With 11 Davis High athletes headed to the state track and field championships in Clovis on Friday and Saturday, a young group of Blue Devils is looking to end its season on top of the highest podium in California.
None of the athletes who qualified are seniors, and many are getting their first shot at CIF glory.
“In spite of the awesome venue and in spite of the new competition that we’re not used to seeing from the different sections, it’s still a track meet and we still do everything just like we’ve been doing it,” said DHS head coach Spencer Elliott. “That stuff doesn’t change, so I’ll think they’ll be well-prepared.
“The expectations are that people are going to work really hard, compete with confidence and believe in themselves and support each other. We think that as long as athletes do that, the (results) will take care of themselves.”
Juniors Kyle Clancy and Blake Croft headline the Devil contingent as both athletes qualified in multiple events — Clancy in the high jump and long jump and Croft in the 800 meters and as part of the 4×400 relay squad.
“They’ve done it all year,” Elliott said of Clancy and Croft’s participation in multiple events. “They’ve demonstrated the ability to be successful at it. Kyle’s a gamer. He doesn’t let that sort of thing stress him out.”
While Clancy will have to alternate back and forth between his two field events — both of which he won at the Sac-Joaquin Masters meet last week — Croft will run both individually in the 800 then work with the relay quartet that qualified at-large with a school-record time of 3:17.39.
Croft, who was second in the Masters 800 where he set his own Davis benchmark at 1:52.54, will be joined by sophomore Willie Hall, junior Alex McIntyre, junior Ben Salcedo and sophomore Juan Pablo Almanza-Soto, who is the alternate, on the state-meet relay team.
Also competing will be a pair of Blue Devil freshman girls, Sofia Castiglioni in the 1,600 and triple-jumper Alyssa Lengtat, who set a new school record by leaping 38-04.75 last week.
A trio of juniors — Jeanne-Marie McPherson (800), Nate Harper (pole vault) and Caitlin Mazzoleni (high jump) — round out the state-meet crew for DHS, which took nine athletes to last year’s CIF championship.
Notes: The Devils head to Buchanan High in Clovis as the SJS boys champions and the third-place girls finishers at the section’s Division I meet two weeks ago. … Davis’ star distance runner Fiona O’Keeffe was scratched from the 3,200 due to a foot injury. The sophomore, who finished second at the Masters despite the injury, would have been one of the favorites for the title, but Elliott and his staff were more worried about her long-term health than this event to risk having her run. O’Keeffe was 22nd in the event last season.
— Reach Evan Ream at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @EvanReam.