Yosemite High track off to fast start at Clovis East Carnival

In its first meet of the season, the The Yosemite High track team looked strong in the small division at the Clovis East Carnival last week. Overall, the Badgers came away with eight wins (five boy’s and three girls) in the 10-team event.

The Yosemite girls showed depth, winning three events and placing in the top three in 13 of 16 events. The YHS girls owned the jumping events (pole vault, long jump, triple jump, and high jump). Yosemite swept the triple jump and took first and second in the long jump and high jump, and second and third in the pole vault.

Senior Taylor Burrall, record-setting shot blocker in basketball, and fresh off a run in the CIF play-offs, won the high jump at five-feet even, and took second in the triple jump at 31-0.

Junior Katie Whitcomb won the long jump with a leap of 14-7, and took second in the triple jump at 28-4.

In the distance races, senior Ellen Saunders took second in the 1600 meters (6:14.05) and second in the 3200m (14.40.24). Sophomore Rachel Mattos took second in the 800m with a time of 2:45.03. Mattos also took third in the 3200m in 14:59.94. Lauren Peterson took third place in the 100m with a time of 14.06.

Ashlee Harrell took second in the high jump (4-feet-6), Christen Cogdill second in the pole vault (8-feet), and Gabrielle Stegge took second in the long jump (14-feet-5).

Mulkey has triple-win day

Yosemite junior Jonathan Mulkey took three firsts in the meet - 800 meters (2:08.54), 3200m (10:45.47), and the pole vault (11-feet-6). Mulkey’s 800m and pole vault efforts placed him in the Yosemite track & field record book for the two events. Mulkey’s vault is the No.2 all-time mark at YHS shared with Ryan Simon (2009). David Gans (1987) owns the 28-year old record with a vault of 13-0. Mulkey’s 800m time is now No. 8 all-time at YHS.

Matthew Martinez won the 110m high hurdles with a time of 21.2 and took second in the 300m low hurdles at 49.41. Jonathon Zohos took first in the shot put with a mark of 41-3.

Season outlook

Head coach and former YHS alum Walker Vaughn is beginning his 18th season with the Badgers. The Yosemite track team has been one of the most successful programs in school history. Vaughn’s boy’s team has taken league titles in 10 of the last 12 seasons, including winning three straight North Sequoia League championships. That run will be severely tested this season. YHS, Liberty, and Sierra will contend for the NSL title this season.

The boy’s suffered huge losses to last spring’s graduation. YHS graduated the greatest distance combo in school history in Alek Simpson and Liam Womack. The boy’s also lost their best hurdler when Jason Lee transferred. Still there is optimism.

“We are not going to be as deep as last season with the boy’s team,” Vaughn said. “We still have talent to win events, but not the depth as we had last season.”

The boy’s team will be led by Mulkey, who will will anchor the distance events and pole vault - a unique combination.

“Jonathan is a great athlete,” Vaughn said. “His ceiling is almost unlimited. When he graduates he could easily have school records in distance events and the pole vault.”

Matthew Martinez and Braveheart Sauceda are running the hurdles.

“Matt (Martinez) is in his first year of track, but has raw talent,” Vaughn said. “He is improving every week and will be a factor in league.”

Junior sprinter Kevin Kirk will lead the sprint corps.

YHS should also be strong in the weights. Senior Jonathan Zohos will compete in the shot and discus. Zohos, in his first year of track (Lineman of the year on the YHS football team), has hit 44-feet in practice. Sophomore Peter Martinez, brother of Matt, has hit 43-feet and will eventually move to varsity.

For the girls team it has been five years since the last championship, but that could change in 2015. The girls team is loaded with talent and have depth.

“This may be the strongest girl’s program I’ve seen here in five years,” Vaughn said. “There is a lot more depth than the last two seasons and this is a young team. We held our own the past two years, but couldn’t win league. Sierra is the league favorite, but we’ll give them a run.”

Senior Taylor Burrall will lead the jumpers which is the strength of the program. Christen Cogdill, Katie Whitcomb, Ashlee Harrell, and Gabrielle Stegge form the corps of the jumpers. Sophomore Elyse Espe

and Cogdill will team up in the hurdles and Lauren Peterson will anchor the sprints. “Elyse is a hard worker and should have a great season,” Vaughn said. “She just ran a 64 second 400m that already puts her in the top ten.”

Despite the loss of distance great Brittney Hughey ,YHS is still in good shape. Freshman Rachel Mattos and senior Ellen Saunders will lead the distance team.

“Ellen and Rachel are a strong combination,” Vaughn said. “Ellen is poised to have a great season. Her performance at Clovis East was outstanding. Rachel had a great meet at Clovis East and she will build on that.”

Vaughn said most of the track team frequently runs four events which makes it challenging.

“We are working hard on conditioning and preparing for league - it’s going to be a fun year,” Vaughn concluded.