Can Gregg’s garrison provide enough long-distance points Friday night to give Davis High track and field teams the Sac-Joaquin Section titles?
With runners like Laney Teaford, Sophie Meads, Jack Scranton, Paul Mohr and Fiona O’Keeffe warming up as we speak, don’t be surprised if the Blue Devils come home with a couple of new pennants.
Looking closer at what is about to transpire, a good guess is that DHS girls are the favorites going in.
But the boys are in it to win, too.
There should be much-needed field points from Spencer LeHaye in the pole vault (his recent 14-foot effort would be the school record had it not been for some Duke sophomore named Ian Rock) and Nick Denton in the shot put.
If the Blue-and-White moves a few inches up in events like the 100- and 200-meter sprints (with emerging sophomore Alex McIntyre) and can manage a cavalry charge in the 800 (Mohr, Blake Croft and, tentatively, Scranton), all eyes will be on the two-time CIF cross country champion Scranton in the late-night 3,200. Scranton also had a big shot to win the 1,600.
For the boys, the big guns Friday look like Granite Bay, Jesuit and maybe Vacaville. But the Devils already have 12 points (Denton in the discus and Kyle Clancy in the high jump) and aren’t that far behind front-runner Granite Bay.
For the girls, Monterey Trail (23) and Vacaville (20) already have points on the board from Wednesday.
Bill Gregg, the long-distance mahatma, and DHS head coach Spencer Elliott burned the midnight oil Thursday, trying to fit qualifiers into appropriate events — races that will bring the maximum points while saving the best for when it’s most needed.
Gregg told me a couple of years ago that track meets can be like a chess game for coaches and their athletes.
With talented prep runners like Scranton or Meads, each could be used in a number of races — and with success. But when do they run out of gas? And what’s the long-term impact if a coach gets points-crazy and goes to the Scranton or Meads wells once too often?
Gregg and Elliott have routinely made their decisions for the good of their athletes, not for the lure of a short-term, higher-end result.
Given this caution, fans of the girls team will see Blue Devils like Teaford, Ellie Eaton, Rose Stephens and Han-ah Sumner in a number of events Friday — some of which are mightily favoring Davis. Already, a sense of something special surrounds the distaffers.
The repeat-record-setting 4×400 quartet of Stephens, Teaford, Sumner and Eaton qualified No. 2 in 3:59.07 — more than a second behind Vacaville (3:57.57).
But remember, the 2012 Masters champs from Davis went 3:57.28 last year and only Hannah Krovetz is missing.
With Stephens passing that first baton this spring, the Devil foursome have continually whittled down that former standard — so much so that they ran 3:55.04 in last week’s Delta Valley Conference finals.
Is it too much to ask them for yet another gear?
Don’t be surprised, again.
The girls could get real pole vault placement from Courtney Meyer. And in another 800 crowded with Davis qualifiers (Jeanne-Marie McPherson, Sumner, Meads and Teaford), Gregg has more options.
The later it gets in these meets, the more the announcer seems to call Blue Devil names.
While I Have You Here: The Davis Junior Blue Devil football program has a terrific May special for kids interested in getting involved this fall.
Through the end of this month, any new players can register for $200. Coach Craig Barksdale tells me that’s $100 off the regular early-bird special and will be $150 cheaper than signing up after June 8.
Also, existing players who recruit a buddy to play can get the same great discount — provided both are registered on or before May 31.
Also, don’t forget that DJBD will conduct its summer cheerleading and football camp July 23-25 at Ron & Mary Brown Stadium. There is no cost to registered players and pep squad members; kids who want to give either element a try will pay $50.
The camp runs from 9:30 a.m. to noon each day.
For more Junior Blue Devil information and news, visit www.juniorbluedevils.com.
— Bruce Gallaudet is a staff writer for The Davis Enterprise. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-747-8047.