Two Lodi High athletes walked away from Davis High as section champions on Friday, the first day of the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Track and Field Championships.
Samuel Wright cleared 15 feet, 6 inches in the pole vault to tie for first with Silas Frideen of Turlock, and Wright won the title based on fewer misses.
Meanwhile, Emily DuBois cleared 5 feet, 6 inches in the high jump to finish tied for first with Isabella Chilcutt of Bella Vista, and also won the title based on fewer misses.
“Emily in the high jump, she just picked today to have the best jumping day of her life,” said Lodi coach Greg Wright. “Coach Dylan Silva was working with her while I was over with Sam, and I got a text that she qualified, and I was like wow, great. I went to take a picture of her on the podium, and when she climbed up, she climbed all the way to the top.”
Samuel Wright and Frideen were the last two vaulters left after Oak Ridge’s Tyler Burns tapped out at 14-9, the state at-large qualifying number. Wright and Frideen, friendly rivals, both switched to longer poles to practice for the state meet.
“We decided they were both in, so let’s get them work on the bigger poles,” Greg Wright said. “So 16 feet turned into a glorified practice.”
The top three in each finals event qualify to the state meet, with fourth place as an alternate if one of the SJS athletes drops out.
Other local athletes in finals action included Tokay’s Jaryn Eaton (seventh in the discus at 132-2), Lodi’s Larry McDowell (15th in the discus at 136-3), Tokay’s Stacie Burks (ninth in the high jump at 5-2 and 14th in the triple jump at 35-9), and Ashley Jory (12th in the high jump at 5-0).
In the running events, Friday was for the preliminaries, with the top eight moving on to today’s finals (12 in some of the distance events).
Lodi’s Paige Sefried made the finals of the 400-meter race, winning her heat at 57.12 seconds, while Tokay’s Kari Anema qualified in the 800 with a 2-minute, 19.39-second run for eighth place and Liberty Ranch’s Cristian Martinez qualified in the boys 800 at 1:57.36 for sixth.
The girls 4-by-400 relay team of Sefried, Amelia Ellison, Jackie Westerterp and Brooke Aberle qualified fifth overall at 4:02.32.
Lodi had two runners come just short of moving on to the finals — Sefried placed ninth in the 200 at 25.82, and Westerterp placed ninth in the 300 hurdles at 47.20.
“I mean, it’s heart-wrenching,” Greg Wright said. “You’re rooting for them, you want them to run their best race, but it’s just hard when you get to this part of the season, especially the seniors, with all the end of the year emotions, the SATs, the Disneyland trip that a lot of their classmates are on this weekend, but they chose to be here.
“But this has just been a great year for our senior class. It’s a very memorable group.”
Other locals competing on Friday included Ellison (20th in the 400 at 1:00.56) and Galt’s Ethan Dewit (19th in the 200 at 23.57 and 24th in the 100 at 11.67).