John Biven estimates he makes at least 30 to 40 fishing trips a year and figures he catches anywhere from 200 to 300 fish.
That certainly qualifies him as an avid fisherman.
There aren’t a lot things that can keep the 53-year-old Gregori High art teacher from his favorite pastime.
Track and field, however, is one of those things.
Biven, who has been the Jaguars track and field coach since the school opened in the fall of 2010, is stepping down at the conclusion of this season.
“Yeah, it’s just long enough,” said Biven, who competed in multiple track and field disciplines at Jackson High (now Argonaut) and at American River College before a knee injury ended his career. “I’m ready to relax.”
The Jaguars hope to send him out with a bang.
Gregori has never lost a Modesto Metro Conference girls meet and can wrap up a seventh consecutive undefeated season on Wednesday when Downey and Johansen visit the Pirrone Road campus for a three-way league competition.
“I would not feel great about sending Biven out with a 41-1 record,” said junior Courtnee VanDyke, who throws the shot put and discus. “So we’re going to try our hardest to send him out with a win.”
Naturally, nobody wants to be part of the team that snapped the Jaguars’ perfect MMC streak, and that adds an element pressure for members of the squad.
“It’s very important, because the streak has been going for a long time,” said sophomore Briseida Garcia. “I’d feel guilty if I didn’t put forth my best effort.”
For sprinter Kassandra Rojas, the streak affects her during races.
“It adds more nerves while I’m running and makes me want to get as many points as I can to make sure the streak keeps living on,” said Rojas, who has run 58.65 in the 400-meter dash and is .65 seconds off the school mark.
Freshman Naomi Chappell, in her first varsity campaign, didn’t even know Gregori had an active winning streak.
“I just knew that Gregori was good at track and I wanted to go here,” said Chappell, who owns the school record in the long jump (17-4¾) and is seven inches off in bid for the school mark in the triple with a leap of 33-1½. “But when I came out here to start doing track, I noticed that we had a streak and I was, like, ‘Oh, OK.’ ”
Even if the Jaguars do sweep Wednesday’s meet and finish with another 6-0 league mark, Biven says he feels no inclination to come back and try to make it 48 in a row.
“Nope, I’m good,” said Biven, who concedes he will run the shot put ring during meets next year for his adjunct duty. “It’s time to go a little more fishing.”