Bear River, NU tracksters come up short at section |

Bear River, NU tracksters come up short at section

It certainly wasn’t the finish either Rachel Welz or Nicole Jackson envisioned. Regardless, the Bear River duo capped off a solid season with solid performances during the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Track and Field Championships in Modesto.

They just weren’t quite good enough to qualify for the CIF state meet next weekend.

Welz placed fourth in the girls high jump and sixth in the long jump, Jackson placed sixth in the 100-meter hurdles and was ninth in the 300 low hurdles during competition at Modesto Junior College. Nevada Union senior Nancy Gutierrez also finished 11th in both the shot put and discus.

The top three finishers in each event – and athletes who achieved at-large qualifying marks – received invitations to the state meet next Friday and Saturday at Cerritos College in Norwalk. Welz qualified for last year’s state meet in the high jump.

Overall, it was a successful season for Welz, who on Monday was named Pioneer Valley League co-MVP for girls along with Oakmont’s Alicia Chambers. She also set a school record in the long jump with her school record 17-6 1/2 at the section Division III meet.

Good season?

“Yeah, I guess,” the junior said “Other than yesterday, I had a pretty decent year.

“I’ll be doing Junior Olympic stuff over the summer, so I’m not completely done yet,” Welz added, pointing out that she has qualified to compete in the high jump June 11 at the 47th annual Adidas Golden West Invitational in Folsom.

Welz faced high caliber talent in both of her events Thursday. She cleared 5-2 to finish tied for fourth in a high jump field that featured two previous section champions: Susan Jackson of Napa (2004) and Nicole Williams of Elk Grove Laguna Creek (2005). This time, Jackson won the event at a height of 5-8 that equaled her season best, while Williams took second (5-6) and Bella Vista’s Veronica Stimson went 5-4 for third-place.

Regardless of her place finish, Welz would have earned a state berth by making 5-4, a height she had cleared consistently for more than a month.

“I’ve been really consistent and my first attempt (on Thursday) was OK. But after that, it didn’t go so well,” Welz said. “That was quite a bit of a disappointment.”

Welz came back 30 minutes later and logged a mark of 17-4 1/4 for sixth-place during a long jump competition that saw the top three jumpers surpass 18 feet – led by Benicia sophomore Amber Purvis at 18-10.

“The long jump, I did better than I thought I would. I didn’t have the best attitude (after the high jump),” she said. “I was consistent … that was pretty much the highlight of my day.”

Welz had three jumps measured at better than 17 feet with a series that included marks of 16-9, 16-7, 17-4 1/4, 16-11, 17-3 and 17-1.

Thursday was a heart breaker for Jackson, who ran 46.10 (.05 off her personal record) in the trials Wednesday to qualify with the second-fastest time. The junior was running a solid fourth in Thursday’s final and was gaining ground on third when she hit the next-to-last hurdle and fell to the track surface. The Bruin recovered to finish the race, through she came in ninth with skinned knees and elbows. Tia Jones of Elk Grove Franklin won the race with a 44.94 clocking.

Jackson scored points with her sixth-place run of 15.79 in the 100-meter high hurdles. Stagg’s Candise Maxwell won in 14.64.

Nevada Union’s Gutierrez finished 11th in the girls shot put Thursday with a throw of 34 feet, 4 1/2 inches and 11th in the discus Wednesday with a season-best throw of 112-6. Lauren Guerrieri of Davis won the discus at 146-11 and Colleen Lenahan of Oak Ridge defended her section shot put title with a throw of 41-6 1/4.

Notes: Among the highlights on Thursday, Granite Bay’s Scott Roth and Ryan Shuler both cleared 17-feet to go 1-2 in the boys pole vault. Kyle Inks of Bret Harte placed third at 15-5 and Placer senior David Rhodes earned an at-large invitation to the state meet with his 14-11 clearance. … Granite Bay’s pole vault strength also showed in the girls final on Wednesday when Stephanie Bagen won at a height of 13-0 that ranks No. 6 in the nation this season. … Also on Wednesday, Elk Grove Franklin’s Zuheir Sharif soared 50-10 1/4 to win a duel in the boys triple jump against Neelon Greenwood of Fairfield, who finished second with a mark of 50-1 1/4.


To contact sports editor Dave Price, e-mail davidp@theunion .com or call 477-4240.

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