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Central Valley boys take second, girls tie for third at WAC finals
Hernandez, Simon dominate competition
Sherlyn Hernandez and her Central Valley High School varsity track and field teammates will compete at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV-V Championships this week at Cal State State Stanislaus. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Central Valley High School's varsity track and field program will be sending 14 athletes to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV-V Championships this week in Turlock.

Heaven Simon, Sherlyn Hernandez, Emerald Gutierrez, Mikayla Mabie, Kristie Del Valle, Angelo Bermudez, Ja'Quan Gardner, Kendel Johnson, Alex Vazquez, Kenneth Padilla, Jordan Sek, Ben Saldana, Jose Uribe and Daniel Lepe advanced to Divisionals after finishing in the top three in their respective events at the Western Athletic Conference Championships on May 10 in Patterson.

"I'm definitely happy," Hawks head coach Mike Reynolds said. "We had a good day as far as where we finished for both boys and girls. I think we have the best talent in the league."

Bermudez, Gardner, Johnson, Vazquez, Padilla, Sek, Saldana, Uribe, Lepe and Allen Keefe helped propel Central Valley's boys team to a runner-up finish at the WAC meet (51 points).

Patterson claimed the team title (60).

Livingston (42), Central Catholic (36), Pacheco (34), Ceres High (25) and Los Banos (8) placed third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively.

"We were strong in all areas," Reynolds said. "Patterson has depth. It was close. It (finishing first at the WAC finals) would have been a nice bonus to a good season."

Central Valley's 4x100 relay team of Bermudez, Gardner, Johnson and Vazquez placed first (45.56).

Gardner placed first in the 100 (11.01), second in the long jump (18-81/4) and ninth in the 200 (24.11).

Padilla placed first in the pole vault (11-6) and third in the high jump (5-8).

Sek placed second in the high jump (5-8).

Saldana placed second in the 3,200 (10:28.65) and fourth in the 1,600 (4:49.28).

Uribe placed second in the discus (135-9) and fifth in the shot put (41-43/4).

Johnson placed third in the 100 (11.42) and fifth in the 200 (23.23).

Lepe placed third in the 110 hurdles (16.58) and fifth in the 300 hurdles (46.53).

Keefe placed fourth in the high jump (5-6), fifth in the pole vault (10-6) and 10th in the long jump (15-10).

Simon, Hernandez, Gutierrez, Mabie and Del Valle helped lead Central Valley's girls team to a tie for third place in the team standings (39 points) with Patterson.

Livingston (74), Ceres High (50), Los Banos (38), Pacheco (11) and Central Catholic (5) placed first, second, fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively.

"We did what we were supposed to do," Reynolds said. "We competed."

Hernandez and Simon both won four WAC titles.

Sherlyn swept the 100 (12.64) and 200 (25.88). She set a WAC record in the latter event.

Heaven placed first in the 400 (1:04.68) and 300 hurdles (48.53). She successfully defended her 400 title.

Hernandez and Simon were also part of the Hawks' WAC record-setting 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams.

Central Valley's 4x100 relay team of Gutierrez, Mabie, Simon and Hernandez placed first (52.78).

Central Valley's 4x400 relay team of Simon, Mabie, Del Valle and Hernandez placed first (4:17.12).

"They're such high-caliber athletes," Reynolds said. "They're both going to run faster the next few weeks."

Mabie placed third in the triple jump (30-10).

Central Valley's athletes will look to extend their seasons at Divisionals this week.

The meet will be staged at Stanislaus State on Tuesday and Thursday.

The top five finishers in each event qualify for the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Championships, to be held May 29 and 30 at Elk Grove High School.

"The competition jumps way up," Reynolds said. "We got a good group of athletes."