The best and brightest stars were on stage at the Central Section Masters Meet and athletes from the Tri-River Athletic Conference stood tall, winning gold in 11 events with the Buchanan girls and Clovis North boys taking home team championships.
For Buchanan, it was its fourth straight Valley title and ninth overall.
Among the most shining was the Buchanan tandem of Meagen Lowe and Corie Smith, sporting the same shoes and colorful socks in now what has become a common and spectacular sight, dominating the distance events in their own backyard at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
First, Lowe won the 1600 (4:55.72) and Smith placed second (4:56.71). Later, in the 3200, they would flip-flop positions, Smith winning in 10:45.02 and Lowe following at 10:52.21.
“Basically, I just kind of went for it,” Smith said after running side by side with Lowe until the final lap. “I had only run the mile earlier in the day so I felt pretty good – I figured I could pick it up a little bit.”
Lowe ran the 800, definitely not her signature event, placing third and adding 8 points to Buchanan’s team total.
In the fall, Smith, a sophomore, won D-I state cross country gold and Lowe, a junior, placed second.
In other words, gets used to these two headlining track events for at least another year.
The two best friends talked more about their socks than the 3200 race itself, just minutes after the finish; Smith wearing yellow one with a turkey trot symbol, Lowe’s blue with a cactus and the phrase “free hugs” on the bottom.
“I have some pretty crazy ones but these are my lucky ones,” Lowe added.
The CIF State Track and Field Championships are held at Veterans Memorial Stadium June 1-2.
Clovis West’s Elizabeth Funk won the pole vault with a jump of 13 feet, good for second in the state this season and fourth best all-time in the Central Section. She placed sixth in last year’s state meet at 12-6.
“It felt great making that bar knowing that I can consistent with it from now on,” Funk said. “I tell myself it’s just another jump and do what you know how to do.”
One of the most impressive performances of the meet, under gorgeous weather all day long, was Clovis senior Jake Woods’ 37.56 in the 300 hurdles, placing him fourth overall in section history and currently fourth best in the state.
Woods stared at the scoreboard in semi-disbelief then was asked if he believed he could put up that time: “I did but I didn’t, because that’s a very fast time. But I always learned to go in with high expectations.”
Buchanan junior Zion Chatman won the 400 with a time of 49.15.
“I came out here after putting in hard work,” Chatman said, after finishing fifth last year. “I knew what I was up against and I was prepared. I feel great and am excited that this hard work paid off.”
However, it was the Clovis North boys team that thoroughly impressed, especially the relay teams and a sophmore that burst onto the track and field scene.
The 4×100 team of Christian Wood, Christian, Caleb Foster, Naythn Scruggs and Kurtis Kobzeff sprinted to a 41.41 time, good for third in state and established a new school record. The 4×400 team consisting of Derek Bell, Tyler Ximines, Alex Fusselman and Kobzeff blazed at 3:20.49.
Foster, a sophomore, won the 110 hurdles (14.12) and placed second in the 100m (10.70) and long jump (23-04).
“It’s a great feeling, the kids have been working really hard this year,” Clovis North coach Rich Brazil said. “Last year we were so close and this fall when we came back the kids were super excited for the season. From Day 1 they were talking about this as being the goal.”
CUSD BOYS TOP 3 FINISHES:
400 relay: 1st: Christian Wood, Caleb Foster, Naythn Scruggs and Kurtis Kobzeff (41.41); 3rd: Zach Anderson, Jake Woods, Sebastian Criego, Femi Ogunjemiyo (42.71).
1600: 3rd: Isaiah Galindo (4:18.91).
110 hurdles: 1st: Caleb Foster, Clovis North, (14,12); 2nd: Jake Woods, Clovis (14.42)
400: 1st: Zion Chatman (Buchanan, 49.15).
100: 2nd: Caleb Foster, Clovis North (10.70), 3rd: Kurtis Kobzeff (10.73)
3200: 3rd: Isaiah Galindo, Clovis North (9:34.62)
1600 relay: 1st: Clovis North boys (Derek Bell, Tyler Ximines, Alex Fusselman, Kurtis Kobzeff, 3:20.49).
300 hurdles: 1st: Jake Woods (Clovis, 37.56).
Discus: 2nd: Christian Johnson, Buchanan (54-03.25); 3rd Tobin Phillips, Clovis North 54-01.25
Long jump: 2nd: Caleb Foster, Clovis North (23-04.00); 3rd: Christian Wood, Clovis North (23-03.00)
Shot put: 3rd: Christian Johnson, Buchanan (168-09)
Triple jump: 1st: Jared Whitt (Clovis North, 74-02.50).
High jump: 2nd: Shomari Somerville, Clovis North (6-06); 3rd: Stanley Cain, Clovis West (6-04)
CUSD GIRLS TOP 3 FINISHES:
100 relay: 3rd: Rachel Rucker, Ashtyn Adams, Elleyse Wheaton, Chloe Sharp, Clovis North (48.28)
1600: 1st: Meagen Lowe, Buchanan (4:55.72); 2nd: Corie Smith, Buchanan (4:56.71)
400: 3rd: Chloe Sharp, Clovis North (57.35)
200: 1st: Shelby Daniele, Buchanan (24.82)
3200: 1st: Corie Smith, Buchanan (10:45.02); 2nd: Meagen Lowe, Buchanan (10.52.21); 3rd: Sydney Fox, Buchanan (11:02.04)
Pole vault: 1st: Elizabeth Funk, Clovis West (13-00); 2nd: Taylor Hohenbrink, Buchanan (11-11)
High jump: 1st: Alexis Vincent-Walker, Clovis (5-06.00)
Shot put: 2nd: Maren Butler, Buchanan (44-01.50); 3rd: Jordan Williams, Clovis North (42-02.50)
Triple jump: 3rd: Anaya Sperling, Buchanan (38-07.75)