Yosemite girls track team wins NSL title for third straight season

Yosemite sophomore Sayda Taylor (12.9), left, and junior Peyton Garner (13.21) finished first and third in the 100 meter dash at the NSL Championship Meet May 3 at Badger Stadium.
Yosemite sophomore Sayda Taylor (12.9), left, and junior Peyton Garner (13.21) finished first and third in the 100 meter dash at the NSL Championship Meet May 3 at Badger Stadium. Sierra Star

The Yosemite High girls track and field team are champions once again, winning the North Sequoia League title for the third straight season.

The NSL championships were held May 3 at Badger Stadium, and unlike a lot of meets this season, weather conditions were nearly perfect by track standards. YHS Head Coach Walker Vaughn has now won 17 league titles between the boys and girls programs.

The girls took the title with 170 points (won seven events) over Kerman’s 128.

Sophomore Sayda Taylor won three events: 100 (12.90) and 200 (26.31) meters, and the high jump (5-3). She also took took second in the long jump (15-10), scoring 38 points overall to lead the Lady Badgers. Her high jump mark has her tied for No. 6 with three other girls in the entire Central Section. Her 100 and 200 times have her just out of the top 10 in the Section.

Since overcoming an early season quad injury (limited to the high jump for nearly half the season), Taylor has been getting stronger every week. Vaughn eased her into the sprints slowly in order to for her to be ready for the NSL Championships.

Scoring for the Lady Badgers came from 10 first place finishes, eight second, six third, four fourth, two fifth, and one sixth.

“Winning titles does not happen just winning a couple events - it’s about depth,” Vaughn said. “Our girls team has depth, especially in the sprints, hurdles, and jumps.”

Garner contributes 28 points

Junior Peyton Garner had another strong performance in what has been an outstanding season. She stepped up in Taylor’s absence early in the season and has contributed valuable points since Taylor’s return. Garner won the triple jump (32-4), was second in the 200 (27.34), third in the 100 (13.21) and fourth in the long jump (15-5), scoring 28 points. Her best triple jump mark on the season (35.5.5) has her tied at the No. 10 spot in the Central Section with Edison’s I-man Conley. Asia Mallory of Desert High is No. 1 at 38-8.

Senior Elyse Espe now has three titles in her YHS career. Espe, who is headed to Whittier College, won the 400 with a career best 1:02.87 and the 300 hurdles in 47.89. Those times have her just out of the Central Section top 10. Espe also placed second in the triple jump at 31-10. Espe, along with Alli Ruiz, Lily Stegge, and Karee Smith took second in the 4x100m relay (4:27.6)

Chloe Duke was winner in the 100 hurdles (17.63). YHS owned the hurdles scoring 40 points in both events. Lauren Peterson was third in the 100 hurdles and Ruiz fourth. Ruiz was third in the 300 hurdles and Duke fourth. Ruiz was also second in the 400 at (1:03.7). Overall Ruiz scored 18 points for the Badgers.

Senior Riley Ashton had a long day scoring in her three distance races: Fifth in the 800 (2:44.65), and sixth in 1600 (6:06.07) and the 3200 (13.27.65), as well as a seventh place tie in the pole vault with teammate Riley Ashton (7-3). Sierra’s Taylor won the event at 10-3.

Boys team finishes third

The Yosemite varsity boys finished third. Washington Union won the day but will finish second overall in the NSL to Kerman.

Issac Rumohr had his best overall performance of the year. The junior distance specialist was second in both the 1600 meters (4:55.19) and the 3200 (10:58.8), and was fourth in the 800 (2:13.14). Rumohr scored 20 points to lead the boys team.

Kevin Bulawsky (47-6) and Peter Martinez (44-2) finished one-two in the shot put. In the discus Martinez placed first (140-8) and Klay Kliest took second (122-7). Overall, YHS scored 38 of its 110 team points in the weights.

Bulawsky was second in the 110 high hurdles with a time of 16.81. Bulawsky injured his hamstring on the last hurdle and was not able to compete in the 300 hurdles or the discus. Cass Moreno saved the best for last, knocking off two seconds from his personal best as he took second in the 300 hurdles (43.91). He was fourth in the 110 high hurdles.

Senior Trevor Peter was fourth in the pole vault and high jump. Senior Noah West scored points in the 100, 200, and long jump.

The top performing athletes now move on to the D-II Sequoia-Sierra Championships May 10 at Exeter, with 47 teams registered to compete. The Yosemite girls will bring a strong contingent coming off their NSL title.

Field events begin at 4 p.m., and running events an hour later. The top three finishers will move on to the CIF Central Section Masters meet May 20 at Buchanan High.

Coach Vaughn stepping down after 15 years

After the meet, Vaughn announced to the team that he will be stepping down from his head coaching duties after the season.

In his 15-year tenure as track coach Vaughn can rightfully be called one of the most successful coaches in any sport in YHS history. Outside of cross country and volleyball, no program has won more league titles at YHS.

He competed in track at YHS (class of 1991) and for Fresno State. He was one of the greatest hurdlers in YHS history, as well as a 6-6 high jumper. “

“It was time ... I want to spend more time with family, although I plan on being around the program as an assistant,” Vaughn said.

Battle for Central Cal Meet

As a warmup to the NSL championships, YHS competed at the 17-team Battle for Central Cal track meet on April 28 at Buchanan High. YHS racked up some historic performances.

In the varsity boys discus, Bulawsky threw a career-best 150-1 to earn fifth place.

“It was a really windy day and we were throwing into a head wind,” Bulawsky said. “I got nearly a perfect throw on my third try. I knew it was a good one. It just felt great.”

Bulawsky was part of a record setting day in the discus. Senior Jonas Wilson of Clovis High unleashed a throw of 221-5. It is a new state record and the fifth best throw in the history of U.S. high school track and field. Yosemite junior Peter Martinez got off a throw of 145-8 for his career best.

In the 100 low hurdles, Duke took second (17.59), with Ruiz right behind for third (17.84).

In the 300 hurdles Espe was third (48.63) and Duke was fifth (51.15).

Garner was fifth in the triple jump (35-5) and Taylor was fifth in the 100 (12.85) and sixth in the 200 (26.20).

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