Ceres High senior Austin Stiles managed to finish first overall in the high jump at the Western Athletic Conference Varsity Boys Track & Field Championships last week in Merced despite competing at less than full strength.
Stiles' final season with the Bulldogs was in doubt after he suffered a groin injury at Livingston on March 23.
"Whenever you get an injury like this, it's a possibility," Ceres High head coach Brett Johnson said. "He's done everything you can to get back out there. Massage. Chiropractor. Stretching. Icing. He jumped against Pacheco at our last dual to meet the minimum requirements to be able to compete (at the WAC finals). He pushes himself extremely hard to do well."
Stiles cleared six feet while winning the high jump at the WAC finals on Thursday at Golden Valley High School.
The top three finishers in each event advanced to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV-V meet, to be staged May 16 and 18 at Stanislaus State.
Stiles will be joined by Bulldog teammates Seth Gibson, Conner Johnson, Ulises Diaz, Christian Linarez, Johnni Smith-Willis, Isaac Soto, Angel Macias, Cordell Dennis and Blake Borba in Turlock this week.
Gibson placed first in the 110 hurdles (15.24). Seth took second in the event his junior year.
"I'm very excited for him," coach Johnson said. "He's an extremely, hard-working kid. He's very coachable."
Johnson placed first in the shot put (46-11) and seventh in the discus (115-10).
Conner won the shot-put title at the junior-varsity level as a sophomore.
"He burst on the scene and surprised a lot of people when he won the shot put at the County Clash," Brett Johnson said. "Once he did that, his confidence grew. He's done really well this year."
Diaz placed second in the 800 (2:05.99).
Linarez placed second in the 1,600 (4:44.95) and 10th in the 800 (2:23.31).
Smith-Willis placed third in the 100 (11.64) and fourth in the 200 (23.95).
Soto placed third in the pole vault (10-0).
Macias will compete at Divisionals as an alternate. Angel placed fourth in the 3,200 (11:17.01) at the WAC Championships. Ceres High's Isaac Leon (third place, 11:06.69) chose not to participate for an unspecified reason.
Ceres High's 4x100 relay team of Smith-Willis, Dennis, Diaz and Gibson placed first (45.21).
Ceres High's 4x400 relay team of Diaz, Borba, Gibson and Linarez placed second (3:37.25).
Ceres High's varsity girls team had one individual champion at the WAC Championships.
Sydney Elness won the triple jump (32-111/2).
She also placed third in the high jump (4-8) and seventh in the long jump (14-2).
"She had her best jump ever," coach Johnson said while talking about Elness' performance in the high jump.
Azia Brewster placed second in the 100 hurdles (16.95) and high jump (4-10).
Brewster took first in the high jump the previous two seasons and won the 100 hurdles her sophomore year.
Central Valley's Mahogany Simon edged Brewster in the 100 hurdles.
"They both stumbled at the end," Brett Johnson said. "Mahogany recovered faster and won the event."
Claudia Jimenez placed second in the 400 (1:05.26).
Julia Pata placed second in the shot put (33-6) and third in the discus (97-1).
Carli Gomes placed third in the 300 hurdles (53.13) and fourth in the 100 (13.64).
Rachael Thomas placed third in the 400 (1:07.86) and fifth in the triple jump (28-8).
Ceres High's 4x400 relay team of Destiny Adams, Rachael Thomas, Claudia Jimenez and Haleigh Leazer placed second (4:24.61).
Ceres High's boys earned 50 points while finishing second in the team standings.
Ceres High's girls (45) placed third overall.
"It was a great showing," coach Johnson said. "The kids did really well. I'm proud of them. We should have a good number of kids moving on to Masters."