third place finishes in the 800-meters, the 1,600-meters, and the 3,200-meters. Brock Boyson earned second in the 300-meter hurdles and third in the 110-meter hurdles, Jason Martinjo nabbed third in the 100-meters, and Troy Peterson finished second in the 3,200-meter run.
Earning wins for the frosh/soph girls were Jaelyn Ghiglia in the 400-meters (1:08.29), Katelyn Scharffenberg in the 300-meter-low hurdles (she also finished second in the 100-meter-high hurdles), Danika Savage in the 100-meter-high hurdles, Jamie Ruddy in the shot put (she also earned second in the discus throw), and Jaedyn Riley in the high jump, leading a Mustang sweep with Hayley Kuppens finishing second and Samantha Powell third. The Mustangs also won the 4-by-400-meter relay. Also earning points for the Mustangs were E’laya Brown (3rd in both the 100-meters and the 200-meters), Jordan Wylie (2nd in the 200-meters and 3rd in the 400-meters), Kuppens (3rd in the long jump), and Charlene Knight (3rd in both the 800-meters and the 1,600-meters).
This week, all VOL teams will meet at Sierra High School in Manteca on Thursday, May 4 for the Valley Oak League meet, which will determine the athletes that will move forward to the sub-Sac-Joaquin Section meet.