A couple of weeks ago I was watching reruns of the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships on ESPN at historic Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon.
I am a track fanatic and as I was soaking up the women’s heptathlon, I hear the name Cooks. No way, could that be Riley? It sure was. Former Yosemite High great Riley Cooks (class of 2010) was competing in the heptathlon (seven events in two days) for Long Beach State.
The first day was the 100 meter hurdles, high jump, shot put and the 200. On day two she competed in the long jump, javelin, and 800m run.
She finished 15th overall out of 24 of the best collegiate heptathletes in the nation, with a score of 5,256. She had three top 10 marks in the competition - third in the 200m dash (24.53) - 7th in the javelin (131-7) - and 8th in the shot put (39-3).
Cook’s performance allowed her to compete at the United States Outdoor Track and Field Championships held at Sacramento State June 22-25. It is the best of the best in USA track and field. Despite competing in 100 degree-plus heat she managed another solid performance against elite heptathletes.
She finished with 5,232 points to place 15th, and again managed to place in the top 10 in three events - 7th in the shot put (41-25) - and 9th in the 200 meter dash (24.71) and the 100 hurdles (13.71).
One of Yosemite’s greatest athletes
Cooks was simply one of the greatest athletes, men or women, to compete at YHS. She occupies numerous top 10 all-time marks for the Badgers. She is No. 2 in the 100 meters (12.65), No. 4 in the 200 (26.58), and No. 3 in the 400 (59.64). Then-freshman Sayda Taylor broke Cook’s 100 record mark with a time of 12.54 in 2016.
In the field events, Cooks is No. 5 in the long jump (16-3) and tied for No. 9 in the high jump (4-8). These are all marks of a great all-around athlete. She was also a class valedictorian and received All-North Sequoia League honors in volleyball and soccer.
After graduation from YHS, she took her talents to Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo. At the 2014 California Community College State Track and Field Championships Riley took the heptathlon title with a Cuesta school record of 5,110 points. Riley left Cuesta as the record holder in the 100 hurdles (14.33) and long jump (18-10).
Cooks then took her athleticism to another level. For the last two seasons, she has competed for the 49ers of Long Beach State. Cooks, a 5-foot-8 senior majoring in film and electronic arts, made track and field history there. According to the 49er website she achieved the following accolades: 2017 NCAA Track and Field All-American, two-time Big West Heptathlon Champion (2016 & 2017), 2016 Big West Women’s Field Athlete of the Year, and the all-time heptathlon record holder for the 49ers with 5,569 points set in 2016, smashing a 25-year old record.
Her indoor track records are also impressive. Cooks leaves Long Beach as the record holder in the pentathlon ( five events in indoor track with 3,690 points) and the 60-meter hurdles (8.41). It seems wherever school Riley competes at she sets records.
For any of you who competed in track, either in high school or college like me, this is the stuff of legends. We all dream of competing at this level and Riley lived the dream.
Another YHS great - Glines released by White Sox
According to MLB.com, the official website for Major League Baseball, 2010 Yosemite graduate Jackson Glines was released by the Voyagers of the Pioneer League. Glines, drafted in the 10th round of the 2015 MLB Draft out of the University of Michigan, had played for two seasons with the Chicago White Sox affiliate.
Glines batted .240 in his 2015 rookie season with two home runs and 10 RBI’s with a .349 on-base percentage. In 2016, he batted .243 with two home runs and 25 RBI’s and a .393 on-base percentage. According to the White Sox minor league website www.chicagonow/futuresox Glines was released on March 27, with a number of other prospects from all of the White Sox farm clubs.
Glines, 25, had a stellar career for both YHS and the Wolverines. As a senior at Michigan, the center fielder hit .349 with 55 runs, 21 base hits and 34 RBI’s. He had a team leading .984 fielding percentage.
That season he lead the Big Ten Conference with an on-base percentage of .456, batted .359 (No. 2), had 79 hits (No. 3), 52 runs scored (No. 5), and a .514 slugging percentage (No. 7).
He graduated from the college of literature, science and the arts.
He even made the ESPN Sportscenter’s Top 10 with a spectacular over-the-head catch against Indiana in the 2015 season. In that same season Glines helped lead the Wolverines to their first NCAA playoff appearance since 2008.
Prior to Michigan, Glines was a standout at Fresno City where he played two seasons earning the Central Valley Conference Most Valuable Player in 2013 after hitting .374 with four home runs and 29 RBIs. He hit .393 in his freshman season after rehabbing from a devastating football injury in the fall of 2009 during his senior season as Yosemite’s quarterback.
Stardom happened early for him, batting .494 as a sophomore and .410 as a junior at YHS. He didn’t play baseball his senior season due to an injury suffered playing quarterback in the fall of 2009. Jackson also performed in the classroom where he was also a member of the school’s honor roll all four years at YHS.
At YHS, Jackson starred on the gridiron, the hardwood, as well as the baseball field. He was a multi-sport athlete, who like Cooks, can be considered one of the great Badger athletes of all time.