Central Valley High School's varsity track and field program will be sending a single-season best 11 athletes to the Sac-Joaquin Section Championships this week at Elk Grove High School.
Heaven Simon, Sherlyn Hernandez, Emerald Gutierrez, Mikayla Mabie, Kristie Del Valle, Ja'Quan Gardner, Alex Vazquez, Angelo Bermudez, Kendel Johnson, Jose Uribe and Kenneth Padilla extended their seasons after placing in the top five in their respective events at the Division IV-V competition, held May 20 and 22 at Cal State Stanislaus.
"Last year, it was just me and Heaven," Gardner said. "We have 11 athletes going this year. That's a big improvement. I'm proud of myself and teammates."
Added Hawks head coach Mike Reynolds: "All of our kids are starting to peak."
Gardner took second in the 100 (10.96).
"I've been practicing really hard with help from my coaches," Ja'Quan said. "I still have some room for improvement. Time-wise, I'm right up there with the top guys in the section. I'm happy where I'm at."
Ja'Quan bested his school record while finishing first in the 100 (10.83) during trials.
"I was really surprised," he said. "The coaches knew I had it in me. I'm just going out there and having fun. I like track a lot."
"He ran a great race," Reynolds said. "Realistically, he has a shot at state."
Gardner would have cut his season short this past week had he opted to attend Central Valley's senior class trip to Six Flags Magic Mountain.
"I definitely wanted to go have fun with my classmates," he said. "But I'm not really mad about it. I had someone buy me a sweater down there."
"I did the same thing when I was in high school so I could high jump," Reynolds said. "It's not an easy decision. It's a big sacrifice. But you can always go to Disneyland."
Central Valley's 4x100 relay team of Vazquez, Gardner, Bermudez and Johnson placed third in a school-record time (43.11).
Uribe set a personal record en route to a third-place finish in the discus. Jose had a mark of 144 feet.
Padilla was named an alternate for Masters. He set a PR while taking sixth in the pole vault. Kenneth cleared 12-2.
He also tied for 18th in the high jump (5-4).
Johnson, Jordan Sek, Daniel Lepe and Ben Saldana failed to advance in their individual events.
Sek tied for 11th in the high jump (5-7).
Daniel Lepe placed 12th in the 110 hurdles (16.49).
Ben Saldana placed 16th in the 3,200 (10:35.39).
Johnson placed 23rd in the 100 (11.55).
Simon finished first in the 300 hurdles. She completed the event in a personal-best 45.19 seconds.
Hernandez set a pair of school records.
Sherlyn finished second in the 100 (12.55) and third in the 200 (26.24).
Both of Central Valley's relay teams also posted school-record times.
Central Valley's 4x100 relay team of Gutierrez, Simon, Mabie and Hernandez placed fifth (50.20).
Central Valley's 4x400 relay team of Hernandez, Del Valle, Simon and Mabie placed fifth (4:08.07).
The Hawks turned in multiple record-breaking performances at Divisionals.
"I'm not surprised," Reynold said. "We have pretty good talent. They feed off each other. It's a pretty fun environment right now."