DAVIS — Paige Sefried was only concerned about finishing in the top three and not a personal record.
Brooke Aberle and Jackie Westerterp made a sacrifice that paid off Saturday. Amelia Ellison is glad that her Lodi High track and field teammates made that decision as well.
Call it girl power for Lodi at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Track and Field at Ron and Mary Brown Stadium, on the Dewey Halden Field on the Davis High campus on Saturday. Sefried, along with Aberle, Westerterp and Ellison, placed in the top three of their events that endured rain throughout the meet.
Their top three finishes earned them a trip to the California Interscholastic Federation Track and Field Championships that will be held at Veterans Memorial Stadium on the Buchanan High campus in Clovis this weekend. The quartet will join Lodi’s Samuel Wright, who won the section title in the boys pole vault and Emily DuBois, who also came away with a section title in the high jump. Wright and DuBois punched their tickets on Friday. The top three in each event from the Masters advances to the state meet.
The Lodi High girls took fifth place with 24 points. St. Francis of Sacramento won the blue banner with 52 points, host Davis second at 29.5 and Christian Brothers of Sacramento third at 28.
Sefried, a senior, is returning to the state meet thanks to her top finish in the girls 400-meter race, plus running the final leg of the 4x400 relay team. In the 400, She jumped out to a fast start, but so did Vista del Lago of Folsom’s Ceonna Pipion and Kennedy of Sacramento’s Miana Giovannini.
Headed down the final 100 meters during a light rain storm, Sefried, Pipion and Giovannini were running almost head-to-head. At the end, Sefried took third place at a time of 57.25 seconds. Her personal best was 56.06 that she set at the section’s Division I meet at Tokay High’s Hubbard Field on May 10.
“I was really trying to push through and have a strong finish,” Sefried said. “I knew my time would probably be over.”
Sefried, who ran in the outside lanes, was concerned about some of the puddles that formed in some of the lanes of Davis’ all-weather track.
“Some of the lanes were flooded,” Sefried said. “But it wasn’t too bad overall.”
Returning to the CIF meet is “pretty exciting” Sefried said.
“I had a lot of nerves coming in because it’s my last year, and I wanted to make it count,” Sefried said.
Pipion took first place at 56.72. Giovannini was second at 57.01.
In the final stretch of the 4x400, Sefried took the hand-off from Westerterp, also a senior. At that point, Lodi was trailing both Sheldon and Oak Ridge of El Dorado Hills’ teams.
But Sefried sped past Oak Ridge’s Shimona Draper, who was running the final leg for the Trojans, after the final turn at the alley on the east side of the stadium. Draper stayed with Sefried until the end and the times showed; Lodi took second place at 3 minutes, 59.75 seconds and Oak Ridge third at 3:59.92.
“The tempo,” said Aberle in what the Flames established in the race. “In past races, we haven’t been pushing as hard as we were today. I think that’s what got us to do well.”
Ellison started the race for the Flames. She then handed the baton to Aberle, a senior, running the second leg and Westerterp third.
“I think we were just really hyped up for today,” Ellison said. “We all came together. We had that passion and drive.”
Aberle, along with Westerterp and Sefried, had two choices — compete at the Masters or join their fellow seniors on the class trip to Disneyland that was also last weekend.
“We had to make state to make it worth it,” Westerterp said.
Sefried added, “Three of the four of us are seniors, and we wanted to end on a strong note.”
The CIF meet will be the last one for Lodi High head coach Greg Wright, the father of Samuel Wright. Greg Wright, a teacher at Lodi High, is resigning as head coach from track and field as well as the cross-country program. He will remain teaching at the campus.
Tokay’s long distance runner Kari Anema, only a sophomore, took 11th place in the girls 800-meter race. Anema, who took third place in the same event at the D-I finals, stayed with a pack of runners throughout most of the race. She finished in ninth place at 2:20.95.
Liberty Ranch’s Cristian Martinez, a junior, was just two places away from earning a CIF berth in the finals of the boys’ 800 race. He took fifth place at 1:55.48. Davis’ Juan Zarate-Sanchez took third place at 1:54.36.
Contact Mike Bush at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter: @MBushLodiSports.