Hannah Chappell has begun her junior season at Oakdale High with a reputation to uphold and major goals to be reached.
“I’m liking it. I’m feeling it,” she said. “Track season has started.”
Better still, Chappell is right on schedule.
Chappell, the runner-up in the state last spring in the discus and fourth as a freshman, keynoted the 14th annual Stanislaus County Track and Field Meet on Friday with an eye-catching throw of 145 feet. That’s the best mark in the Sac-Joaquin Section to date, and her next target is her personal best of 149-6 (last year at Arcadia). The two-time Masters champion can’t wait for the uptick in competition next month at Arcadia and Stanford.
“They’ll be good for me to get into that competitive atmosphere,” she said. “It gets easier the more often you’re under that pressure. It’s a fun place to be once you get there.”
Chappell, beset by injuries last spring, recovered just in time to launch an impressive postseason run. A year later, she feels much better even through the current weight work.
“It’s going to be a good season, especially when I stop lifting a lot toward the end,” she said.
Chappell’s confidence was mirrored by many of the athletes at Turlock High’s Debely Field. Warm weather and almost perfect conditions invited promising times and marks, as the top 10 finishers in each event qualified for the third “County Clash” – Merced vs. Stanislaus counties – at Oakdale in two weeks.
“This brings the elite kids together on a Friday in a kind of football atmosphere,” said Pitman coach and meet director Thad Moren. “We never get a chance to compete on equal ground this early in the season.”
The meet became a preview to what’s in store over the next two months. Turlock senior Ryan Weaver took full advantage of home turf by doubling in the 100 (11.16 seconds) and 200 (22.55) and also contributed a leg to the Bulldogs’ wins in both relays.
Gregori stepped forward with victories by sophomore Adrian Leal in the 800 (2:06.09) and seniors Johnathan Alcantara in the 1,600 (4 minutes, 39.93 seconds) and Mario Medina in the 3,200 (10:04.50). Alcantara outkicked Oakdale’s Isaiah Aguilar in the final 100 meters.
Downey junior Erykah Hall showed good early-season form with wins in the 100 (12.73) and 200 (27.5).
Another standout was Riverbank junior Kim Ruvalcaba, the latest distance running standout for the Bruins who sped to victories in the 1,600 (5:33.31) and 3,200 (12:18.27). Ruvalcaba and teammate Sabrina Garcia dominated the field as they pulled away in the 1,600.
Other noteworthy performances were turned in by the Pitman girls’ 4x100 relay team with a meet-record 50.2, Modesto’s Kendall McNair in the 110 hurdles (15.66), Downey’s Tyran Daniels in the triple jump (42-11/4) and Modesto Christian’s Jaclyn Warwick in the 100 hurdles (16.47) .