Clovis News: Sports

Clovis East's Irwin blows away field in the discus

The plan put before Willy Irwin was challenging, but ultimately doable.

Clovis East High throws coach Tran Sanders told Irwin that if he could add 20 feet to his discus mark and 2 feet in the shot put, The Bee's reigning Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year would improve on his performance from last year's CIF State Championships, where he took second in the discus and fourth in the shot put.

"And that's exactly what he did," Sanders said.

Irwin captured gold by blowing away the field in the discus and set a personal record in placing second in the shot put Saturday at the state finals before an announced crowd of 9,572 at Buchanan's Veterans Memorial Stadium.

"It feels great," said Irwin, who will play football and compete in track and field for Fresno City College next season. "I've been practicing hard all year and I finally got it."

Irwin started his day by unleashing a mark of 62-33/4 on his first attempt in the shot put. He would increase that to 63-21/2 on his final attempt to finish second behind defending champion and Fresno State football recruit Matt Darr (63-93/4) -- the third straight year a Central Section competitor has won the shot put and the sixth time in the past 15 years.

Irwin was just getting warmed up.

Not long after accepting his silver medal, Irwin fired his discus 195-6 to take the lead after the first round. He upped that to 205-11 on his third attempt, firmly putting the pressure on the rest of the field, which included defending champion Darr.

Darr hit 182-7 on his fourth attempt, but fouled on his final two and settled for fifth.

"That gave me a little relief there," Irwin said of Darr's final attempt.

Knowing he had the title secured heading into his final try, Irwin unleashed his fourth official 200-foot-plus throw of the competition, an event-winning toss of 207-8 that rivaled his nation-leading 208-10 launched Friday during qualifying.

"For him to come close to yesterday was great," said Sanders, who has coached Irwin since the fifth grade. "He set the pace for the national lead and backed it up with almost an identical throw today."

Irwin headed up the Central Section's first-ever top three sweep in the discus, with El Diamante's Brice Sandri placing second and Fowler's Jacob Budwig finishing third.

Sandri didn't even place at the section Masters meet two weeks ago, but got into the state field with an at-large qualifying mark. He then went out and improved on his fifth-place state finish from 2009 with a throw of 190-0 on his third attempt.

"I knew the competition was going to be fierce," said Sandri, who's headed to Fresno State for track and field. "I just needed to stay calm and compete with everyone else."

Budwig bettered his father and coach, former McLane state fourth-place medalist Jeff Budwig, by placing third in 186-0. Budwig was ranked fifth in the state heading into Masters last season but failed to qualify for state, making Saturday all the more special.

"To just be here is big," said Budwig, who will compete for Oregon next year. "And to throw as well as I did is awesome."

All three said the high level of coaching is responsible for the section's dominance in recent seasons. In addition to Budwig's father, Jeff, he's also coached by Kent Pagel. Sandri is coached by former state champion Rob Powell of Redwood.

Waseloff soars

Buchanan pole vaulter Holly Waseloff earned her second straight bronze, flying higher than last year in the process.

Waseloff cleared 12-3 in finishing behind only Westview's Kortney Ross (13-6) and St. Joseph's Natasha Kolbo (12-9). Waseloff cleared 11-10 to finish third here last season, when the winning mark was 13-2. Her career-best is 12-7.

"It's gotten more competitive," she said. "A lot of girls are jumping higher, but that's good. It's something to shoot for."

Waseloff dealt with ankle and back injuries this year, but said she felt good Saturday.

"I'm very happy," Waseloff said. "It's my senior year. I gave it everything I had."

On the boys side, Lemoore's Kyle Fraley tied for 11th at 14-3.

Rough day for Vilhauer

Redwood's Justin Vilhauer entered the day with the state's third-fastest time in the 1,600 but finished 10th.

Vilhauer started to make a push heading into the third turn and worked his way into third, but couldn't sustain the pace, finishing in 4:25.65. Loyola's Elias Gedyon won in 4:21.12.

Hoover's Germay Tesfai earned a medal with a fifth-place finish in 4:22.67.

Said Vilhauer: "It went out super slow and I was expecting the opposite. When it came to the last 200, I thought I had it. But Elias and others came after me. I locked up pretty bad. I turned it on a little early, but it's a learning experience."

Vilhauer was one of five runners competing in the distance double. He placed 24th in the 3,200 in in 9:32.05.

Also ...

-- Buchanan's Sean Johnson placed fourth in the boys 110 hurdles (13.88) and seventh in the 300 hurdles (38.04).

-- Redwood's Dillon Root got onto the medal stand in the long jump, finishing sixth in 22-7.

-- Redwood's Lissette Mendivil was eighth in the girls discus in 136-6.