Highland’s Rick Mayberry and Stockdale’s Dave Lonsinger have used similar coaching strategies in hopes of a big payoff in two weeks.
Mayberry asked junior Moises Medrano what he wanted to do heading into the Central Section Masters Track & Field Championships on Saturday at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Clovis.
Medrano pushed himself in the 1,600-meter finals at the South Area meet 10 days ago as hard as he could, then wanted to see how his body responded to a grueling 800 race an hour later.
“He wanted to run the 1,600 and 800 and see how he did against competition at Area,” Newberry said. “That was his idea. I gave him the option. He wanted to run both and see how hard it would be to do a hard double.”
Medrano won the area title in 1,600 but fell short to North’s Adrian Lopez in the 800 even though Medrano is the section leader and No. 5 in the state in the event at 1:53.44.
Medrano has a greater probability of securing a top-six finish in the 800 at the CIF State Championships in two weeks, which loomed large in the decision to scale back to only that event.
Lonsinger, meanwhile, is no stranger to training long-distance runners. From Connor Fisher to Cameron Miller to Blake Haney, the greatest boys distance runner in section history, the Stockdale coach knows his stuff.
So when it came time to get sophomore Marcus Mota geared up for the final postseason push, a plan was in place.
Just as Newberry allowed Medrano to scale back to event where he ranks best, Mota will run only the 3,200.
“If you are trying to go in your preferred event, you want to give yourself the best chance to run the race you want,” Lonsinger said.
Mota has recorded the 18th-best time in the state in the 3,200 at 9:11.05, also the top time for a sophomore in California, whereas his best time of 4:19.93 in the 1,600 is 73rd in the state.
Top 5 storylines heading into Masters:
1. Will Hamm clear 5-11? — Stockdale senior Iesha Hamm has nearly cleared 5-11 in the girls high jump each of the past three weeks. The state leader in the event, at 5-10, feels confident in practice and thinks she can become first Kern County girls athlete to clear the mark.
“I have been trusting the process and I think it is time. I am ready,” Hamm said.
2. Can the county sweep the podium in the girls 100? — The shot at a 1-2-3 finish in the 100 is strong. Stockdale junior Aaliyah Wilson is tops in the section and No. 5 in the state at a blazing 11.82 with Bakersfield senior Zara Anthony the second seed at 12.31 and East sophomore Neshara Smith is third at 12.47.
3. Can the SEYL send two to state in boys 1,600 relay — North’s boys won the area title with a photo finish as Caleb Melson edged Medrano at the finish line. North and Highland are ranked No. 2 and 3 behind Fresno-Central and are both running the top relay times at the end of the season, when it matters most.
4. How many double winners will the county have? — There’s a very good chance a handful of athletes end the night with multiple individual medals. Garces senior Cameron Roberson is ranked No. 3 in the section the boys 100 and 200, in striking distance for gold in both.
Liberty senior Alicia Viveros is the section leader in the girls shot put (45-6) and No. 3 in the discus (153-9), both marks are also top 10 in the state.
Others with shots a multiple titles are Desert’s Asia Mallory (girls long and triple jump), BHS senior Mikaela Romanini (400, 800) and Ethan Turner of Foothill (110 and 300 hurdles).
5. How fast will Wilson go? — Stockdale’s Aaliyah Wilson is ranked in the top 5 in the state in the girls 100 and the 100 hurdles (13.72).
Last week at the area meet, Wilson set the section record in the hurdles a week after tying the record held by former Liberty standout Morganne Hill.
With the temperature expected in the 90s during both events — ideal conditions for sprinters —Wilson could climb even further up the state leaderboard.