Yosemite High School freshman Sayda Taylor made track history last week - she is only the second girl in the 40-year history of YHS to qualify for the CIF State Championships.
She qualified for state by placing second in the 200 meter dash at the May 21 Central Section Masters Meet, held at Buchanan’s Veterans Memorial Stadium, with a wind-aided time of 24.85. Oregon-bound Buchanan senior Hannah Waller won the event in 23.82. Waller also won the 400 (54.43) and is the defending state champion in that event.
Taylor’s second place finish earned her a trip to the State Championship meet at Buchanan June 3 (preliminaries) and 4 (finals).
“Sayda had a great performance,” Coach Walker Vaughn said. “Sayda ran a near-perfect race. We worked on key aspects of the race. Sayda practiced hard and really put it all together on the track. It was a beautiful race to watch and her best performance of the year.”
Taylor becomes only the second YHS female track athlete to earn a trip to state. Shelly Winchester, a senior in 1984, was the first. Additionally, only Fred Worstein (Class of 2001) made it to the state meet as a freshman, like Taylor, also in the 200.
“It’s amazing that Sayda will be running with the best in the state at only 14 years old, ” Vaughn said.
YHS athletes came off a strong performance in the Sierra/Sequoia Area Meet for D-II and small schools the week before the Masters.
Junior Elyse Espe finished another tremendous season with a seventh place finish in the 300m hurdles. Espe’s time of 47.8 was close to a personal best (47.1).
“Elyse is one of our hardest workers,” Vaughn said. “She runs a strong technical race and proved she is one of the best in the Valley.”
The girls 4x100 meter relay team of Lauren Peterson, Peyton Garner, Chloe Duke, and Taylor placed 11th overall but ran their fastest time of the year in 50.88. The time narrowly missed the school record of 50.48 set in 1983. It is one of the oldest school records at Yosemite and Vaughn was pleased with the performance.
“The team worked really hard on hand offs, spacing, and timing,” Vaughn said. “We really were fine-tuned and the team ran their best technical race of the season. This is a young group that will return intact next season. They want the record and I’m confident it will happen next season.”