Charles Williams was a blur.
Eduardo Herrera, Paramveer Chohan and McKay Johnson were extraordinary. Nothing unusual there.
But oh for Gabby Satterlee, Hannah Waller, Zoe March and the girls in the Central Section Masters Track and Field Championships on Saturday at Buchanan High’s Veterans Memorial Stadium.
“I’m blessed,” said Central Valley Christian’s Satterlee after blowing away from Clovis North’s Lauren Moffett in the final 300 meters to win the 1,600 in a meet-record 4:49.02. She also placed second in the 800 at 2:14.95.
Her gold medal was first – girls or boys – in CVC history for the athlete headed to Baylor.
“I’m blessed,” echoed Buchanan’s Waller, who became only the second athlete in Masters history to win four golds in the 400, timing 54.43. She also won the 200 in a wind-aided 23.82 and ran legs on winning 400 (47.08) and 1,600 (3:54.08) relays. Her sizzling 53.9 400 split brought the Bears from third place and 20 meters back in the 1,600.
Signed with 2015 NCAA champion Oregon, she won state last year in a section-record 53.13.
“I’m blessed,” came echo, part III, from Immanuel’s March, arguably the story of the year in section track and field.
A senior competing in the sport for the first time in high school, the Azusa Pacific-bound basketball player won the 300 low hurdles convincingly in 43.33 – No. 7 all-time in the section. She also gave Waller a more-than-respectable push while securing a silver in the 400 at 56.32 – No. 13 all-time in the section.
Also supplying a charge into the girls division was Clovis North’s Rhesa Foster, who won the long jump at 19-7 1/4. Having received a medical waiver to get here after not participating in the North Area qualifying meet, she hadn’t competed in a month because of a hamstring strain.
The top three finishers in each event qualified for the State CIF Track and Field Championships at Buchanan.
Williams became the Masters first sprint sweeper in Bullard history while winning the 100 in a school-record 10.63 (No. 18 all-time in section annals) and the 200 in a wind-aided 21.47.
Williams, who will play football at UNLV as a running back, also ran down Buchanan’s Chuby Dunu as the anchor of the Knights’ winning 400 relay (41.75).
Buchanan (41.77) and Central (41.83), anchored by freshman Naythn Scruggs, finished 2-3 in the race of the day.
That came moments after Buchanan’s quest for a repeat girls title – which would come to fruition with dominance – got off to a flying start when Brenae Wellington, Waller, Yamilet Biggers and Danae Manibog torched a 47.08 golden time in the 400 relay.
That improved the Bears’ season best and is No. 6 in the state. It was also their second consecutive Masters gold in the event after they had been shut out atop the winner’s stand since launching their program in 1993.
With 132 points, the Buchanan girls beat runnerup Clovis North by 75.
The Bears girls’ won eight of 16 events and had 22 athletes score (top eight) of a possible 112 in individual events – that’s 20 percent. And they swept the 400 and 1600 relays.
Buchanan repeated its team title sweep as the boys rolled behind Cal-bound Chohan, who successfully defended his 300 intermediate hurdles crown in 38.32. He also placed second in the 100 highs (14.16).
The Bears’ boys finished with 81 points. Bullard was second with 59.
Herrera, headed to Colorado, delivered a second-straight distance sweep, winning the 1,600 (4:12.38) and 3,200 (9:09.58). He also placed second in the 800 (1:53.85) in a grueling triple as difficult as there is in the sport.
Johnson, third ranked in the state discus coming in, won his specialty in 63-6 3/4 and also finished fourth in the shot put (181-10).
Buchanan’s Jacob Wilson provided 18 points to the team title by winning the discus (195-1) and going silver in the shot (63-3 3/4).
Satterlee, who graduated earlier in the morning, was glowing as bright as her red hair: “It’s been a weird week, not a lot of sleep, a lot of events and all-nighters. I knew I had to stay focused. I just prayed to God: ‘Please give me strength,’ and God came through. It’s really overwhelming.”
Waller was near tears.
“I’m surprised I’m not crying,” she said. “It’s crazy how the years have gone by and I’m able to do this (winning the 400 four times). It’s an amazing feeling. It probably won’t hit me until I get home.”
March, The Fresno Bee’s Small Schools Player of the Year in basketball after leading Immanuel to four section titles, had never attempted to clear a hurdle in her life four months ago.
That was before Eagles assistant Mervin Green got a hold of her.
“He taught me how to do this,” she said. “At the beginning of the season, we didn’t have a hurdler so I was like, ‘I can try.’ Coach Green taught me the technique and the Lord helped pushed me through. Not a lot of this is me.”