The Golden Valley track and field teams put on an impressive show on their home turf, winning the boys and girls team crowns at the Merced County Championships on Saturday.
The two squads combined to win 15 of the 30 events, particularly dominating the sprints on a picturesque March day at Veterans Stadium. The GV boys won going away, racking up 256 points to second-place Buhach Colony’s 136. Atwater rounded out the top three with 133 points. The girls side was slightly tighter as it turned into a showdown between the Cougars (192.33) and Falcons (174.33). Merced was a distant third with 90 points.
Alexander Salas and Shawn Bettencourt had particularly nice showings for the boys team, each capturing multiple titles. Salas won the 100- (11.00) and 200-meter (22.82) races and helped the Cougar 4x400 team to a victory. Bettencourt blew the competition away in the 110 (14.87) and 300 hurdles (40.18). His 110 time just missed out on the school record of 14.86 he set two weeks ago.
Atwater’s Abraham Maldonado also had an afternoon to remember, winning the 800 with a meet-record time of 2:02.42. Anthony Basaldua was a double winner for Buhach Colony, capturing the long jump and triple jump titles.
Golden Valley’s Kayla Commons set the tone on the girls side, showing off her athletic versatility by winning the 100, long jump and triple jump. Megan Pust made a successful return to the County Championships after not participating in track the last two years because of soccer. The Cougar won the 300 hurdles and then ran anchor for GV’s champion 4x100 team.
Kaitlynn Perez and Quinn Hagerman were both multi-event winners for Merced. The underclassmen both set personal records with their wins in the 400 and 800 races, respectively, and then helped the Bears capture the 4x400 title. Perez followed that up with a win in the high jump. Buhach Colony’s Morgan Johnson picked up where she left off last season, winning the shot put and then lapping the discus field with a throw of 117-00, almost 22 feet farther than second place.
Los Banos senior Mikayla Akers paced the Los Banos-area’s top performers, taking second in the 400 with her fastest time of the young season, 1:02.58. The Tigers’ Alex Zaragosa took third in the boys 400 race. Leslie Hernandez had a nice afternoon for LB, placing third in the 3,200 and fourth in the 1,600.
Jason Aguiar had Pacheco’s top finish, taking second in the triple jump with a PR of 37-02.00. Shaelyn Latronica also had a nice afternoon for the Panthers, finishing third in the shot put and discus while setting personal records in both events. Raymond Morones (pole vault), Miranda Arrey (pole vault) and Deja Walker (high jump) also took home third-place finishes for Pacheco.