Prior to the season, it was generally assumed by most North Sequoia League track coaches that the Sierra would be the team to beat. After all, the Chieftains were coming off an NSL championship last season. But that was last season. The Yosemite girls have something to say this season, and the team made a definite statement after winning the first of three NSL track and field practice meets April 15, at Washington Union.
The Badger girls, led by four first place finishes by Taylor Burrall, scored 161 points for the win.
Overall YHS won eight of 16 events. Sierra was second with 93 points, and Liberty placed third with 71 points.
The NSL conducts three practice meets prior to the NSL league championships. Points accumulated in practice meets carry over to league finals.
“This was a great start for our girls,” Coach Walker Vaughn said. “Taylor obviously had a tremendous day, but all the girls gave it their all. Most of our team competes in four events and we scored in most.”
Burrall’s wins came in the 100 meter hurdles (16.78), the 300m hurdles (48.75), high jump (5-2), and triple jump (32-3). Her 5-2 in the high jump was a season best.
Elyse Espe took the 400 meters at 1:03.19. Espe also took second in the 300m hurdles (49.10) and ran on the winning 4x400m relay (4:36.64). Espe also scored in her only field event taking second in the triple jump at 30-6.
Distance runner Ellen Saunders knew she had big shoes to fill with the graduation of Britney Hughey. Saunders more than filled the gap by winning the 1600m in 6:11.56 and 3200m in 13:50. She also took second in the 800m in a time of 2:46.35.
“Ellen’s performances were huge for us,” Vaughn said. “It’s a lot to ask a runner to be in three distance events, but Ellen has worked hard and you can see it on the track.”
Sprinter Lauren Peterson scored big for YHS taking second in the 100m hurdles (17.64) and the 200 (27.8). Peterson was third in the 100 running 13.34. Peterson was also part of the second place 4x100m relay team.
In the field events Burrall got a lot of help. Katie Whitcomb took second in the long jump leap of 15-1 and was third in the triple jump at 29-7. YHS went 1-2-3 in the triple jump, their highest scoring event.
Christen Cogdell had a strong discus throw of 94-2, good for second place. Cogdell also took fifth in the pole vault at 8-6.
Kailei Gould jumped 4-8 in the high jump good for third place, and Christy Halbert was fourth in the pole vault (8-6) and firth in discus (71-4).
Mulkey gets three wins
YHS took fourth in the varsity boy’s meet with 45 points. Sierra was first with 111 points, and Union was a distant second with 73.
The Badgers scored wins in four events, with three coming from distance runner Jonathan Mulkey. Stepping in for 2014 graduates Alek Simpson, and Liam Womack, Mulkey won the brutal triple of the 800m (2:13.06), 1600 (5:07.6), and 3200 (12:15.23).
Matthew Martinez provided virtually the rest of the varsity scoring, taking first in the 100m hurdles (19.62), second in the 300 hurdles (47.8), second in the 200 (23.44), and fourth in the 100 (11.4). Bryan Godoy placed third in discus with a throw of 106-3.
YHS frosh/soph gets first meet victory
The Yosemite frosh/soph boys also took the first at the practice meet. It was a three-way race but YHS came out on top with 74 points. Sierra was second with 64 and host Washington Union placed third with 63 points.
The Badgers had four first place finishes and three second places.
“Seeing the varsity boy’s didn’t have the numbers to compete for a title, I moved guys down to frosh/soph to get experience winning,” Vaughn said. “This should pay off for next year.”
The Badgers got it done in the field events scoring 52 points. YHS won four of five 5 field events.
Peter Martinez won the shot at 40-5 and discus 102-5. David O’Brian won the high jump with a height of 5-2. O’Brian also scored well on the track, with a second in the 400m at 59.9, and third in the 1600 in 5:14.
Jesse De La Cruz took the long jump at 35-11. In the sprints De La Cruz was second in the 100 (11.2) and the 200 (24.2). Both were season best performances for the freshman. He also took third in the pole vault at 7-6, track’s most technical event. Peter Cresci of YHS got second at 8-0. Cresci also got third in the 3200 in 13:39.
Taylor Cuartilon placed third in the high jump (4-10) and fourth in the pole vault (7-6).
Burrall scores big at West Coast Relays
Burrall continued her dominating performances at the NSL meet to perhaps the premier high school track and field event in the Central Valley the April 18 West Coast Relays. The 88th annual classic was held at Buchanan’s Veterans Memorial Stadium, site of the upcoming 2015 high school state track and field championships. 84 teams and 956 athletes participated in the invitation-only event.
“This was top level competition,” Vaughn said. “Not only were there the best Central Section track athletes, but schools from all over California. Teams want to compete at the state venue. For Taylor, it was great competition and she responded well.”
Burrall , the only YHS athlete at the meet, competed in two events - the high jump and triple jump. She was second in the seeded triple jump with a mark of 33-1. Burrall was third in the invitational high jump at 5-1.
On April 17, the JV edition of the West Coast relay were held with 25 teams participating.
“The JV West Coast Relays are really growing,” Vaughn said. “It gives underclassmen who wouldn’t qualify for varsity events the chance to compete at a high level and in a tremendous track venue. I was really pleased with our JV performers. The team did well, especially after winning their first league practice meet two days earlier.”
Yosemite highlights (Girls): Lauren Peterson 4th, 100m hurdles (18.1), 10th 100 (13.64); Elyse Espe 3rd, 300 hurdles (49.93), 4th, triple jump (31-02), and 8th, 400m (1:04.2); Gabriella Stegge, 3rd long jump (14-10); 4x100m relay 8th, (Hailey Abrahams, Espe, Peterson & Stegge). Yosemite highlights (Boys): Peter Martinez, 10th, discus (104-8).