Iconic long-distance presence at Friday’s Reedley Invitational

Former Reedley High long-distance running great Pete Romero will “pass the torch” to Stockdale junior Blake Haney Friday in a special introduction at the Reedley Invitational.

It will be a Hall of Fame moment regarding Central Section long distance running at Friday’s 70th Reedley Invitational.

At about 5:30 p.m., at Reedley High, section track and field historian Ron Blackwood will introduce the leading 3,200-meter runners in Valley history — Stockdale’s Blake Haney and Reedley’s Pete Romero.

Haney, a junior, clocked 8 minutes and 48.58 seconds three weeks ago at the Arcadia Invitational to break Romero’s 46-year section record of 8:49.4.

Romero’s mark was a 2-mile time converted to 3,200 meters. Metric distances were implemented in the section in 1980.

“It will be Pete passing the torch, so to speak, to Blake,” says Aggie Contreras, Reedley’s coach and director of one of the state’s longest-running meets. “We thought it was a good idea.”

Also competing at Reedley in a meet that will begin at 3:30 p.m. will be Buchanan’s Cody Brazeal, who has run the fastest true 1,600 in section history at 4:07.72. Romero ran a converted 4:06.4 in his senior season at Reedley in 1967.

And yet another all-time section great entered Friday will be Madera South’s Jose Herrera, the Division I cross country champion in the fall, who is ranked No. 2 in the section this season in both the 1,600 (4:12.03) and 3,200 (9:07.82). Haney is No. 1 this season in the 1,600 (4:10.39).

Haney is top-ranked in the state for the season in both the 1,600 and 3,200. Herrera is No. 6 in the 1,600 and No. 9 in the 3,200.

Haney, Herrera and Brazeal are expected to represent the section well in the CIF State Track and Field Championships May 31 and June 1 at Buchanan’s Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Prep track and field: Madera South relay No. 1 nationally

Madera South’s Jose Herrera, The Bee’s boys Runner of the Year last fall in cross country, was part of a four-by-1,600 relay that clocked a nation-best 17:44.18 last weekend at the Arcadia Invitational.

A four-by-1,600 relay isn’t traditional in track and field, but Madera South’s boys made the best of it, nonetheless, by clocking a nation-leading 17:44.18 at the Arcadia Invitational with seniors Jose Herrera, Uriel Cabanas and Israel Guzman-Berdejo, and sophomore Juan Macias.

Herrera, The Bee’s boys cross country Runner of the Year last fall, Cabanas and Macias placed first, fourth and 10th while leading the Stallions to a runaway section D-I title in November at Woodward Park.

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Stockdale junior Blake Haney blazed 8:48.59 to set a section 3,200 record while beating a field loaded with several of the nation’s top runners at Arcadia.

The section’s previous best true 3,200 was an 8:51.60 by Foothill’s Chris Schwartz in 2009. Reedley’s Peter Romero was credited for a yards-to-metric converted 8:49.4 in 1967.

Haney is top-seeded in both the 1,600 (11:30 a.m.) and 3,200 (3:15 p.m.) invitational runs at Saturday’s West Coast Relays at Buchanan. A 1,600 beauty is lined up, including section record-holder Cody Brazeal of Buchanan, who has just returned from a leg injury, and Herrera.

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Western’s David Booker soared 23-2 1/2 in the long jump at Arcadia. That’s No. 1 in the section and No. 6 in the state. Adoree Jackson of Serra-Gardena leads at 24-6 1/2. He won the 2012 state at 25-0 1/2.