For a group that didn't belong at a high-profile meet, the Modesto Junior College track and field teams made their presence felt Saturday.
The Pirates finished in the top 10 eight times, including Remington Blair's victory in the men's 400 meters, at the Trojan Invitational in Los Angeles. Blair was faster than competitors from USC, Cal State Los Angeles, Northridge, Fresno State, Washington State and Boise State, among others. He finished in 47.62 seconds, the fastest community college time in the state.
"With 10 meters to go, he blew the field out," MJC men's coach Demitrius Snaer said. "That was pretty nice. We were the only JC there and we had gotten a lot of flak."
Modesto coaches Snaer and Mary Shea said they asked friend and USC assistant coach Tom Walsh via e-mail last month if they could enter the meet. Sure, he responded. Fax your rosters.
But when MJC arrived at Loker Stadium, it was met at the registration table with resistance. The meet was designed for Division I schools.
The Pirates didn't know that, though Shea said her team preferred to measure themselves against higher competition anyway. An exception was made for Modesto to compete and there were no problems among athletes on the field.
In addition to Blair's performance, teammate Terrance Green won his 400 heat in 48.21, third overall. Both were part of the men's third-place 4x400 relay team.
The women's relay teams posted their fastest times of the year -- 48.8 in the 4x100 and 4:06 in the 4x400. Kapri Hockaday was fifth in the women's high jump with a season-best 5-foot, 5-inch leap.
STANISLAUS SOFTBALL -- The Warriors open their own Tournament of Champions today, looking to improve their position in the NCAA Division II rankings. The top 10 West schools will be at Pedretti Park through Sunday, with No. 7 Stanislaus facing Grand Canyon at 1:30 p.m. and Hawaii Pacific at 3:45 p.m. The Warriors (15-15) are 13-13 against West region teams.
SCHEUBER A STAR -- Turlock High's Aja Scheuber stayed hot through last weekend's Judy Garmin Classic in Fullerton, where the Fresno State senior led the Bulldogs on an undefeated 5-0 championship run.
Fresno, ranked 13th, knocked off No. 6 Michigan 6-5 and host Fullerton 15-4. Scheuber went 4 for 5 against Fullerton with two RBIs and was 3 for 3 with three RBIs in a 9-1 victory over Illinois.
Scheuber, batting cleanup, is third on the team with a .383 average. She is second in doubles (seven) and RBIs (29). Fresno State (30-5) opens Western Athletic Conference play today at Utah State.
EXLINE THIRD -- Turlock High graduate Billy Exline finished third at the NAIA Wrestling Tournament in Sioux City, Iowa, on March 8. After falling to eventual 125-pound champion Cory Borges of Hughson and Montana State-Northern in the semifinals, Exline of Missouri Valley College defeated Cody Dennis of Morningside by fall in 1:08.
Exline was second in the tournament in this category: most pins in the least amount of time. He had four in 8:05, his fastest coming in 38 seconds over Cumberland's Josh Chappa in the quarterfinals.