Two Pirates win at NorCal track & field finals

Bee Staff ReportsMay 10, 2014 

— Modesto Junior College sophomores Becky Hobby and Cara McClain added to their legacy Saturday at the Northern California Track and Field Championships.

Both claimed NorCal titles for the second straight year at windy De Anza College.

Hobby, the Hughson High graduate who won the 1,500 meters a year ago, opted for the steeplechase and strung out the field to win by nearly 22 seconds (11:27.84).

McClain, the undersized standout from Kimball High in Tracy, successfully defended her hammer throw title (175 feet).

Athletes who placed in the top six in field events and races longer than the 800 meters, plus the top four in the lane races (and the fastest fifth from either region) advance to the State Meet at Mt. San Antonio College on May 16-17.

Hobby, bound for UNLV, also qualified for State in the 5,000 by placing third (18:56.08). Her teammate Dana Pollard took fifth in the steeple.

“The 1,500 and the steeple were held only about 30 minutes apart, so Becky couldn’t do both,” MJC coach Mary Shea said. “She took charge and built a huge lead in the steeple.”

The Pirates’ Victoria Dickerson, the 2013 NorCal discus champion, qualified for State in two events: Second behind McClain the hammer (168-11) and sixth in the discus.

Also extending their seasons were Morgan McFaddin with a fourth in the 800 and Jaleyah Douglas with a sixth in the javelin. It’s believed that MJC’s Melissa Garcia, who finished seventh in the shot put, advanced by topping the standard qualifying mark.

The Modesto women placed sixth in team standings.

Record breaker – MJC’s Lavalle Hamlin parlayed his late-season improvement into a school record and a State Meet berth at the NorCal Championships.

Hamlin, a freshman from Antioch, took second in the 400 hurdles with a time of 53.16, snapping the 29-year-old record of 53.34 set by Steve Willemse.

The MJC men qualified eight for State, including Aldo Guzman who took second in the hammer (175-11). Tommy Wright will compete in three events at State after his second in the triple jump (47-11 1/4), fifth in the long jump (23-10 1/4) and a fifth in the 4x100 relay.

The MJC relay team – featuring Wright, Hamlin, Dwight Shaw and Nchekube Uwakwe – was timed in 42.19, which was faster than the fifth in Southern California. Also going on were Shaw with a fourth in the long jump and Austin Funk with a fourth in the hammer.

The MJC men finished seventh overall.

Anderson record – Cal State Stanislaus senior Courtney Anderson sped to a 4:20.65 in the 1,500, breaking the school record of 4:21.82 set in 1993 by Carrie Luis, during the West Coast Last Chance Meet at San Francisco State. Anderson beat her previous best by nearly four seconds.

High School Track

Sprinter rolls – Kimball senior Damon Jackson, one of the Sac-Joaquin Section’s fastest sprinters, doubled in the 100 (10.87) and the 200 (21.86) during the Valley Oak League Championships at Sierra High. Sonora’s Steven Grolle picked up wins in the 1,600 (4:21.03) and the 3,200 (9:15). Sierra, led by Nicholas Valdes with wins in both hurdles races, captured the team title.

Double winner – Oakdale’s Sara Stevens boosted the Mustangs toward their team title at the VOLs by winning both the 400 (1:00.35) and the 800 (2:26.03). Hannah Chappell of Oakdale, the section leader in the discus, tossed 137-8 for the victory. Jade Griffin of Manteca led the Buffaloes to wins in both relays and also captured the 200.

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