Northern Section Season In Review

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). 

Among girls, in addition to Rogers, double-event qualifiers out of the NS Finals were Zoey Bishop, a junior at Foothill, which claimed section titles and State Prelims berths in the 200 (26.07 PR) and 400 (59.16), and Chico junior Hailey Fune in the 100 hurdles (15.21/-0.5) and triple jump (35-03/1.7). 

Bishop also ran on the NS-winning 4x100 relay team (50.30) and anchored the winning 4x400 relay team (4:06.50) as the Foothill girls won the team title as part of a boys-girls varsity team title sweep. 

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.

Among other standouts from the NS Final, Wheatland senior CJ Duncan won the 800 meter title and went on to run a season-best 1:57.30 for 20th at State Prelims. Duncan (at right in blue) ran 1:58.52 in the section final to nose out Paradise junior Patrick Roehling (1:58.68). 

Enterprise junior Nick Torres won the 1600 with a 4:28.84 PR and placed third behind the Giannini brothers in the 3200. Senior Charlie Giannini won his second consecutive title (9:34.71), freshman Mario Giannini ran a PR 9:46.79 for second and Torres crossed third in 9:54.19. 

In addition to Northrup's sweep of the hurdles titles, Foothill also picked up 10 points from senior Payton Fuller, who won the discus title (154-03 PR), 10 points from the 4x100 relay (42.76), and eight from Caleb Rowe's runner-up placing in the triple jump (43-06), eight from the 4x400 relay team (3:25.15), and eight from senior Jayden Gordon in the 400 (49.98).

Senior Quinn Danner-Bocks and junior Damon Uribe helped keep University Prep in the team title conversation. Danner-Bocks won the 400 (49.85) and placed third in the 200 (22/89) and Uribe was second in the 200 (22.55) and third in the 100 (11.39).

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).

The Paradise boys 4x400 team of Jared MacKayPatrick RoehlingGabriel Price and Jacob Weldon crossed in a winning time of 3:19.86, which is a Northern Section record, bettering the time of 3:20.46 posted by Enterprise in 2017.

Among other girls standouts at the NS Final, senior Kira Porzio was the other individual event winner for Foothill, earning 10 points in the high jump (5-04).

University Prep senior Lexi Jones played a big role in her team's success, winning the long jump (17-07.25) and placing second in 100 (12.92/0.4) and second in the 200 (26.12/0.7 PR) for 26 points.

Other standouts included West Valley junior Maddie Steele, who won a 300 hurdles race (46.70) in which the top six girls ran PRs. University City sophomore Grace Gaddy was second to Harper in the 1600 (5:12.31) and third behind Chico junior Nakia Clements (2:20.31) in the 800 (2:25.23). Hamilton City senior Alicia Murillo won the 3200 in 11:35.32 and was one of nine in the field of 12 to PR.