By Paul Meadors, Sports Editor
If one thing is for certain, senior Buchanan track star Hannah Waller is hungry for more – and so are her Bear teammates.
Waller, the defending 400 state champion, is on a mission this season—a scary thought indeed—after blowing away the competition last year and hasn’t let up this season. She’s training as hard as ever, not taking any moment for granted.
“I’m enjoying every single part of my season and I couldn’t be any more satisfied with how things are going,” said Waller who has officially signed with the University of Oregon. “The season is moving very fast and I’ve been keeping up with the pace well. Halfway through the season I couldn’t be any happier.”
It’s easy to imagine how dominant Waller was last year in the 400 at the state level, clocking a 53.13 at the CIF State Track and Field Championships held at Veterans Memorial Stadium. Her time was 1.16 better than second place, an eternity in track time.
Waller also runs the 200, placing eighth in the state last season and has a goal to improve on that time and hopefully lead Buchanan to a girl’s gold at this year’s state meet, held again at Veterans Memorial Stadium on June 3-4.
“The goal is to defiantly defend my title but now I’m excited to set my goals even higher than before,” continues Waller, who also points out this is the healthiest she’s ever felt. “I’m working to placing higher in the 200, winning the 4×4 relay with my team and going for the overall state team title.”
And for the entire Buchanan track and field program, defending their TRAC title and CIF Central Section title is a goal as is improving on last year’s fifth place finish for the girls.
“Our team goal is first to have big numbers, then have as many athletes qualify for the post season as possible,” said head coach Brian Weaver. “Also, be a program that is competitive in the league, section and the state.”
Weaver notes that on the boy’s side Paramveer Chohan has improved tremendously in the hurdles and junior thrower Jacob Wilson has become a major force at the state level. In fact, Wilson leads the state in the discus with a throw of 190-01 on March 19 at the Gateway to Track and Field Invitational, a throw also good enough for No. 3 in the Nation. Jacobs is also third in the state with a shot put throw of 62-02.
Chohan currently holds the Valley’s top 400 time at 49.04 and 300 intermediate hurdles at 38.27. Waller is No. 2 in the state in the 200 with a time of 24.41.
On Saturday, April 2, Veterans Memorial Stadium hosted the 89th West Coast Relays and Waller was busy, winning the 200 (24.55), 400 (54.67) and ran on the winning 400 (47.29) and 1,600 (3:57.29) relay teams. The 400 relay team also consists of Brenae Wellington, Danae Manibog and Yamilet Biggers.
This is a big year for Weaver and the city of Clovis in terms of elite meets. The USATF Junior Outdoor Championships will be held at Veterans Memorial on June 24-26 and the CIF State Championship June 3-4.
“As both of these events get closer the talk among track fans is amazing,” says Weaver. “People are looking to some top performers returning and then turn around and compete at the junior meet. The junior meet is another level of competition as it brings the best high school and college freshmen together.”
But for now, the Buchanan teams are focused on bringing their best efforts to practice and every meet. The best ingredient? Being a positive influence.
“Every day I’m always giving constant reminders and encouragement to my teammates and it truly shows in return right back to me,” says Waller. “We believe highly in positivity and mindset and we can’t d those things alone without the help of others.”