Northern Section Season In Review
Trinity senior Lauren Harper (center in red) placed sixth in the 800 at State. (Pat Rhames photo)
A year ago, the Northern Section celebrated a CIF-State Meet champion in discus thrower Erica Grotegeer of Wheatland. Grotegeer graduated off to San Diego State and while NS didn't have a State champion in 2019, it did have one medalists and four finalists: Lauren Harper in the 800, Natalie Rogers in the discus throw, and two auto-qualifiers into the 3200 final, Alicia Murillo and Charlie Giannini.
Harper, a senior at Trinity who won the 800 and 1600 (5:07.09 PR) and was third in the 200 (26.21 PR) at the NS Final on May 17 at Cottonwood West Valley HS, had the No. 4 qualifying time in the 800 at the State Prelims (2:12.26) and cranked a huge PR of 2:10.98 for sixth in the fast final.
According to NS records maintained on the West Valley Track webpage, Harper's time at State is the third fastest 800 in NS history.
It was her third consecutive year qualifying for State, her second year in the 800 meter final, and her first State Meet medal.
Rogers, a senior at West Valley who swept the throws at the section meet, qualified seventh in the discus prelims (144-11) and improved to 145-03 for seventh in the final. Her 146-09 PR to win the section title for the first time ranks seventh in NS history.
At State, Rogers' 41-01.75 missed making the shot put final field of 12 by two inches and was well short of her 44-06.50 PR (NS No. 2 AT) from the May 9 NS Division 3 Final. Nonetheless, it was the third consecutive trip to the State Prelims in the shot put for Rogers, a three-time NS champion, and her first year winning the NS title in the discus after placing second to Grotegeer her first three years.
Because all section qualifiers in the 3200 advance directly to the Saturday night final, Giannini and Murillo were among those in the 27-runner fields on an unseasonably chilly Saturday night (May 25) before a large crowd at Buchanan High in Clovis.
In addition to those four, the Northern Section sent 16 other individuals to the State Championships, including five in two events.
Pleasant Valley junior Dante Jackson swept the 100 (11.20/-0.6) and 200 (23.37/0.2) at the Northern Section Final and ran at State in both, as did Palo Cedro Foothill senior Dylan Northrup, who won section titles in the 110 hurdles (15.03/-0.8) and 300 hurdles (39.75).
West Valley placed second in the boys team standings and tied for second with University Prep in the girls competition. There were 26 boys teams and 22 girls teams that scored in the NS Final.
Other boys standouts included Enterprise senior Lucas Wright, who won the high jump with a PR of 6-05, placed second in the 300 hurdles (40.16) and third in the 110s (15.40); Las Plumas senior Jeremiah Havens, who won the triple jump (43-11) and place second in the 100 (11.33); Wheatland senior Michael Sappa, who won the shot put and was second in the discus throw (149-07 PR), and Las Plumas senior Nick Small won the pole vault (14-07 PR).