Clovis East’s Beekman pulls historical double in section Masters track and field

Clovis East’s Brad Beekman pulled a 94-year first in the Central Section Masters Track and Field Championships by winning the pole vault (15-1) and discus (170-0).

Clovis East High senior Brad Beekman delivered an unprecedented sweep in the 94-year history of the Central Section track and field finals Saturday at Buchanan’s Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Not only did Beekman attempt a rare triple — pole vault, discus and shot put — he actually won two of them.

He left with gold medals in the pole vault (15 feet, 1 inch) and discus (170-0). And never before in a meet launched in 1915 has that winning double been accomplished.

Beekman placed 14th in the shot put at 45-04 1/2. He arrived with a season best of 48-10 1/2.

He’ll take personal bests of 15-6 in the pole vault and 172-2 in the discus into the CIF State Championships May 31 and June 1 at Buchanan.

Last year, in the section Masters, Beekman placed second in the pole vault (15-3) and fourth in the discus (159-6).

Clovis East extended its reign as the section’s most dominant boys pole vault program in the past eight years by going 1-2-3 in Saturday’s Masters with Beekman, Louie Pancotti (14-10) and Dalton Welch (14-4).

The Timberwolves also produced section champions in 2009 with Michael Peterson (15-4), ’07 with Jacob Mersino (15-0) and ’06 and ’05 with Andrew Pancotti.

16 B’nai B’rith candidates eligible for $2,500 scholarship

A $2,500 scholarship will be awarded to one of 16 candidates from Fresno County in the 62nd B’nai B’rith Student Athlete dinner Monday at the Clovis Veterans Memorial Building.
Each remaining nominee will receive $500 scholarships at the 6:30 p.m. function.

The candidates:

Cody Brazeal, Buchanan: Cross country and track and field. GPA: 4.31.
Brian Chongtoua, Clovis East: Soccer and tennis. GPA: 3.45.
Alex Fung, Sunnyside: Football, basketball and golf. GPA: 4.25.
Cesar Garcia, Roosevelt: Football, wrestling and swimming. GPA: 4.14.
Brian Gomez, Washington: Football, basketball, wrestling, track and field and golf. GPA: 2.50.
Jake Harper, Sanger: Water polo and swimming. GPA: 3.44.
Hannah Harvey, Clovis: Water polo and swimming. GPA: 4.30.
Connor Kennedy, Clovis North: Water polo and swimming. GPA: 4.16.
Emerson Kirk, Memorial: Water polo and swimming. GPA: 4.27.
Joshua Martin, Fresno: Water polo and swimming. GPA: 4.20.
L.J. Moore, Central: Football, basketball and track and field. GPA: 2.59.
Nwanneka Okwelogu, Clovis West: Basketball and track and field. GPA: 4.32.
Njeri Omawahleh, Edison: Track and field. GPA: 3.53.
Nick Peterson, Hoover: Football, basketball and volleyball. GPA: 3.80.
Alexandra Teliha, Bullard: Tennis, soccer, Cross country and track and field. GPA: 4.27
Carlos Vargas, McLane: Football, wrestling and track and field. GPA: 3.35.

Final lineup card for Centennial great Randy Roberts today? We’ll see

Centennial baseball coach Randy Roberts, who just exchanged lineup cards at home plate with Clovis’ James Patrick, has announced his retirement, effective after the end of the season.

That means today’s Central Section Division I quarterfinal at Clovis’ Lloyd Merriman Field could be it for Roberts.

He’s 421-142-2 with 13 league titles and three section championships in 20 years with the Hawks, according to section historian Bob Barnett.

He’s opposed by Patrick, who’s 614-214-2 with seven section titles in a 28-year career (two Memorial; 26 Clovis).

The ongoing legacy of Bullard volleyball coach Roy Verduzco

If Bullard boys volleyball coach Roy Verduzco delivers his 839th career win Tuesday night at Clovis in the Central Section semifinals, it will be an upset.

Coach Roy Verduzco will be the underdog Tuesday night when his fifth-seeded Bullard boys volleyball team visits No. 1 Clovis in the Central Section semifinals.

But this is an unusual role for one of the most successful coaches in state history — in any sport.

Section historian Bob Barnett provides these current numbers on Verduzco, who’s a better man than he is a coach — and, clearly, he’s an awesome coach:

** In boys volleyball at Bullard, he’s 688-139 with 29 league titles and seven section championships and seven runners-up in 30 years. The record and league titles are state records.

** He also went 150-44 with three league titles in girls volleyball with the Knights.

** So, total, he’s 838-183, a winning percentage of .821.

The 838 wins, Barnett says, are No. 3 in section history — regardless of sport or sports — behind Bakersfield Christian’s Frank Thiessen (1,096, boys/girls tennis, girls basketball) and Redwood’s Frank Bell (889, boys/girls water polo and swimming).

Jenna Prandini, in breakout day as collegian, helps lead Oregon to Pac-12 track title

Jenna Prandini, shown here displaying her five state gold medals won in track and field at Clovis High, is proving to be golden at NCAA power Oregon as well.

Jenna Prandini, in the highlight of her young college career, won the 100-meter dash and scored in two other events while helping power Oregon to the Pac-12 women’s track and field championship last weekend at USC’s Locker Stadium and Cromwell Field.

And Alyssa Monteverde assisted, also.

Prandini, a redshirt freshman from Clovis coming off a leg injury last year, won the 100 (11.46 seconds), ran a leg on a winning 400 relay (43.81) and placed third in the 200 (23.33).

That means she accounted for 18.5 of the Ducks’ 139 points as they captured a fifth-straight Pac-12 title. Trailing were Arizona (123), Arizona State (110.33), UCLA (87.33), Stanford (86.50) and USC (81).

Monteverde, a redshirt freshman from Clovis West, placed fifth in the 100 high hurdles (13.45).

Oregon’s men also ran away with its seventh consecutive conference crown.

Prandini leaned at the tape to clip UCLA’s Kyle Price (11.48) in the 100.

Prandini was a five-time state gold medalist in high school and remains the Central Section record-holder in the 100 at 11.34. She also owns section standards in the 200 (23.75) and triple jump (41-9 3/4).

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The imperfect side of an otherwise near perfect day for Edison girls track

Tia Edwards is one of the leading 300 low hurdles runners in the Central Section, but the Edison senior will need someone to scratch to advance to the Masters May 18.

For all that went well for Edison’s girls Wednesday in the North Area track and field meet at Clovis East, the Tigers experienced one brutal break. And it looks worse today.

Edison senior Tia Edwards had built a substantial lead in the 300 low hurdles when she clipped the eighth and final hurdle and fell. She got to her feet and staggered to the line, finishing eighth at 48.74.

“She was on a 43-second pace,” Tigers coach Danny Alberty says.

Only Liberty-Bakersfield sophomore sensation Morganne Hill has performed in that range in the Central Section this season. She won Wednesday’s South Area 300 LH at 42.97.

Here’s where it gets worse for Edwards and Edison, which has a good shot at unseating defending champion Buchanan for the section girls team title May 18 in the Masters meet at the Bears’ Veterans Memorial Stadium:

The top three finishers in each event from four area meets, plus six at-large entries in each event, qualified for the Masters. That’s a total of 18 competitors in each event.

As it stands now — and no matter that Edwards was flying toward a 43-second time Wednesday and clocked a 45.33 two weeks ago — she’s the first alternate in the event for the Masters.

It also doesn’t matter, as another painful example, that the three automatic qualifying times out of the Sierra/Sequoia meet ran 47.48, 48.78 and 49.98.

So, ahead of Edwards are the seven who finished before her at the North Area meet; the three automatic qualifiers from the Central, South and Sierra/Sequoia meets; and two more at-large — the fourth- and fifth-place finishers from the South Area, Bakersfield’s Aleetia Miller (46.93) and West’s Raleigha Garcia (48.12).

Should one scratch, Edwards would be in.

“I could see her getting in,” Buchanan coach Brian Weaver says.

Who knows, that could the six, eight or 10 points that could be the difference for Edison vs. the Bears.

At the North Area, Edison produced five golds and a total of 11 top-three finishers; Buchanan produced three golds and a total of 12 top-three finishers.

“It could come down to the 1,600 relay,” Alberty says, referring to the Masters’ final girls event.

Wednesday, Edison (section-record 3:47.66) and Buchanan (school-record 3:50.91) delivered the Nos. 2 and 9 times in the state this season.

Prep track and field: Four area qualifying meets Wednesday for Masters

Four qualifying track and field area meets for the Central Section Masters Championships will be held Wednesday.

They are: North (Clovis East), Central (Golden West), South (Liberty-Bakersfield) and Sierra-Sequoia Championships (Exeter).

The three top finishers from each event in each area plus six at-large entries culled overall from each event in all the areas will advance to the Masters on May 18 at Buchanan’s Veterans Memorial Stadium. And it will also be there that the CIF State Championships will return May 31 and June 1.

Key points and notes:

** Generally, this isn’t a day for section-leading marks; rather, just good enough to advance to the Masters.

** Consequently, there’s no reason for athletes — particularly the section’s elite athletes — to risk false starts or, in the case of relays, dropping the baton in exchanges or passing out of lanes. This will especially apply to Edison’s girls in the 400 and 1,600 relays, where the Tigers are top-ranked in the section and No. 7 and 3 in the state at 47.13 and 3:47.95. Edison’s boys are also No. 1 in the section and No. 6 in the state in the 400 relay at 41.55.

The question: Will Buchanan’s Hagen Reedy double in the 1,600 and 3,200 today in the North Area meet or run 3,200 only?

** Will be interesting if Buchanan’s Hagen Reedy doubles in the 1,600 and 3,200. She’s the section’s defending champion in both, but, last week, returned in the Tri-River Athletic Conference finals after a two-month absence because of a leg injury. She won the 3,200 last week, but didn’t run the 1,600. I wouldn’t think she’d beat Clovis freshman Mikayla Sodersten in the 3,200 Wednesday, not that it matters. Again, it’s just about qualifying for the Masters.

** Hoover’s Jordan Neal-Davis is the most intriguing participant in the North Area meet. He allegedly clocked a hand-timed 10.4 100 in last week’s North Yosemite League finals. That converts roughly to a 10.65 automatic-timed 100, which would still lead the section. He entered the NYL meet with a best of 11.19, which is miles from a 10.65. So, many eyes on him Wednesday in a meet that will begin at 3:30 p.m.



Prep baseball: Bee rankings, Clovis North @ Buchanan, and notes

Here’s The Bee’s Central Section baseball rankings heading into the final week of the regular season:

Clovis North’s Jack Labosky (8-0) puts his unbeaten record on the line at Buchanan tonight.

TOP 10

1. Buchanan 24-4-1
2. Clovis North 23-5
3. Clovis 20-8
4. Kerman 23-3
5. Clovis West 17-11
6. Garces 20-6
7. Centennial 15-9-1
8. Stockdale 16-10
9. Bullard 16-12
10. Fresno 18-8


D-I: 1, Buchanan; 2, Clovis North; 3, Clovis
D-II: 1, Fresno; 2, Memorial (21-7); 3, Western (21-9-1)
D-III: 1, Garces; 2, Golden West (17-8); 3, Lemoore (13-12)
D-IV: 1, Kerman; 2, Fowler (19-6); 3, Bakakersfield Christian (18-9)
D-V: 1, Caruthers (21-2-1); 2, Firebaugh (19-8); 3, Immanuel (13-9)
D-VI:1, Minarets (14-13-1); 2,Sierra Pacific (11-7); 3, Kings Christian (12-8)


** Tonight’s TRAC showdown matching No. 2 Clovis North (23-5, 10-3) at No. 1 Buchanan (24-4-1, 11-2) at 6:30

Jack Wheeless (10-1) of No. 1 Buchanan will take on No. 2 Clovis North tonight at 6:30 at Buchanan for first place in the TRAC and probable No. 1 seed in the section Division I playoffs.

will offer The Jack Pack we’ve all been waiting for: The Broncos Jack Labosky (8-0, 0.60) vs. the Bears Jack Wheeless (10-1, 1.10). Sports Illustrated has asked for Wheeless’ stats, apparently prepared to feature him in the magazine’s weekly “Faces in the Crowd” page.

Then, Friday at Clovis North, it will be the Broncos’ Nick Perez (6-0, 0.90) vs. the Bears Connor Loeprich (6-1, 1.75).

** Buchanan has been dumped from No. 5 to No. 17 in Cal-Hi Sports state rankings. The website dinged the Bears for their 8-2 loss Saturday to Clayton Valley-Concord — a ridiculous slap considering Buchanan started its No. 5 pitcher, Aaron Gutierrez. Clovis North is ranked No. 9 in the state.

** Section baseball playoff seedings will be Saturday in Porterville. Who to seed No. 3 behind any combination of Buchanan and Clovis North? Clovis out of the TRAC? Bullard out of the CMAC? Centennial out of the Southwest Yosemite League. Promises to be tough call.

** NYL champion Fresno has moved into the overall Top 10 at No. 10 and atop Division II at No. 1. Warriors pitchers Jorge Alvarado and Brandon Acosta are legit. And JC coaches Ron Scott (Fresno City) and Steve Pearse (Reedley) will be fighting for them. Those are long odds for Pearse, though, with Fresno City next door to Fresno High.

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McCall, McClard, McDonald highlight Central Section picks on Cal-Hi Sports All-State girls basketball

Ridgeview’s Erica McCall, a 6-foot-3 center headed for Stanford, headlines Central Section representation on Cal-Hi Sports All-State girls basketball teams.

McCall made first team on Cal-Hi’s Elite 30 — the website’s feature team. She’s also the Division II Player of the Year.

Hanford senior Bayli McClard was named third team on Cal-Hi Sports All-State girls basketball Elite 30

Hanford’s Gonzaga-bound Bayli McClard made third team on the Elite 30, and Bullard’s Aarion McDonald made first team All-Freshman.

Here’s all Central Section players recognized:

Elite 30: Erica McCall, sr., Ridgeview, first team; Bayli McClard, sr., Hanford, third team.

All-Underclass: Brooke Johnson, jr., Hanford, third team.

All-Freshmen: Aarion McDonald, Bullard, first team; Celese West, Garces, first team.

All-Division I: McClard, Hanford, first team; Johnson, Hanford, second team; Emily Anderson, jr., Clovis West, second team.

All-Division II: McCall, Ridgeview, Player of the Year.

All-Division V: Olivia Sorensen, sr., Immanuel, second team.

Section track and field: 17 ranked among state’s top 5; 12 league meets this week

As a combination of 12 league meets will be held this week in the Central Section, the region has gathered steam for the CIF State Track and Field Championships in four weeks at Buchanan’s Veterans Memorial Stadium by elevating 17 individual or relays among the state’s top five rankings.

Buchanan senior Taylor Smith leads the state in the boys high jump at 6-10 1/4 after placing fourth in the state last year at 6-8.

That includes three No. 1s in Stockdale junior Blake Haney in the 1,600 (4:10.39) and 3,200 (8:48.58), and Buchanan’s Taylor Smith in the high jump (6-10 1/4).

Smith, in breaking the school record previously held by his brother, Travis (6-10), took over the state lead in Friday’s Reedley Invitational.

It was there that Edison’s girls section a section record by blazing 3:47.95 in the 1,600 relay with twins Tia and Tar Edwards, Nailah Harris-Murillo and Njeri Omawahleh. That broke the school’s own previous section standard of 3:48.08 in 2009 while moving the Tigers to No. 3 in the state this season.

Edison’s girls, also Friday at Reedley, clocked 47.13 for No. 6 all-time in the section in the 400 relay with Jazmen Bunch, Harris-Murillo, Omawahleh and Melese Crozier. That ranks No. 4 in the state.

And yet also at Reedley, Buchanan freshman phenom Hannah Waller zipped a 54.77 in the 400 — No. 2 all-time for a freshman in the section, No. 3 all-time in the section overall and No. 2 in the state this season.

Here are the section’s individuals and relays ranked among the state’s top five:

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