Photo by Nick Baker
Clovis North shot put extraordinaire McKay Johnson won the Masters with a throw of 63-6 ¾ and looks to medal in this year’s state meet.
By Paul Meadors, Sports Editor
If the Central Section Masters Championship is the ice cream sundae then surely the CIF State Track and Field Championship is the cherry on top.
And while a creamy treat is fulfilling in and of itself, there’s nothing wrong with indulging in a little extra – especially if your name is Hannah Waller, McKay Johnson or Yamilet Biggers.
This senior trio not only came away with Valley gold at the Central Section Masters meet on May 21, but surely wants to end the year with a bang and stand proud on the podium at the 2016 CIF State Track and Field Championships June 3-4 at beautifully renovated Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Winning gold at the Masters and qualifying for state on the boy’s side was Buchanan’s Paramveer Chohan in the 300 hurdles (38.32), Griffin Carter in the pole vault (14-6) and Jacob Wilson discus (195-1).
Gold for the girls included Buchanan’s Remington Mahlum triple jump (39-1 ½), Clovis North’s Lauren Moffet in the 3200 (10:50.77) and Rhesa Foster in the long jump (19-7 ¼), Clovis’ Alexis Vincent-Walker in the high jump (5-6) and Clovis West’s Shelby Noble in the pole Vault (12-7).
Buchanan won both the boys and girls team titles.
Buchanan track stars Waller and Biggers will both represent Buchanan in the 400 (No. 6 in state) and 1600 relays in the state meet after winning both events at the Masters with times of 47.08 and 3:54.08 respectively. But how cool would it be to medal on their home track in front of the home crowd?
“What I’m looking forward to the most is going into my last state meet with my best friends for the past four years,” said Waller, the anchor in both relays. “And just finishing up our year together in the best way we can.”
Biggers echoes that statement.
“It would be something very special to me to win in front of my home crowd because these aren’t just my teammates, they’re definitely more like sisters to me,” said Biggers. “I’ve grown with them over these last four years. Either way this last one will be special because of who I’m with and what we represent.”
Not to mention, Waller is the defending state 400 champ and won the Masters with a time of 54.43 and the 200 (23.82) while Biggers raced the race of her life in winning the 100 (12.17) and placing third in the 200 (24.96), good enough to qualify for state.
“Being a four-time Masters champion in the 400 means the world to me because I have been waiting for that moment since my freshman year of high school,” added Waller, who’s attending University of Oregon next year. “Knowing that I truly did it is just an amazing feeling.”
In addition, Clovis North’s McKay Johnson took care of business in the shot put at the Masters, his signature event, with a throw of 63-6 ¾ and is pumped about the state meet.
“Winning the shot put was a very good feeling,” said Johnson, who’s attending Cal on scholarship next year. “The number one priority on my list is PR’ing (personal best), then pushing for first. While I didn’t PR, I was within inches of my current best and very happy with the result.”
The key for Johnson at state is not worry about the competition but to focus on what he can control – himself.
“I would ultimately like to hit a good opener, and then get into competition mode and start a fun, aggressive throws competition,” said Johnson. “If I do that, along with cleaning up a few things, I’m expecting a good turnout in my results.”
The CIF State Track and Field Championships kick off on Friday, June 3 at 3 p.m. for field qualifying events followed by track qualifying event. The finals are set for Saturday, June 4 at 4:30 and 6:00 respectively.