No matter the sport, momentum can be huge for a team once it reaches the postseason. Think the Huskies of Connecticut in this year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
Since track and field is no different, look for the Davis High boys and girls to do quite well in this week’s Sac-Joaquin Section Masters meet. The Blue Devils have been riding high all season, up to and including the SJS Division I championships last Wednesday and Friday, where DHS’ boys earned a section title and its girls finished third.
“We know what to expect from the competition,” coach Spencer Elliott said of the Masters meet, at which 30 Devils will compete on Thursday and Friday at Elk Grove High. “I expect that, just like last week, everyone’s going to go out and race and jump with confidence.”
Davis junior standout Kyle Clancy will be just fine with replicating last week’s results, as he put up 28 points for the locals by winning the 110-meter hurdles, the high jump and the long jump. His point total was the highest of any athlete at the meet.
Along with Clancy, 11 other local boys are headed to the Masters, including five distance runners.
Two of those endurance standouts — junior Blake Croft and sophomore Kellen Browning — will compete in the 800. Croft was the faster of the two at the section meet, running his race in 1:55:03, while Browning clocked a 1:58:43. Both Blue Devils will be in the mix in this week’s 800, which has preliminary races beginning at 5:45 p.m. Thursday.
DHS seniors Brian Song and Ani Ramakrishnan, and sophomore Ben Roberts qualified for the longer-distance events. Song was fourth overall in the 1,600, with Roberts and Ramakrishnan taking the next two spots, while Ramakrishnan was the fastest Devil in the 3,200, posting a time of 9:36:12. Roberts took ninth in that race (9:39:59) and Song was 12th.
The Davis boys also have strong Masters representation in the shorter races. In addition to Clancy in the 110 hurdles, junior Alex McIntyre qualified in the top five in both the 200 and 400, while also playing a major role in the 4×400 relay, where the Blue Devils set a school record at the D-I meet (3:19.22). Junior Ben Salcedo, sophomore Willie Hall and Croft, the anchor, join McIntyre on that squad, which will get back on the track Thursday at 7:20 p.m.
Meanwhile, an impressive 18 athletes will represent the DHS girls at the Masters, 10 of them in the running events and eight in the field.
As usual, the long-distance events will be filled with Devil speedsters paced by sophomore Fiona O’Keeffe, who won a section crown in the 3,200 — setting a meet record with her 10:39.11 — and was second in the 1,600 at 5:02.54.
Freshman Sofia Castiglioni is right behind O’Keeffe, taking third in both events last week, with senior Sophie Meads; juniors Jeanne-Marie McPherson, Maggie McManis and Giulia McIsaac; and ninth-grader Abigail Fisk providing depth for Davis in the distance events. The 1,600 finals are slated for 6:28 p.m. on Friday with the 3,200 on tap for 8:42 p.m.
Three Blue Devils girls will try for speedy performances in the 800, including senior Han-ah Sumner, who ran the two laps in 2:19.71 at the section meet. McPherson and junior Elisa McIsaac will join Sumner in the 800, while another 11th-grader, Claire Wiebe, represents DHS in the 400 after she qualified in 59.56 seconds.
In Masters field events, the main Devil contingent competes in the pole vault with junior Nate Harper and sophomore Joe Blakewell in the meet-opening boys vault Thursday at 2 p.m. Harper is coming off a third-place finish last week.
Later Thursday, the local girls will have twice as many entrants in the pole vault as juniors Michaela Niva (10-3 at sections) and Clara Riggle (10-3) will be joined by Davis seniors Lily Wolfe and Danielle Gantar in competing for a spot in the June 6 CIF state meet.
Five more Blue Devils will be jumping without the use of a pole at the Masters meet. Clancy and Joseena John are scheduled for Friday’s long jump events, while senior Victor Choi (triple jump) and high jumpers Clancy, junior Caitlin Mazzoleni and sophomore Amelia Otto-Cutting will go for big heights on Friday.
Notes: The 30 DHS athletes — 18 girls and 12 boys — qualifying for the Masters meet tops the 26 (13 and 13) that the Devils program sent last season. In 2013, Davis had nine state meet qualifiers including O’Keeffe, Sumner, Meads and Croft.
— Reach Spencer Ault at firstname.lastname@example.org