It’s hard to believe that a team could win a Valley Title without “really trying.” Doing it four years in a row and five times in the past six, well, that should be downright impossible.
For Exeter girls track, it could just mean, they’re doing things exactly right.
Coach Darin Lasky says that every year, heading into the Division II Championship meet, also referred to as Small School Valley, he lets his athletes choose what events they want to focus on and lets them do their best to advance to Masters on an individual basis.
For the fourth straight season, granting that freedom to his individual athletes has paid off in the team’s total points.
This season, after a disappointing showing at Central Sequoia League Finals, the Lady Monarchs bounced back in epic fashion. At the league meet, Exeter, who has won the league title for nine out of the past 10 years, lacked points needed points in the field events, losing to Kingsburg by 4.
Those same Exeter athletes, competing in the throwing events, jumping and vaulting are the ones who came back to get the barrage of extra points needed to earn the Valley Title on Wednesday, May 8 on their home turf. Exeter took first place and outscored Kingsburg by 40 points.
The day of the Valley Meet started on a shaky note with the Lady Monarchs dropping the baton in their first event, the 4×100. But after shaking off that loss, it was smooth sailing for Exeter.
“We had young girls make large improvements this season,” Lasky said. “Our field girls came though at small school valley and our mid-distance was really deep. We score a lot of points. But then at league, our field events had a horrible day, only scored 16 points. At valley, those girls won 30 points in a tougher meet. Our field events really came through for us at the end of the season.”
The victory at valley was even sweeter when considering the tough road the team took to arrive at the coronation. After losing 20 athletes at the end of last season, the team started off the 2013 season young and small. The team size suffered again with five season-ending injuries early on. But the small squad worked hard to improve to championship caliber.
“We probably had one of our smallest groups of girls in the last six or seven years,” Lasky said.
At the end of the day, one Exeter athlete earned individual titles. Mid-distance senior runner, Yesenia Silva who competed in four events at Valley, earned the title in the mile and the two-mile events.
Silva went on to win the mile at the Masters meet in 4:57 on Saturday, May 18. Her win is sending her to the State Championship on June 1 at Buchanan High School. This is no small feat but Exeter seems to have sent a female athlete to the State meet nearly every year over the past decade from Allison Gonzales, to Katie Fry to Melissa Leyva and now Silva.
To track Silva’s attempt to place at State, track her performances at www.prepaltrack.com.