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PREPS: Do or die for local track & field performers

Darrell Moody
dmoody@nevadaappeal.com

It’s do or die time for Carson High’s track & field performers hopeful of qualifying for this year’s 4A state meet.

The regional finals get under way Saturday at 8:30 a.m. at Carson High School. The top three finishers advance to the state meet May 20-21 at Del Sol High School.

Carson High’s boys contingent is led by triple jumper Gabe Pongasi, pole vaulter Eric Garcia, 400 runner Taylor Bradshaw, and the 800 relay team of Clint Page, Trey Jensen, Pongasi and Bradshaw.

Garcia has cleared 14-6 this year, and he’s in a heated battle with Nick Maestretti of Douglas, Justin Seyfried of Douglas and Colt Silva of Douglas. Galena’s Thomas Sullivan also is in the mix.

“He (Garcia) has had a good week of practice,” Carson coach Robert Maw said. “He’s cleared 15 feet. Hopefully he’ll be competitive.”

Pongasi jumped 41-10 3/4 and will battle Hug’s Jevon Brown, who went 48-9 1/2 last week, and Douglas’ Cole Melhus (40-0 3/4) and Galena’s Sean McGinley (41-3).

“He’s sitting pretty good,” Maw said. “He’s not going to compete with a guy who jumps 48 feet, but I expect him to finish second or third.”

Bradshaw was fifth last week at 51.46, and he may have to get down to around 50 flat to finish in the top three against the likes of Rollins Stallworth, Nicholas Perrino and Arnold Carrillo, all from McQueen, and Spanish Springs’ Austin Rauh.

The Senators’ 800 relay team is seeded third at 1:31.81. Maw said some changes have been made in the running order. Bradshaw will run the leadoff leg.

“We’re trying to see if we can pick up some time,” Maw said.

The Senators’ 400 relay team is seeded fifth at 44.34. Jensen, Page and Pongasi will team with Connor Beattie. In the 1600 relay, Page has replaced Connor Fallon, and the group ran a 3:34 which could be enough to qualify.

“I think we might surprise a few teams,” Maw said. “We are coming in with no time. This group hasn’t run together.”

On the girls’ side, Josilyn Daggs (100 hurdles, 100), Madison Saarem (pole vault) and Alex Drozdoff (3200, 1600) have the best opportunities to move on as individuals.

Daggs is seeded third in the hurdles and fourth at 100 meters. She has beaten McQueen’s Katy Hufford in head-to-head competition.

“I expect her to be second or third in the hurdles,” Maw said. “In the 100, we’ve been trying to work on her start.

“Maddi is looking good. I expect her to go through.”

Drozdoff qualified in both events, and Maw expects her to run both on Saturday, though that could change after she runs the 3200. Drozdoff qualified fourth in the 1600 and needs to move up just one spot to make state in the 1600.

“No doubt she should move on in the 3200,” Maw said.

The 400 and 800 relay teams have an outside shot of moving on as does Elena Thurman in the triple jump.

3A TRACK AT FERNLEY

The 3A championships get under way at Fernley today at 3, and Dayton coach Mike Paul doesn’t expect to get as many kids advancing as he’s had in the past.

There’s a change in qualifying in 3A this year. In the past it’s been six from Northern Nevada and two from Southern Nevada. This year, the sixth-place finisher in the north and third-place finisher from the south will have their marks compared. The best mark will move on.

“It’s going to be a lean year,” Paul said. “I expect 15 to 20 kids to make state, but that’s not as many as we’ve had in other years.”

And Paul got some bad news when he learned that defending state high jump champ Kage Walker had broken is foot and will be unavailable.

The cupboard isn’t bare with Cody Yeater (6-1) and Tylor Bard (6-2) should move on. Yeater also will challenge in the triple jump at 39-11.

Manuel Castaneda (shot put) has thrown 47-9. Teammate John Serrano could also make it. Serrano has thrown 126 feet and should advance. Hurdler Cameron McGifford is better in the 300 (42,82) than the 110 (16.84).

On the girls’ side, Kathie Arias is a heavy favorite to win the shot put (40 feet) and discus (131-9). Katrina Breithaupt is running the 800 and 1600 and Madi Foley is in the high jump (4-10).

“She’s been injured and playing club volleyball,” Paul said of Foley. “She’s been jumping well this week.”

Paul has high hopes for the 400 relay squad. Lettie Lynch, Maribel Ledezma, Devon Cates and Alyse Fletcher are running the shorter event.