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Bulldog athletes earn praise for peformances in Elk Grove
Bulldog junior Conner Johnson placed 20th in the shot put at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Varsity Boys Track & Field Championships last week at Elk Grove High School. - photo by DAVE CAMPBELL/The Courier

Ceres High School's varsity track and field program sent seven athletes to the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Championships this past week in Elk Grove, including Seth Gibson, Conner Johnson, Johnni Smith-Willis, Cordell Dennis, Ulises Diaz, Azia Brewster and Julia Pata.

"They made it to Masters," Bulldogs head coach Brett Johnson said. "That's not too shabby. I can't be upset with them for not advancing to state. They did the best they could. I'm proud of them."

Gibson wrapped up his athletic career with the Bulldogs by finishing 15th overall in the 110 hurdles (15.51).

Seth placed fourth at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV-V competition (15.26) and first at the Western Athletic Conference finals (15.24).
Johnson took 20th in the shot put (44-73/4).

"I definitely should have done better," Conner said. "I didn't have any pressure on me. I wasn't seeded high."

Johnson set a personal record (47-41/2) while finishing in fourth place at Divisionals.

Conner placed first in the shot put (46-11) at the WAC Championships. He won the title at the junior-varsity level as a sophomore.

Seeded eighth, Johnson took first in the shot put (45-11) at Stanislaus/Merced County Clash IV.

I'm definitely satisfied," he said. "I exceeded my expectations. I worked really hard this season to perfect my form. I improved my distance by almost four feet. That's pretty impressive. Hopefully, I can make it to state in the future. It's going to take a lot of dedication."

Ceres High's 4x100 boys relay team of Smith-Willis, Dennis, Diaz and Gibson placed 23rd (44.21).

Brewster tied for 13th in the girls high jump.

The junior cleared 4-11.

She missed all three of her attempts at 5-1.

Azia placed second (5-2) at Divisionals.

"She's done something few people do," coach Johnson said. "She's gone to Masters three consecutive years. She wants to be great. I hope she can take the next step her senior year."

Pata, a first-year thrower, placed 22nd in the shot put (31-13/4).

"She didn't have her best day," Brett Johnson said. "She did the best she could. She's got a ton of natural talent. I'm excited to see what she can do next year."