Modesto High senior Jose Gonzalez qualifies as one impressive multi-tasker.
All Gonzalez did Saturday afternoon was break a 54-year-old school high jump record at the Modesto Junior College Invitational. He jumped 6 feet, 8 inches, and promptly departed.
Why? Because he hustled off to work.
“He ran out of here,” Modesto coach Arlen Peters said.
Gonzalez’s abbreviated day still made news at the meet, an annual high-school showcase at MJC Stadium. He snapped a record set in 1960 by Panther grad Ted Watkins.
How Gonzalez did it requires an explanation.
He already had equaled his previous personal best of 6-4 earlier this season. Then he found his comfort zone at MJC’s high jump area near the southern edge of the stadium. Gonzalez tied the record by clearing 6-6 on his second attempt.
“We had to calm him down. He was pretty excited,” Peters said. “He got focused again.”
Did he ever. Gonzalez topped 6-8 on his first try. For perspective, a clearance of 6-8 would have given him a gold medal at the 2013 Sac-Joaquin Section Masters and a fourth at the CIF State Championships.
The only drawback was his quick exit before he could try for even higher. Fortunately for him, there’s still two full months left in the season.
The meet, conducted in sunny and breeze conditions, affirmed that the track season has accelerated into full gear. The league meets loom only a month away, so performances sharpened.
One of the best was turned in by Manteca sophomore Jade Griffin, who was named the girls’ outstanding athlete. She won both the 100 and 200 meters (12.74 and 26.22, respectively) and anchored the Buffaloes’ 4x100 and 4x400 relay victories. Pain in her lower legs made the final 150 yards difficult in the 4x400, though she and her teammates had built a huge lead.
“I’m happy for what I did,” Griffin said, “but it still hurts.”
The boys MVP was Central Catholic senior Cameron Olsen, who soon will head to Chico State on a soccer scholarship. Track always has ranked No. 2 on his priority list, but his acceleration on the track is hard to miss. Last spring, he regularly beat former teammate Rey Vega, one of the stars of the Raiders’ 2013 state-title team. Olsen showed off that speed with his double in the 200 (22.3) and the 400 (51.3).
“I’ve been double-stacking on the weekends,” said Olsen in reference to track and his work with Turlock FC. “I see track as an extra challenge.”
Patterson totaled 92 points for the boys team title, thanks in part to wins by Nathan Stanton in the 3,200 and Daniel Kelepi in the 100 hurdles.
Gregori took girls team honors with 102 points. Akia Buford-Roland led the Jaguars with her double in the 400 and 800. Also winning twice were Ripon’s Ellie Waters in the 1,600 and 3,200 and Dani Olson of Hilmar in both hurdles.