TRACK AND FIELD: Regional athletes capture 3 titles at Central Section Masters

Immanuel High’s Lexi Schartmann (5) breaks with the pack at the start of her heat in the girls 800 meters run at the Central Section Masters track and field championships in Clovis on May 18. The sophomore won her heat and the time of 2 minutes, 15.34 seconds was good enough to finish in the top three and qualify for state. Schartmann just missed qualifying in the 200, finishing fourth in a personal record 24.97 seconds.(Jon Earnest)

Fifteen from area schools advance to CIF State Championships competition in Clovis on May 24-25

CLOVIS – A total of 15 athletes from Mineral King Publishing region schools, competing in 11 different events, qualified for the upcoming California Interscholastic Federation Track and Field Championships.

Seven of those athletes — El Diamante’s Devin Ibarra in the boys 1600 meters, the Monache High boys 4×800 relay team and Tulare Western’s Ashlynn Reed in the girls triple jump — captured first place ribbons in their specialties at the Central Section Masters meet May 18 in Buchanan High’s Veteran’s Memorial Stadium.

With the victories, they and the other qualifiers will return to Clovis for the May 24-25 state meet. Qualifying and heat race events take place on Friday, with championship finals contested on Saturday.

The Ibarra and Monache victories happened in come-from-behind fashion. The Miners senior was in third place entering the final turn of the 1600, but kicked into gear and won in a time of 4 minutes, 13.62 seconds to better his Masters qualifying time by eight seconds.

The Marauders’ victory in the 4×800 was equally impressive, as senior Monte Moore blazed the anchor leg in 1:54.6. That time would have been good enough for Moore to finish second in the 800 meters individual race, but was enough to carry the quartet of Connor Machado, Jake Estrada and Alberto Andrade to victory in 7:48.73.

Senior Reed qualified for state in two jump events, highlighted by her personal record mark of 38 feet, 8.5 inches in the triple jump. She also finished third in the long jump at 18-1, only beaten out by a pair of PR (personal record) marks by first and second.

Sanger High senior Atianna Marquez was another double qualifier, running a strong final leg of the Apaches girls’ 4×100 relay team that included Chloe Lopez, Clara Wagner and Allyson Daniel. It resulted in a second place time of 48.42 seconds, trailing only Clovis North (48.31). Marquez also made the state meet field in her pole vault specialty, finishing third with a height of 11-8, narrowly missing an attempt to equal her PR of 12-3.

Immanuel High sophomore Lexi Schartmann came close to being a double qualifier as well, dominating her heat race in the 800 meters with the time of 2:15.34 good enough to grab third place. Schartmann just missed qualifying for state in the 200, clocking a PR 24.97 seconds to finish fourth, just four-tenths of a second from third place.

Another Eagle athlete grabbing a fourth place finish was junior jumper Micah Vossler. He posted a PR mark of 22-8.75 in the boys long jump — missing the state field by less than four inches — and was part of a five-way tie for seventh place in the high jump at 6 feet even.

Dinuba High’s Avril Mendoza entered the Masters meet among the section leaders in girls hurdles events, and advanced to the state meet in the300 hurdles by placing second in a personal best time of 43.12 seconds. The senior also finished seventh in the 100 hurdlers in 15.24 seconds, while Dinuba’s Angel Sanchez placed 15th in the boys 110 high hurdles in 15.67 seconds

Emperors weight standout Julian Ramirez came up just short returning to state in the discus throw, finishing fifth in an extremely competitive field with a PR mark of 178-03. The top nine finishers all had personal best throws. Ramirez also finished seventh in the shot put with a best throw of 52.9.

Redwood High almost had two girls qualify for state. Sophomore Graycie Serpa finished third in the 400 in 57.28 seconds, while junior Libby Thompson was fourth in the high jump at 5-2. That was the second best mark, but she was eliminated from a state berth based on misses.

Mission Oak High from Tulare had one state qualifier in senior Levi Jimenez, who cleared 6-4 in the high jump. Porterville High sophomore girls distance runner Rylie Schoonover turned in a personal record time of 2:14.31 to finish second in the 800, joining Schartmann and winner Keani Neuhs of Templeton.

Field events for Friday’s state meet trials begin at 3 p.m., followed by first track events at 5 p.m. On Saturday, the field event finals start at 4:30 p.m. followed by the first track finals at 5:45 p.m. Tickets to the meet are available for purchase online only through CIF’s ticketing partner, GoFan (gofan.co).

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