Nicole Warwick, fatigue dogging each stride, nearly collapsed across the line in the 300-meter hurdles.
Her long day at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Track and Field Championships ended Friday at 7:59 p.m. She felt it all – elation, disappointment and everything in between – and she doubled-over in exhaustion.
Abour four hours before, Modesto Christian’s unstoppable warrior won the long jump in a lifetime best 20 feet, 1/4 inch. Later, she placed second in the 100 hurdles in a PR-matching 14.40 seconds and closed with the energy-sapping fifth in the intermediate hurdles (43.36).
She qualified for next week’s CIF State Championships in two events, a first for the soon-to-be three-time state qualifier. But she had no time to celebrate.
Nicole and twin Meagan – the latter also headed for state in the long jump – rushed home to complete their duties as co-valedictorians at MC’s commencement.
That’s called a full day.
Nicole Warwick wasn’t the only Stanislaus District champion Friday. Central Catholic senior DaRon Bland won the long jump and Sierra senior Bikram Thiara captured the 300 hurdles.
Nineteen athletes in 22 events will represent the Stanislaus District next Friday and Saturday at Clovis’ Buchanan High.
20-1/4 Nicole Warwick’s winning long jump
The girls long jump, held in mid-afternoon, shocked experienced observers by its sheer quality. For starters, Nicole Warwick’s shortest jump was 19-2 1/4. Her 20-1/4 was the third-longest in section history.
“I just got more revved up than I was last week,” she said. “As soon as I got off the board, it was like, ‘That’s a good jump.’”
But that served as only an impressive keynote.
Before it was over, eight athletes – all but one of the finalists – qualified for state. The top three advanced, but so did an additional five who topped the 18-1 automatic qualifying mark.
Golden Valley’s Kayla Commons, who also competes next week in the triple jump, placed third (18-7). Meagan Warwick, beset by hamstring and foot injuries, passed for the rest of the day after rolling out an 18-3 3/4 on her second attempt. It held up for sixth place.
Even Gregori freshman Naomi Chappell fed off her older competitors. She extended her season by jumping 18-1 1/4 on her second attempt, a PR by eight inches. She finished eighth.
“I’ve never seen that happen,” Golden Valley girls coach Jacqueline Wooding said. “It was remarkable to see that many girls jumping so far.”
Bland’s busy day began with a sixth in the high jump. Complications arose while he competed in the long jump.
“I had to decide to make my third jump, or wait until I was done in the hurdles race,” Bland said. “I decided to jump.”
Good choice. Bland, who will play football at Sacramento State, unleashed a PR of 23-7 for the eventual victory. Gregori junior Cameron Goldman opened with a 22-5, a PR by10 inches, good enough for second.
Thiara, sixth in the state in the 300 hurdles last year, lowered his school record to 37.27 for the win. About an hour before, he showed frustration after he placed fourth in the 110s.
“I’m still not fully recovered from the 110s,” he said. “This helps.”
Enochs senior Claire Seymour, the 2016 Masters champion in the 400, was denied back-to-back titles by Saravaughn King. The Armijo star, who’s won this event two of the last three years, started strong and controlled the race, winning in a section-best 55.07. Seymour settled for third at 55.98.
“It was a long day. I wasn’t feeling my best,” Seymour said. “But I’m still going to state, and there’s no one I’d rather lose to than Saravaughn.”
Lathrop senior Isaias Hunter will travel to state for the second straight year after he finished second in the high jump (6-7). Placing third was Central Catholic senior Jahi Corbin, who cleared 6-5 on his final attempt.
Calaveras sophomore Jasmine Blair parlayed a 122-10 opening discus throw into a third-place finish and a state berth.