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Johnson wins his third straight WAC crown in shot put
Ceres High varsity boys track and field standout Conner Johnson won his third consecutive Western Athletic Conference title in the shot put this past week in Los Banos. He also placed third in the discus. - photo by Photo courtesy of Robin Johnson

Ceres High senior Conner Johnson obliterated the field of competitors while placing first in the shot put at the Western Athletic Conference Track & Field Championships on Saturday at Pacheco High School.

Johnson won his third straight WAC title, including second at the varsity level.

"I'm really proud of myself," he said. "I'm working hard and seeing the results. This is the point of the season I should be excelling the most. It's a good motivator for me to work even harder."

Conner set a personal record in the shot put last week with a toss of 50 feet.

He bested second-place Justin Reimann of Livingston (43-11) with ease.

"Fifty has been my goal for the past two years," he said. "I'm pretty excited I finally reached it. All of my hard work is paying off."

Conner also equaled older brother Caden's conference-title total.

Caden placed first in the high jump and triple jump at the conference finals during his senior year at Ceres High.

Conner finished first in the shot put (46-11) at the 2016 WAC Championships. He won the title at the junior-varsity level as a sophomore.

"My dad and mom pushed Caden and I to be the best we could be," Conner said. "None of this would have happened without their support."

Johnson's record throw came on his third attempt.

Conner had a huge smile on his face as coaches, teammates, family members, competitors and spectators cheered following his herculean effort.

"In warm-ups, I threw pretty far, almost out of the sand pit," he said. "That got me excited. I didn't feel any added pressure going into the meet. I wasn't worried about getting first. I just wanted to beat my personal record. I PR'd by a couple feet. It's a confidence booster."

Johnson also medaled in the discus (third place) at the WAC finals, along with Bulldog teammates Andrew Gibson, Cordell Dennis, Johnny Hutson, Zyier Harrison, Marcellus Boykins and Christian Linarez.

Ceres High's 4x100 relay team of Gibson, Dennis, Hutson and Harrison placed first (45.22).

Ceres High's 4x400 relay team of Hutson, Boykins, Linarez and Harrison placed third (3:42.61).

Harrison placed second in the 100 (11.40) and 200 (23.06).

Linarez placed second in the 1,600 (4:55.97).

Boykins placed second in the triple jump (43-7).

Gibson, Dennis, Hutson and Ceres High's Noah Holloway, Josh Madariaga, Joseph Gutierrez, Zach Baker, Ethan Carter, Daniel McElwain, Samuel Garcia, Dominick Nicastro, Roman Acosta, Kendrick Perata, Michael Vargas and Gurpreet Dhami all had their individual seasons cut short at the conference championships as they finished outside the top four in their respective events.

Gibson placed fifth in the pole vault (10-0) and sixth in the 110 hurdles (19.75).

Dennis placed fourth in the high jump (5-4) and eighth in the 100 (11.95).

Hutson placed eighth in the 200 (24.64) and 400 (57.50).

Holloway placed fifth in the 1,600 (5:02.26) and 3,200 (11:25.21).

Madariaga placed seventh in the 3,200 (12:28.67).

Gutierrez placed seventh in the 800 (2:19.64).

Baker placed sixth in the high jump (5-0), seventh in the pole vault (8-0) and 13th in the 300 hurdles (52.48).

Carter placed sixth in the triple jump (35-9) and eighth in the high jump (4-10).

McElwain placed eighth in the shot put (33-5).

Garcia placed eighth in the long jump (16-5), ninth in the 200 (24.91) and 11th in the 100 (12.23).

Nicastro placed 10th in the 3,200 (13:21.51).

Acosta placed 10th in the 1,600 (5:35.46) and 11th in the 3,200 (13:21.93).

Perata placed 11th in the 400 (59.57).

Vargas placed 14th in the 800 (2:30.88).

Dhami placed 15th in the 800 (2:34.72).

"I'm really proud of my team," Johnson said. "We've been working really hard. Our goal was to be league champs. We fell short."

Johnson, Gibson, Dennis Hutson, Harrison, Boykins and Linarez will compete at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV-V meet this week at Stanislaus State.

"I should place in the top three (in the shot put) and move on to Masters," Conner said. "I'd also like to PR again. Now that I've reached 50, I have to set another goal. I'm not satisfied."