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Quality athletes show for NU meet

A blue chip field of athletes will be showcased today when the Nevada Union Invitational track and field meet is held at Hooper Stadium.

Approximately 900 athletes representing 28 schools will be on hand for the competition, which gets underway with frosh-soph field events at 10 a.m. and field events at 10:30. Action in the varsity meet is tentatively scheduled for a 3:30 p.m. start.

Some top athletes representing both the Sac-Joaquin and Northern sections are due to compete. Some are near or at the top of their charts statewide and nationally.



“I think there’s going to be a lot of good stuff to watch and a lot of good people,” Nevada Union coach Gene Meyers said. “There should be some really good performances.”

Just a sampling of the blue-chip performers includes:




• Look no further than the boys distance races. Oak Ridge senior Scott Crawford is ranked No. 1 in California and No. 2 in the U.S. in the 800 meters (1 minute, 51.60 seconds), and even though he is opting to run the 400 and 1,600 tonight, Marlon Patterson of Elk Grove Franklin has run 1:52.09 (No. 3 California, No. 4 U.S.) and Jesuit’s Michael Salvatierra has run 1:57. The 1,600 should feature Crawford, ranked No. 6 in the state (4:11.78); and Folsom’s Jake Matthews (4:17).

• Zuheir Sharif of Franklin ranks No. 1 statewide in the triple jump with his best of 50 feet, 2 inches at the Arcadia Invitational last month and placed second at last year’s state meet. Sharif also ranks No. 4 in the long jump (23-1 1/4).

• Alex Wilright of Franklin is ranked No. 2 statewide in the 300-meter intermediate hurdles (37.34). He placed fifth at last year’s state meet. Wilright will also lock horns with Chico’s Sam Glusman in the 110 highs.

• One of the girls to watch is Oak Ridge junior Alex Kosinski, who is ranked No. 3 in the state and ranked nationally in both with the 800 (2:10.82) and 1,600 (4:45.96) times she ran last Saturday at the Sacramento Meet of Champions. Kosinski placed second in the 1,600 at last year’s state meet.

• Of local interest, one of the best events could be the girls 300-meter low hurdles. Tia Jones of Franklin ran 45.06 at the Meet of Champions, 10th fastest in the state this season, and Bear River junior Nicole Jackson’s 46.35 effort in the same meet also ranks among the best in the state.

• Bear River’s Rachel Welz is also looking to contend for honors in the high jump, long jump and both hurdles. Welz, a state meet qualifier last year, has gone 5-4 this season and coach Barbara Frank says the junior is “itching to get back to 5-6,” her personal best from last year. Welz has also gone 17-4 1/2 in the long jump this season.

• Three of the state’s top 10 in the girls shot will be on hand. Franklin’s Falavina Takapu (46-5) and Brittany Venter (44-3) are the top two seeds. Colleen Lenahan of Oak Ridge (42-6), who has committed to Harvard, is the defending section champion. Nevada Union senior Nancy Gutierrez has thrown 35-1 this season and is seeded No. 6. Gutierrez is also seeded fifth in the discus.

• One of the highlights at last year’s Nevada Union Invitational was Granite Bay’s Scott Roth and his meet record-setting 16-5 mark in the pole vault. Roth is currently No. 1 statewide, based on his 17-4 1/4 clearance at the Nike Indoor Nationals in March, however, the University of Washington-bound senior is entered in the open division for Saturday’s 65th Modesto Relays.

Also of note, the meet will feature two coaches who have been involved with track and field as well as cross country in the Sacramento area since the 1960s and ’70s – Del Campo co-coach Bob King and Jesuit co-coach Walt Lange.

Today’s meet will also showcase some talented frosh-soph athletes, according to Meyers.

“It used to be freshmen and sophomores got to go all the way to sections, but the last few years, league has been the end of the line for them,” he said. “What Sig (Ostrom, Nevada Union coach) wanted to do was give those kids an opportunity to compete in a good big meet, and it seems to have worked out pretty well.”

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

INFO

What: Nevada Union Invitational

When: Today, 10 a.m. frosh-soph field events, 10:30 running events; 3:30 p.m. varsity events

Where: Hooper Stadium

Schools: Bear River, Bella Vista, Casa Roble, Chico, Colfax, Del Campo, Durham, Florin, Folsom, Foothill, Franklin (Elk Grove), Granite Bay, Highland, Jesuit, Lindhurst, Loretto, Nevada Union, Oak Ridge, Oakmont, Placer, Pleasant Valley, Ponderosa, Red Bluff, River Valley, Roseville, Vanden, Woodcreek, Yuba City.


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