Eduardo “Lalo” Herrera can expect to experience the gamut of weather conditions when beginning his collegiate running career next fall at Colorado in mile-high Boulder.
Not that there’s any concern for the Madera South distance dandy, who had fans gasping at Saturday’s Central Section Masters Track and Field Championships at Buchanan’s Veterans Memorial Stadium.
He won the 1,600 in 4 minutes, 12.38 seconds and the 3,200 in 9:09.58 and placed second in the 800 in a narrow-miss 1:53.85. North’s Curtis Threlkeld won it at 1:53.60.
Further, the conditions of Herrera’s races that started at 5:27 p.m. (1,600), 6:50 p.m. (800) and 7:55 p.m. (3,200) ranged from 70 degrees of perfection to miserable wind and cold that plunged temperatures into the high 50s.
The Fresno Bee two-time cross country Runner of the Year and the 2015 Outstanding Track Event Performer in track and field scored the most points, 28, among 725 boys and girls at the Masters. Scoring was on a 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 system from first through eighth place.
“A kid like Eduardo can only do this because of his talent, how hard he works and, mentally, he’s ahead of everybody,” Stallions coach Eloy Quintana says. “Everything I’ve thrown at Lalo – I mean, everything – there’s no way I can break the kid. He says, ‘Coach, tell me what to do, and I’ll trust you 100 percent.’ ”
The top three Masters finishers in each event qualified for the State CIF Championships, June 3-4 at the same venue.
Herrera will drop the 800 to concentrate on the 1,600 and 3,200, in which he placed third in last year’s state final at 9:02.09.
His personal bests of 4:03.57 (converted from the mile) and 8:55.01 in the 1,600 and 3,200, respectively, are Nos. 2 and 7 in section history.
Buchanan repeats team title sweep – Buchanan ran away with the team championships for the second year in a row, narrowly missing its year-old Masters girls scoring record in the process.
The Bears girls had six golds and placed in 14 of 16 events while compiling 132 points – 8.5 shy of their 2015 total.
They had 22 girls score in 14 individual events in addition to sweeping the 400 (47.08) and 1,600 (3:54.08) relays. They received additional wins from Hannah Waller (wind-aided 23.82 in the 200, 54.43 in the 400), Yamilet Biggers (wind-aided 12.17 in the 100) and Remington Mahlum (39-1 1/2 feet in the triple jump).
Buchanan’s boys, strong in hurdles and field events, scored 81 points to beat Bullard by 22.
Their gold medal performances came from Paramveer Chohan (38.32 in the 300 intermediate hurdles), Griffin Carter (14-6 pole vault) and Jacob Wilson (195-1 discus).
The team titles continue to mount for the Bears: seven of the past eight years for the boys and four of the past five years and six overall for the girls since the program was launched in 1993.
A combination of college-caliber athlete and depth has been the winning formula for Buchanan, whose 197 track and field members is unrivaled in the section.
Has it reached the point where the program is selling itself in regard to participation interest?
“I believe so,” says Brian Weaver, a multiple cross country and track and field Coach of the Year by The Bee. “Success breeds success, and our kids recruit friends and classmates. It’s not me.”
Waller scorecard – Waller, signed with 2015 NCAA champion Oregon, finished with 11 Masters golds – six individual and five relays in four years.
Saturday marked the second straight year she won four golds (two individual, two relays) while also becoming only the second girl to capture four titles in the 400 in the history of section female competition that began in 1971. Stockdale’s Keisha Gaines (2000-03) was the other.
Reflecting on her career, Waller was already in tears while listening to classical music driving to Saturday’s meet.
And she was near that emotional point moments after winning her latest 400 as she collapsed, uninjured, just past the finish line.
“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. I feel very blessed.”
Blossoming Budwig – The Budwig track and field family tree (Jeff, Robert, Debbie, Jacob, Jayme) continues to grow with the latest, Jocelynn.
The freshman delivered the first girls gold in Fowler history in the discus (146-5) and placed second in the shot put (39-11 3/4).
The other Bullard blazer – Much has been said, and for good reason, about Bullard’s Charles Williams, who became the school’s first Masters sprint sweeper (10.63 100, wind-aided 21.47 200) while contributing sizzling legs on the winning 400 (41.75) and 1,600 (3:24.22) relays.
But another major Knights points producer was junior Mahmoud Adams, who also ran on both relays, won the 400 (48.45) and placed second in the 200 (21.71).