Photos by Nick Baker
By Paul Meadors, Sports Editor
If the league and area meets are any indication that the best is yet to come, then we are in for some amazing performances at the Valley and state level by some amazing athletes.
The Tri-River Athletic Conference championships and North Area track and field meet were held on May 7 and 11, important events to be sure. But waiting in the wings are the Central Section Masters Meet May 21 and the granddaddy of them all – the CIF State Track and Field Meet June 3-4, both held at beautiful Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Buchanan swept both the boys and girls TRAC team titles, with six boys and nine girls winning events led by Bear superstars Paramveer Chohan (400, 110 and 300 hurdles), Hannah Waller (200, 400, 1,600 relay) Yamilet Biggers (100, 400 and 1,600 relay), and Remington Mahlum 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles and triple jump.
Chohan said he wasn’t pleased with his 300h time (39.50) in the TRAC meet but knows exactly what he needs to do to win Valley saying: “I’m focusing on having clean hurdle races and winning them.” He currently has the No. 2 time, 37.05, in the state.
Waller, the powerful runner and defending state champion in the 400, states that she is at peak performance level and was extremely pleased with her showings at both meets. She broke the area meet record in the 400 with a time of 54.11. She points to three bullet points heading into the Valley meet: “No. 1 give it all I got and put it out there for my team, No. 2 stay as positive as I can be, and No. 3 go out with a bang and leave my mark for many to remember for years.”
McKay Johnson of Clovis North won both the discus (178-7¾ ) and shot put (63-7½) in the TRAC championships, besting Buchanan’s Jacob Wilson (63-5½, 176-2¾) in both events. The two are not only competitors on the field but also close friends off the field; after the meet they went to In-N-Out and then saw “Captain America: Civil War,” an apropos movie to watch.
“After the competition I was fired up to say the least,” said Johnson who is attending Cal next year. “I’m always encouraging during and after we compete – that’s how it should be regardless of what side you end up on. When it’s not your day, shake the winners hand and get back to work.”
Johnson also points to the support of his family as being a key to his success this season. And he wasn’t done after the league meet – he went on to win the North Area meet with a better throw of 63-9, a personal best and third best in the state this season. Wilson won the discus with a throw of 179-7.
“Both meets (Valley and state) will be great competitions,” said Johnson. “Jacob and I have competed against the top five guys in the state in both events and competed well. These competitions will be memorable for many considering it is one of the deepest years in state history for both shop put and discus.”
Clovis North’s Lauren Moffet, who’s attending Vanderbilt, swept the 1,600 and 3,200 in both meets including a meet record 4:54.20 at North Area meet in the 1,600.
Other Clovis athletes who won their North Area events include boys 800: Izaiah Flores, Clovis, 1:59.03; 1,600: Chris Kolar, Buchanan, 4:23.63; 3,200: Hayden Hansen, Buchanan, 9:50.56; High jump: Jacob Veres, Clovis North, 6-5; Pole vault: Zach Bethel, Clovis West, 14-0; Long jump: Maxwell Bessard, Clovis West, 21-11; Triple jump: Chuby Dunu, Buchanan, 43-4½.
Girls 800: Meagen Lowe, Buchanan, 2:16.32; 1,600 relay Brooke Watts, Danae Manibog, Yamilet Biggers, Hannah Waller, Buchanan, 3:55.73; 400 relay Brenae Wellington, Danae Manibog, Hannah Waller, Yamilet Biggers, Buchanan 48.42; Pole vault: Brooke Tjerrild, Clovis North, 11-9; High jump: Alexis Vincent-Walker, Clovis, 5-4; Discus: Cari Acosta, Buchanan, 129-5¾; Shot put: Mackenzie Curtis, Clovis North, 37-10½.