Atwater's Hoofard Masters champ in 300 hurdles

ragostini@modbee.comMay 27, 2013 

— ELK GROVE — A full moon hung over the Elk Grove High stadium and Dallas Hoofard stood alone.

The Atwater High senior sobbed and was unable to approach his 4x100 relay teammates. Hoofard, a senior, took the anchor baton in third place but finished fifth as the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Track and Field Championships rallied to an end.

To his credit, Hoofard was in no mood to celebrate his Masters victory in the 300-meter hurdles.

"I let my team down. I wanted them to go to state," he said. "I wanted to do it for them. It just hurts to go out like that."

Hoofard's energy had been spent by seven events in the last two days, including three pressurized finals Friday.

About an hour before the meet's end, Hoofard exploded from the blocks and into the lead of the 300 hurdles. He remained strong at the turn and, though he struck the next-to-last hurdle, he held on for the win over Andre Lindsey of Stagg.

Hoofard was timed in 38.26 seconds, not his best. More important, he beat Lindsey, who'll soon don helmet and shoulder pads for Nebraska. Earlier, Lindsey powered through a winning 13.96 in the 110 hurdles, the state's fastest time this season. Hoofard placed fourth in the 110 (14.80).

"I finished a little sloppy," Hoofard said of his winning effort.

Rest assured, he'll be pleased ... later.

More than a little drama played out in the section's most important track meet. Only the top three in each event advanced to the CIF Championships next week at Clovis' Buchanan High.

Harman Purewal of Golden Valley advanced after his second place Thursday night in the high jump. One night later, GV teammate Ryan Pust annexed his own runner-up finish in the pole vault.

Pust, the brother of 2012 Masters champion Steven Pust, needed a clutch clearance on his final try at 15 feet, 1 inch, to extend his season. He did it with room to spare as his father Tim and Steven cheered nearby.

"I thought in my head, 'I have to do this,' " Ryan said. "I had to focus and not be as timid like I had been. I won't be as nervous next week."

Buhach Colony sophomore Brandy Coward, a state qualifier in the 200 last year, goes this year in the 400. Her personal-best of 56.0 was good for third.

"The 400 is something different. Every time I run it I feel faster," Coward said. "I'm glad to say I made it back to state."

The day began with Golden Valley's Ofolabi Olabode picking up his own third with a 55-11½ in the discus. He wanted more, however, than just the trip to Clovis.

Olabode's confidence soared after he threw 59-8 on his final throw last week to win the Section D-1 title in the same Elk Grove ring. But the Masters win did not happen.

"It felt good (to qualify for State) but I was disappointed. I could have done better," he said. "I wasn't feeling that drive."

Part of his frustration stemmed from winner Nick Denton of Davis, whose 56-91/2 clearly was within Olabode's reach. Olabode guns for 60 feet.

"I'm glad I get another chance to throw," he said.

Atwater's Abraham Alvarado took home a tough-luck fourth in the 800. His 1:55.80 left him less than a second away from a state berth.

Matthew Moreno of Buhach Colony placed fifth in the 200 (22.23).

Modesto Bee staff writer Ron Agostini can be reached at ragostini@modbee.com or (209) 578-2302. Follow Ron via Twitter @modbeesports.

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