ELK GROVE — Crouched on the side of the Elk Grove High track on the second day of the Sac-Joaquin Masters meet, Davis High track and field head coach Spencer Elliott knew it was close in the second-to-last event of the night, the boys 4×400 meter relay.
Star sprinter Alexander McIntyre, the Blue Devils’ anchor, crossed in fourth, but less than a stride behind third-place Vacaville. The top three finishers get automatic berths in the CIF state meet — set for Friday and Saturday at Buchanan High in Clovis — and at-large berths are determined by time.
So when DHS’ school-record time of 3:17.39 was announced over the loudspeaker, Elliott jumped up, yelled and hugged his fellow coaches as the quartet had qualified to join seven other Devils at the state championships.
“It’s all about the 4×400,” an exuberant Elliott said after the meet. “Just to give you perspective, Alex McIntyre, in his (individual 400), he ran 49 seconds. It was a nice PR for him, but put a baton in his hand, put him on a team (and see what happens).”
Running the final leg of the relay, McIntyre went nearly one second better than his personal-record individual mark to propel the Davis squad. When the race finished, the crowd of about 2,000 fans went into a frenzy, acknowledging the exciting relay and all of the great athletic feats from the past two days.
Those performances included state-meet-qualifying marks by Blue Devils Alyssa Lengtat, Caitlin Mazzoleni, Sofia Castiglioni, Jeanne-Marie McPherson, Fiona O’Keeffe, Blake Croft, Kyle Clancy and Nate Harper.
But it was the 4×400 relay team — McIntyre, Croft, Willie Hall and Ben Salcedo — that capped it all off, and had Elliott, a former UC Davis sprinter, beaming with pride.
“As a coach, I can say all these different things, but the reality is, when the four guys on the team want to win, that’s what makes them run fastest,” Elliott said. “It’s really up to them. I think those guys, whether it’s for themselves or for each other, they wanted to run fast and wanted to compete. That’s why they ran fast.
“It’s just cool to see.”
Another cool moment came in the triple jump, where Lengtat, a freshman, set a school record at 38-04.75 to finish third, just five inches off the winning jump.
Clancy, a junior who won the long jump on Thursday, proved his vertical leap is just as impressive as he took first in Friday’s high jump at 6-07. He added a fifth-place finish in the 110 hurdles on Friday to his two event wins.
High jumper Mazzoleni also qualified for the state meet, clearing 5-03 to take third place. Castiglioni, a freshman, took fourth in the 1,600 (5:02.73), but will run in Clovis after one of the other competitors dropped out of that event.
In the girls 800, a race that was restarted after a crash between runners on the first attempt, McPherson earned her state-meet spot by taking third (2:17.59) while DHS’ Han-ah Sumner (2:20.21) cruised home in sixth.
O’Keeffe, the favorite in her 3,200 race, advanced to the state meet despite finishing second. Her 10:45.09 was behind St. Francis standout Lauren LaRocco, who posted a blistering time of 10:32.72.
Last week, O’Keeffe beat LaRocco for the Division I section championship in that event.
On Friday, Castiglioni was seventh in the 3,200 (11:01.19), Maggie McManis ran to a 10th-place finish (11:09.25) and senior Sophie Meads took 18th in 11:31.47.
Other Devils in action Friday included junior Brian Song, who finished 15th in the 1,600 (4:29.54), one spot ahead of teammate Ben Roberts (4:30.34).
Freshman Michael Vernau was the only Davis athlete to participate in the boys 3,200, taking 18th in 9:51.24.
“It’s an awesome track meet,” Elliott said. “Last week was awesome, this week was awesome, no doubt we’ll do everything we can to make next week awesome.”
Notes: Thirty Blue Devil athletes competed at the two-day Masters meet, which came a week after DHS won the boys section title and took third in the girls standings at the SJS D-I Championships.