Judging by early results, this year's Yosemite High School track team can expect more of the success it has gained over the past 10 seasons.
The track program has captured 13 league titles, at one point nine consecutive at some level.
Coach and former YHS grad Walker Vaughn, goes into each season with high expectations.
"As a team, we go into every year expecting success," said Vaughn. "Our teams work hard and are always ready for league."
Vaughn has a total of 27 boys and girls participating on the team this season, a few more than last season. Yosemite does a lot with less. Last year, the Badger boys won the North Sequoia League title with just nine team members.
Vaughn will be assisted by a seasoned coaching staff. Sonya Mazaira will handle the discus and shot throwers and distance runners. Kellie Vaughn will coach the high jumps and Ron Cox will assist the hurdlers and pole vaulters.
"I really appreciate Sonya taking over the distance squad as well as the throws," Vaughn said as former distance coach Rob Ellis could not assist this season.
The strength of the Badgers boys will be their distance team. Junior Alek Simpson leads the way. Simpson who posted three NSL league meet wins in the brutal triple of the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 meter races is only getting better. Simpson is one of the top Sequoia/Sierra Division (small school) runners in the Central Valley. Simpson finished last season ranked No. 6 on the YHS all-time record list in the 800 (2:07) -- No. 3 in the 1600 (4.28) -- And No. 5 in the 3,200 (9.54).
Simpson finished last season by placing 32nd in the Division III state meet held at Fresno's Woodward Park.
The boy's distance team will bolstered by junior Liam Womack. Womack's best finishes last season were 2:14 and 5.01 in the 1,600 and 3,200.
Nick Adelizi is the team's leading sprinter. The junior finished strong in league last year posting personal bests of 24.3 in the 200 and 54.2 in the 400.
Senior Ryan Young and freshman Jayson Lee will add depth in the sprints.
Senior Brian Tenorio vaulted 10-6 last season and had a top discus throw of 106-feet.
Christian Cambrelen will lead YHS in the hurdles and jumps. The senior posted marks of 17.6 and 44.9 in the 100/300 hurdles. Cambrelen was also selected as team captain for both boys and girls.
"Christian is our team captain," Vaughn said. "He exemplifies a solid attitude and gives maximum effort. He always does the extra things to improve."
YHS girls team
The Yosemite girls will also looking towards a league title. Like the boys, they do a lot with less.
Last season the girls finished second in league to Sierra with just 10 on the roster.
"Our girls have a few more on the roster this year and I feel they are more athletic than last year," Vaughn said. "I know we will be strong in the hurdles, sprints and distance races, but depth is an issue."
Junior Brittney Hughey will lead the girls distance team. Hughey posted times of 2:37, 5:30 and 12:57 in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 respectively last season.
Sophomore Taylor Burrall will lead the hurdlers, the strongest Badger event for the girls. Burrall is perhaps the most versatile member of the team competing in nine separate events last year.
A newcomer to the team is golfer'basketball player Jessica Rudd, who is expected to push Burrall in the hurdles. Rudd's addition is crucial for depth.
Vaughn called Rudd a huge addition to the team.
Sophomore Christen Cogdell pulls off the difficult double of hurdles and pole vault well. Last year she cleared 8-feet in the pole vault, the second all-time best height in YHS history. Cogdell is poised to break the record (8-feet-6) this season.
Early success at Sanger Spring Classic
Overall, Yosemite performed well in their first invitational track meet of the season -- The Sanger Spring Classic March 2. The meet features mostly large schools and some of the best track programs in the area. Finishing in the top 25 among elite competition is not easy.
Simpson made a statement early by posting a 2:06.34 in the 800. This was good for 7th place. Simpson's time is currently No. 6 in YHS history. Simpson was 8th in the 1,600 (4:39) and 7th in the 3,200 (10:16).
Freshman Jayson Lee's first high school meet was memorable. He won the frosh/soph high jump at 5-foot-8, placed 6th in the long jump at 17-feet, 13th in the 200 meters (26.07) and 9th in the 400 (58.60).
For the girls, the hurdlers were strong. Burrall and Cogdell took 10th and 11th in the 100 meter low hurdles with times of 19.64 and 19.84 respectively. Rudd took 8th in the 300 low hurdles with a time of 54.6. Burrall and Cogdell were top 25 overall girl hurdlers at the meet.
Cogdell also tied for 6th in the pole vault at 7-feet-6.
Other YHS Top 25 finishers:
Boys: 100: Ryan Young, 13, 12.05; 200: Nick Adelizi, 12, 24.02. Young, 25, 24.7; 400: Adelizi, 13, 55.12; 3,200: Liam Womack, 19, 11:56; Nick Bayt, 22, 12:25; 100 high hurdles: David Nobles, 19, 22.3; 300 low hurdles: Christian Cambrelen, 11, 46.1; Nobles, 15, 52.8; 400 relay (Alex Mello, Young, Cambrelen, Adelizi, 8, 47.12); 1,600 relay (Mello, Adelizi, Cambrelen, Brian Tenorio - 10, 3:57.3); frosh/soph shot put: David Temple, 16, 36-09; discus, Tenorio, 24, 101-feet; high jump: Cambrelen, 11, 5-feet-4.
400m: Chamberlain, 17, 1:09; 300 low hurdles: Burrall, 16, 58.1; Cogdell, 25, 1:02; 1,600 relay (Brittney Hughey, Burrall, Brooke Veater, Victoria Glanzer - 9, 4:50.24; long jump: Rudd, 18, 11-feet-8; triple jump: Rudd, 18, 25-feet-6.