Modesto Christian senior Nicole Warwick scored three impressive victories at the Sac-Joaquin Section D-IV/V Track Championships, but what pleased her the most happened last week.
Warwick, the two-time state meet qualifier, chased a milestone 20-foot leap in the long jump for the entire season – then hit it on the number at the Trans-Valley League Championships at Ripon. It meant more to her than any award, or the fact she’s ranked No. 2 in the section.
“It had to happen one of these days,” she said. “It was a relief to finally get it. Now I can stress about going to state.”
Warwick, relaxed and focused, dominated Thursday at Cal State Stanislaus’ Al Brenda Stadium. After winning the long jump on Tuesday – a ho-hum 19-2 didn’t faze her – she captured the 100-meter hurdles in a personal best 14.40. That kept her second on the section chart. Later, she capped her day by winning the 300 hurdles in 44.33.
“I was hoping for 14.0 in the (100) hurdles. I stumbled out of the blocks,” Warwick said. “At this point, it’s about getting there.”
“There” means the Section Masters next week at Elk Grove, then to the CIF Championships on June 2-3 at Clovis’ Buchanan High.
For the first time, the D-IV/V meet featured more autonomy between the divisions. Separate D-IV and D-V events were conducted across the schedule except for the 1,600, 3,200, high jump and pole vault. In the past, the divisions competed together and separated by computer later to decide the section team champions.
3 Victories by Modesto Christian’s Nicole Warwick
There will be one final merging: The top five Masters qualifiers will come from the combined best times or marks in each event. They will advance to the Masters Championships next week at Elk Grove.
Coaches voted in favor of the changes last December. It fell to Dave Soeth, who’s run section meets since the 1980s, to make the longer program work. The same ideas also were adopted for the D-II/III meet finishing Friday at Bella Vista.
What didn’t change was that four blue banners were awarded to the boys and girls team champions in both divisions.
“More athletes will be honored. It is conceivable a division winner won’t go on (to Masters),” Soeth said. “Sometimes the results are strong compared to other divisions and sometimes they’re not. It changes from year to year. You are trying to send your best people to state.”
Warwick, bound for Azusa Pacific along with twin Meagan, topped the overall field in all three of her wins. But in previous years, she knew she was competing head-to-head against the best in her event. This year, there was uncertainty.
“I don’t like it – that there might be faster people in the races I’m not running,” she said. “You have to deal with it.”
Escalon senior Yajaira Salinas quickly dealt with the field in the D-V 800 – by running away from it. Racing on the Stanislaus’ track she’ll soon call home, she built a lead of at least 40 meters and waltzed home in 2:16.63 for her second straight section title. The time, barely off her PR of 2:16.30, was impressive, given the fact she stepped into a headwind on the backstretch and was not pushed. It’s also three seconds faster than last year.
Salinas recalled squeaking into the Masters’ second day last year only to be disappointed in the final. With that in mind, she’s paid more attention to detail in everything from diet, to attitude, to all running fundamentals.
“I remembered how brokenhearted I was,” Salinas said. “I’m taking care of the little things now and I have a goal in every workout. I tell myself, ‘What am I doing this for?’”
Another athlete peaking at the right time is Sonora junior Cassi Land, who doubled in the 1,600 (a PR of 5:03.64) and the 3,200 (11:49.75). Land, who placed third at Masters and 19th in the state in the 3,200 as a freshman, will compete only in the 3,200 next week. She and Bret Harte junior Kaela Dishion, who’ve trained together since seventh grade, raced side by side in the 3,200 until Land pulled away at the bell lap.
I remembered how brokenhearted I was. I’m taking care of the little things now and I have a goal in every workout. I tell myself, ‘What am I doing this for?’
Dishion, who picked up thirds in the 800 and 1,600, helped Bret Harte to the D-V section title. The Bullfrogs, who also featured Katie Juarez’s victory in the 400 (59.72), totaled 77 1/2 points to top Mother Lode League rival Calaveras with 64.
Calaveras was led by senior Isabella Moyer whe doubled in the 100 (12.19) and a school-record 25.19 in the 200. Both times, along with all in the sprints, were wind-aided. Calaveras sophomore Jasmine Blair also notched wins in the discus (127-8) and the shot put (35-8 1/2).
Patterson picked up wins by seniors Pierre Williams in the long jump (21-5 1/4) and Tevita Kelepi in the triple jump (43-9 1/2).
Hughson senior Abigayle Mitchell earned Masters trips in both hurdles.