The Yosemite High Badger track team competed at the 30-team Rafer Johnson Invitational at Kingsburg March 18.
Sophomore Sayda Taylor took Yosemite’s lone first place finish by winning the high jump at 5-3. Linnea Leinau placed seventh in the long jump at 14-0, and triple jumped 28-4 for 13th place.
Alli Ruiz followed up a solid performance at the Clovis East Carnival by placing eighth in the 400 meters at 1:04.8 and was 10th in the 100 hurdles at 18.65.
For the boys, Kevin Bulawsky had another good early season performance, placing fifth in the shot put at 43-04. He threw 116-6 in the discus, good for 11th place, was 10th in the 110 high hurdles (18.65) and was 15th in the 300 hurdles (47.96).
Teammate Cass Moreno was 11th in the 110 high hurdles (18.87), a personal best this season. Russell Zelazo placed 15th (19.80), also a personal best, and placed 16th in the 300 hurdles (47.51).
Moreno placed 10th in the 300 hurdles (46.01), breaking his previous best time by four seconds. Moreno was fast as a wide receiver and a defensive back on the YHS football team and it shows in track’s most athletic running events. Moreno also had a personal best triple jump of 35-10, placing 13th.
Peter Martinez was fifth in the discus with a throw of 129-03. Martinez took ninth in the shot put of 41-8 ½. It is a good early season for Martinez who is nearly at his 2016 marks for both the shot and discus.
Sophomore Christian Rold had a huge breakthrough in the high jump. Moved up to varsity, Rold took sixth after clearing 5-7. It was a six inch personal best for the athletic Rold. The height is now eighth best all-time at YHS for frosh-soph.
Overall, like earlier Badger meets, there was strong competition from top track programs from around the Valley. Most events had 30 or more participants.
Head Coach Walker Vaughn has regularly entered Yosemite track in tough early season meets to prepare for the stretch run of North Sequoia League competition.
The meet is named in honor of the 1960 Rome Olympic decathlon winner who grew up in Kingsburg and attended Kingsburg High. The incredibly athletic Johnson was influenced by another Valley decathlon champion, Bob Mathias, the Olympic decathlon winner in 1948 and 1952.
Johnson took a silver medal in the decathlon at the Melbourne Olympics in 1956. Johnson’s 7,982 points in Rome set the Olympic mark at the time. Besides track, Johnson also played basketball at UCLA under Coach John Wooden on the 1959-1960 team.
The team will compete Friday at Exeter and at Clovis East on March 31.