ELK GROVE — Buhach Colony High School’s Barbara Coward admits to being a bit envious that her twin sister, Brandy, younger by 24 minutes, has qualified for the CIF State Track and Field Meet in her first two high school seasons, while she has yet to qualify.
Their goal this year is for both to advance to the state meet June 6-7 at Buchanan High in Clovis. First up, however, is next weekend’s Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Meet at Elk Grove High.
So far, things are looking pretty good for the Coward twins.
Brandy Coward was the unofficial star of the show Friday at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I finals, winning track and field’s glamour events – the 100 meters (12.1 seconds) and 200 (tying the meet record in 24.45).
Barbara Coward already had punched her ticket to Masters on Wednesday with a win in the discus (135 feet, 1 inch). She increased her odds of making state by qualifying for Masters in the shot put. Her throw of 37-1¾ was a personal best.
“I felt kind of left out not going to state the past two years,” Barbara Coward said. “My plan this year … was to not feel left out.”
Just moments after crossing the finish line in the 200, Brandy Coward’s eyes looked vacant and her knees appeared to buckle slightly. As she steadied herself, the public address announcer’s voice informed the crowd she had just tied a meet record.
“I’m feeling a little light-headed,” said Coward, who asked for a cup of water as she sat on the artificial turf just a few steps from the finish line at Elk Grove/Laguna Creek Community Stadium. “I was happy to hear that it was a PR and a meet record. I’m pretty excited, even though I’m not showing it.
“Inside, I’m jumping for joy.”
The twins were also part of the 400-meter relay team – joined by Vanessa Andrade and Rai Ajua Slate – that qualified for Masters in sixth place (49.1).
Golden Valley’s Mariyah Banks qualified for Masters in the girls 1,600 with a time of 5:15.95.
The Thunder girls placed fourth in the overall team standings with 37 points, trailing St. Francis of Sacramento (85), Vacaville (83) and Davis-Yolo (67).
On the boys side, Atwater’s Edward Kemp qualified in two individual events. Kemp was seventh in the 100-meter championship final with a time of 11.11 and second in the 200 consolation final (22.36). All eight runners in the championship final, and the top four in the consolation final, advance to Masters.
Kemp also turned in a monster anchor leg for the Falcons’ 4x100 team, which qualified fifth (42.81).
“Our big thing was qualifying our 4x100,” Falcons coach Ken Rhoades said. “We have a freshman (Ezequiel Gutierrez), a sophomore (Angelo Olmos), a junior (Daniel Uribe) and Kemp. Having three of those guys back for next year is pretty exciting.
“We think we’re a year or two away from being up with the top teams again.”
Uribe will move on to the Masters meet in the 300 intermediate hurdles with his eighth-place showing (40.44). Merced’s Jamar Turner was seventh, nipping Uribe by two-hundreths of a second.
In the discus, Armando Guager, who entered the meet with the best mark in the section (186-0), finished sixth with a toss of 147-11, but he’ll move on, as will teammate Chris Casares (138-10).
“Mildly,” Casares replied when asked if he was pleased with his performance. “I was throwing 150 in warmups, and I finished with a 138-10. It was PR, but it wasn’t in the 150s.”
Merced’s Abel Aleman qualified in two events. He was seventh in the 800 (2:06.59) and fifth in the 3,200 (9:34.83). Teammate Daniel Ambriz was ninth in the 1,600 (4.22.68) and Golden Valley’s Jashaan Wright was second in the consolation final for the 110 high hurdles (15.23).