Oakdale High School students Brookelyn Baba and Emma Weber excelled at the 2022 United States Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Region 22 Northern California National Qualifier Track and Field Meet. The event was hosted in the Oakdale Corral on Friday and Saturday, June 17 and 18.
The meet, which is part of the summer series of track and field meets sponsored by the AAU around the United States, was held under the leadership of co-meet-directors Guy and Karen Fowler of Oakdale. Guy Fowler is a resource teacher and the Leadership Class teacher at Oakdale High School and also serves as the head cross country coach and as one of the distance coaches for the Mustang track and field team. The Fowlers have sponsored the two-day Region 22 meet at Oakdale High School on the Friday and Saturday before Father’s Day since 2015, except for 2020 and 2021 when the meet was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to 2015, the Fowlers had sponsored the Region 22 meet at Bob Mathias Stadium on the campus of Tulare Union High School in Tulare.
This year “we had 467 athletes from as far away as the state of Georgia, Reno, Bakersfield, Sacramento and the Bay Area,” noted Karen Fowler. “We were very happy to be able to host this event and bring people back to Oakdale after a two-year break.”
Assisting the Fowlers as meet officials were several Oakdaleans as well as officials from Tulare, Nevada, and Louisiana. The meet officials in Oakdale will next form the core of the officiating crew at a much larger meet, the AAU West Coast National Track and Field Championships, to be held in Sparks, Nevada from June 30 through July 3.
The athlete who traveled the furthest to the meet was Maddison Brister, from Grovetown, Georgia, who won gold medals in the 14-year-old girls’ 400-meter (1:00.48) and 800 meter (2:22.35) runs. Representing Oakdale were three athletes: Roman Moreno, who completed the 3,000-meter run for 13-year-old boys in 12:29.56; Emma Weber and Brookelyn Baba.
Baba and Weber, competing in the 15-16-year-old girls category, finished first and second respectively in the 100-meter high hurdles with times of 17.36 seconds and 17.97 seconds. The two Mustang teammates also finished first and second in the high jump with leaps of 4 feet, 10 inches and 4 feet, 8 inches respectively. Baba also won the 400-meter low hurdles event with a time of 1 minute, 11.63 seconds.