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Three Bulldog standouts advance to Masters competition
Smith takes second in hurdles, Rocha finishes fourth in 800
Bulldog Lisette Carretero competed at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV-V Track & Field Championships this past week at Cal State Stanislaus. She placed 13th in the 1,600 and 19th in the 800. - photo by CANDY PADILLA/The Courier

A standout in varsity boys soccer, Tomas Rocha earned Western Athletic Conference first-team honors for his outstanding play during the fall sports season.

Rocha has made a name for himself in track and field this spring.

The Ceres High senior set a personal record while finishing fourth overall in the 800 at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV-V Championships last week at Cal State Stanislaus.

The top five placers in each event qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Meet, to be staged this Thursday at Friday at Elk Grove High School.
Rocha will be joined by Bulldog teammates Gykisha Smith and Azia Brewster.

Ceres High's Judas Chavarin, Austin Stiles, Lisette Carretero, Sydney Elness and Nichole Parker had their seasons cut short at Divisionals.

"We had some amazing performances," Bulldogs head coach Brett Johnson said.

Rocha completed the 800 in 1:58.36 during the finals.

He broke the two-minute barrier for the first time. Tomas was seeded sixth (2:01.97).

"I'm really happy for him," Johnson said. "Last year, he did okay. He came out late for the team this year. He wasn't certain he was going to run. He's shown a lot of will and fight. He really got competitive when his times started to drop. He's raised the bar."

Smith missed her senior trip to Disneyland so she could compete at Divisionals.

She placed second with a personal-best time of 15.87 seconds in the 100 hurdles.

Gykisha took sixth during preliminaries (16.39).

"She had already purchased a ticket," Johnson said. "She sold it before trials. She had faith she was going to move on. I'm so happy for her."

Brewster finished fourth in the high jump. She cleared 4 feet, 11 inches.

Azia's just a freshman.

"I don't think she realizes what an awesome feat she accomplished," Johnson said. "There's no pressure because it's her first year. She just goes out there, competes and has fun."

Ceres High's 4x400 boys relay team, which consists of Rocha, Tristan Dray, Judas Chavarin and Kevin Moita, will be an alternate at Masters.

Rocha, Dray, Chavarin and Moita just missed securing a berth.

The Bulldog quartet finished sixth in a career-best 3:26.24. Ripon took fifth (3:26.22).

"They each had individual goals," Johnson said. "They dropped eight seconds from their previous-best time. I can't remember the last time we had a 4x400 relay team under 3:30."

Chavarin placed eighth in the 1,600 (4:35.68).

Austin Stiles placed 13th in the high jump (5-7).

Lisette Carretero placed 13th in the 1,600 (5:49.39) and 19th in the 800 (2:39.87).

Sydney Elness placed 15th in the triple jump (30-31/2) and 17th in the high jump (4-4).

Nichole Parker placed 22nd in the shot put (25-31/2).