ELK GROVE — “The effort was terrific. I’m extremely proud of the effort,” Davis High head coach Spencer Elliott said after watching his guys earn a second-place finish (tied with Granite Bay) in Friday’s Sac-Joaquin Section Division I track and field finals.
Jesuit, led by sprinter Austin Mitsch’s double and a handful of discus and shot put points, won its fourth crown in five years with 57 points — five ahead of the Blue Devils and Grizzlies.
What made DHS performance all the more remarkable was the Devils won not a single event. Close several times, yes, but never at the top of the podium.
That peculiarity was a double-edged sword for these boys, a young team that Elliott believes will only improve.
“We left some points out there. That was a disappointment,” said the veteran coach. “But guys like Alex McIntyre, Kyle Clancy and Blake Croft were solid. There were some unexpected points in there.”
The above-mentioned are all sophomores.
Clancy finished third in the high jump at 6-04, went 22-01.5 in the long jump (good for fourth) and his 15.78 came home 13th, just missing a trip to next weekend’s Masters in the 110-meter hurdles (the top 12 advance).
Croft’s 800 time of 1:55.17 took fourth in an 800-meter race that saw Davis distance specialist Paul Mohr take second in 1:54.70. Croft’s speedy leg — in teaming with Ben Salcedo, Maito Okamoto and McIntyre — in the 4×400 helped the Blue Devils finish second in that event (3:22.81) behind Sheldon (3:20.75).
But one of the evening’s most compelling efforts was turned in by McIntyre.
Qualifying for the 100-meter dash, McIntyre’s 11.07 on Wednesday put him solidly the finals. But a false start disqualified the sprinter as the gun was raised Friday.
Elliott said it would be hard to expect an athlete that young to keep his head in the rest of the night (the 100 was one of the earlier events) …
“But he stayed composed and ran a great 200 and had a great effort in our 4x4s,” said the former UC Davis sprinter. “It was really cool to see.”
McIntyre’s fourth place 22.51 in that 200-meter outing added much-needed points and when the meet’s final event rolled around, his leg helped the Davis relay squad advance to the Masters — certainly one of the favorite teams vying for a place in the subsequent state meet.
Elliott said he loved senior Mohr’s effort in the 800 — “He fought like crazy” — and expects a handful of his charges to step up in Masters competition.
As 12 athletes or relay teams advance from each of Friday’s events, the Devils will have some options at the next meet.
In addition to the four 4×400 flashes, Clancy and Mohr, DHS will send Jack Scranton, Jasper Laca, Brian Song, Spencer LaHaye, Victor Choi, Kunwoo Hong and Nick Denton on to the Masters.
Scranton, who qualified on his 4:24.05 sixth-place run in the 1,600, later made it in the 800 as well, thanks to a 2:11.60 (eighth).
Laca and Song rolled seven and 11s in their two distance outings. Laca’s 4:24.73 (1,600) and 9:38.28 in the 3,200 each captured seventh. Song finished 11th in each — going 4:25.97 in the 1,600 and a 9:40.67 doing the trick in the 3,200.
LaHaye’s 13-07 pole vault was good for 10th and veteran Denton earned himself a Golden Ticket with his shot put toss of 51-04 (good for eighth).
On Wednesday, Hong’s 42-10 was 10th in the triple jump while Choi was right behind in 12th (42-01.75), allowing both to advance.
“Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose,” Elliott said. “We had a chance.”
Notes: After the Masters, in which the top competitors from every division of the Sac-Joaquin Section come together, the CIF state meet will be conducted May 31 and June 2 at Buchanan High in Clovis.
— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-747-8047.