Though it was never really in doubt, the Davis High boys track and field team on Wednesday ensured that The Spade would remain in its possession for at least another year.
The Blue Devils did it by defeating Woodland, 184-61, in the annual Battle for the Spade dual meet at Ron & Mary Brown Stadium.
In a dominating performance, it was not uncommon to see a heat where most or all of the runners in blue finished ahead of the runners in orange on an overcast day that marked the official beginning of the track and field season.
But unlike most DHS-Woodland sporting contests, this meet features a friendly atmosphere.
“It’s been a tradition to go against Woodland in this meet and there’s been a rivalry between who gets the Spade, which we’ve had since the first meet,” said Devil Justin McGrew, an injured junior distance runner who was helping run the events. “All of the athletes are really friendly to each other. There’s good sportsmanship going on.”
The laid-back atmosphere of the meet also helped introduce some of the younger athletes to the fast-paced schedule of high school track and field.
“There’s a little bit of learning that happened (Wednesday),” Davis head coach Spencer Elliott said while containing his laughter. “For example, there were kids (that said) ‘I missed my race? Wait, when’s the 200?’ Well that just happened. So that kind of stuff we’ll debrief and talk about.
“(We’ll go over) how do you warm up for a meet?” Elliott added. “When do you take your sweats off? And wearing jewelry and some of those things that the kids were doing (Wednesday) — that’s illegal.”
For the more experienced athletes, though, it was an opportunity to train in a real competition ahead of Saturday’s Sacramento State High School Classic.
“The kids aren’t supposed to necessarily run their fastest and jump their highest right now,” Elliot said. “It’s not where they’re at in their training.”
But that’s not to say that there weren’t some great Blue Devil performances.
For the girls, sophomore Fiona O’Keeffe started the season out strong, winning both the 1,600 meters and 3,200 — that victory being so dominant that she actually finished ahead of all three Woodland boys runners.
DHS junior Claire Wiebe also posted a quality performance, doubling in the 200 and 400, narrowly edging senior teammate Han-ah Sumner in both events.
Kyle Clancy got a chance to show off his versatility for the boys as the junior won the high jump, 110 hurdles and 300 hurdles.
His high jump of 6-05, which he comfortably cleared, was not only 11 inches higher than the second-place finisher, but also the same height that qualified him for the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters meet last year.
Other boys standouts included Bailey Murray, who took the shot put at 39-07.50; Ben Roberts, who broke the 10-minute mark in the 3,200 (9:58.86) and Blake Croft, whose 50.52 in the 400 won him the race by more than a second.
— Reach Evan Ream at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @EvanReam