Blue Devils brave the bad weather to qualify for state

PHOTO: Senior Tiyanane Kamba-Griffin clears the bar in the high jump at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters meet on May 31. Kamba-Griffin is one of five athletes advancing to the state meet this weekend.

By Gabriel Lee, Staff–

On Friday and Saturday, May 17-18, athletes, supporters and fans alike flocked to the Ron and Mary Brown Stadium for the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters track meet. Competitors fought through wind and rain as they hoped to qualify for the CIF state championships.

To qualify for the meet, athletes had to perform well in two prior competitions. The first, an individual league meet, took place two weeks ago. The top eight athletes in each event from each of three leagues, including the Delta League, were selected to move on to Division I finals.

From there, the top three in each event once again advanced from five different divisions to the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters meet.

Following the weekend’s meet, the top three places–those who reached at-large qualifying marks–will compete at this week’s CIF state championships at Buchanan High School.

Five Blue Devil athletes advanced: sophomore Shay Hawkes, junior Elena Siemens and seniors Tiyanane Kamba-Griffin, Hannah Lybbert and Juan Zarate-Sanchez.

“I’m glad to have made it to states for a second time. [It] feels like the bonus boss battle at the end of a video game,” said Zarate-Sanchez, whose time of 1:54.36 placed him third.

Siemens, whose 11-foot-6-inch vault landed him at a second place finish, echoed Zarate-Sanchez’s excitement for the state championships.

“My goal is to clear the opening height but even if I don’t, that’s fine. I’m just glad to be going,” Siemens said.

Meanwhile, Lybbert, Kamba-Griffin and Hawkes all hit the at-large qualifying mark with jumps of 5 feet 4 inches.

Track and field head coach Spencer Elliott was happy with the performances of the five athletes as the Sac-Joaquin section is the second largest in the state.

“If you think about that accomplishment in and of itself, what that means to be top three in this giant region, that’s pretty awesome,” Elliott said.

The athletes will travel to Clovis with Elliott and a group of coaches to compete on both Friday and Saturday.

“I’m excited about it, the state meet is awesome. It’s a cool track meet to watch and it’s extra cool when you have Davis athletes competing,” Elliott said.

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