Numbers — even if your competitors are run of the mill — are huge in track meets.
But if you have a goodly number of athletes in a meet — and those folks are accomplished veterans like Davis High’s kids this spring — well, that’s even better.
On Wednesday, when the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I track and field championships begin with the first of two days of competition at Elk Grove High, the Blue Devils are expected to have 34 boys and girls vying for final berths. The event wraps up on Friday night.
Last season, 27 DHS athletes made it to the section finals and 15 of them put points on the board.
This spring, after laying waste to the Delta Valley Conference in that league’s last gathering of the season, the Devils have legitimate shots at gold in a handful of events.
The local boys and girls squads each finished third in 2012. It was a good effort, according to Davis head coach Spencer Elliott.
But this year?
Given that distance star Jack Scranton is healthy, the girls relay teams are loaded and the rest of the events have become deeper in terms of local talent, the two Blue Devil teams are in it to win it.
“We’re going with the idea of trying to win,” Elliott told The Enterprise. “In winning league, we’ve accomplished one of our goals. The rest of the goals are in front of us — we want to win section banners.”
Elliott said he’ll know more after the section office releases the trials’ seedings, but he believes his charges are well-placed going into Wednesday action (3:30 p.m. first gun).
Record-setting Ellie Eaton just lowered her 400-meter school-record to 56.07 at the DVC championships and captured the 200 in a for-fun time of 25.27.
Laney Teaford doubled in the 800 and 1,600 — each time providing a personal best — and both those races featured a lot of Blue-and-White company: Sophie Meads, Han-ah Sumner and Jeanne-Marie McPherson finished in order behind Teaford’s 2:14.96 in the 800, while her 5:00.97 was followed by Meads, freshman Fiona O’Keefe and Elisa McIsaac at 2-3-4 in the 1,600.
Elliott admits that his girls — especially when it comes to the longer distances — will mix and match. The coach likes his 1-2 punch in the 3,200 with O’Keeffe and the outstanding Meads, who still is only a junior.
O’Keeffe — a month back in training after a leg problem — outdistanced the DVC field in the 3,200, going 10:55.30. Meads and Giulia McIsaac were second and third.
Meads won last year’s 1,600 section crown (5:02.54) and, as a freshman, was the 3,200 Masters champion (10:56.74).
Scranton (a two-time cross country section winner) missed last year’s section track meet with a leg injury but comes to this week as a double candidate in the 1,600 and 3,200.
Feel the points piling up? There’s Mohr, Paul Mohr …
The talented senior and his stablemate Blake Kroft are supposed to give Davis power in the 800.
Other Devil distance dandies are Jasper Laca, Sugal Sutter and Bryan Song.
The DHS girls 4×400 relay team — the 2012 Masters champion in 3:57.28 — has familiar faces returning and seems to set a new school record every time it passes a baton.
Rose Stephens, Teaford, Han-ah Sumner and Eaton brought the record down a few clicks on several occasions this year. The most recent mark? 3:55.04 at Friday’s league meet.
Teaford, Sumner and Eaton had teamed with graduated Hannah Krovetz for last year’s Master’s effort.
The Blue Devil boys 4×400 quartet will feature Kroft, Maito Okamoto and sophomores Ben Salcedo and Alex McIntyre.
McIntyre has been gaining momentum in both the 100- and 200-meter sprints (he won DVC titles in both events last weekend).
“I think Alex has as good a chance as anybody in the sprints,” Elliott said, adding that he knows defending champion Austin Mitsch (Jesuit) will be tough. Mitsch has won back-to-back 100 titles, last year going 10.80. McIntyre has consistently been in the low 11s.
Stephens is a threat in the hurdles, added Elliott, and points to pole vaulters Courtney Meyer (10-06) and Spencer LaHaye (14-0) as top-notch contenders.
Nick Denton will be a point producer in both the shot put and discus, continued the coach, and another 10th-grader, Kyle Clancy, “has been putting up top-three high jumps (and) is a 110-hurdles sleeper.”
Elliott said his team has “done everything we can do to this point.”
The former UC Davis sprinter goes on to say that each of his competitors will approach the trials in different ways:
“With Eaton … our goal with her is to make sure we qualify.” She may not have to put her best foot forward to get into the finals, saving energy for the big race, he said.
On the other hand, “some need to be more aggressive (Wednesday) — make sure they get a lane (on Friday). We want to get as many blue shirts in as we can.”
Notes: Also headed to the trials, thanks to the DVC results, are Joseena John, Tanner Johnson, Kunwoo Hong, Ian McKillap, Zoe Hunt-Murray and Tyler Ramos. … Jesuit is the defending boys Division I champ and Monterey Trail of the DVC is the reigning girls titlist. … The Delta Valley Conference has won four of the past seven girls titles. … Davis boys (2011) and girls (2007-08) have three SJS championships.
— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at [email protected] or 530-747-8047.