Golden Valley stars place fifth in state meet

The Modesto BeeJune 8, 2014 

— Golden Valley graduates Ryan Pust and Afolabi Olabode lingered on the field and chatted with opponents after their competition ended Saturday night. They drank in every moment as their high school careers ended.

The 96th CIF State Track and Field Championships, a page-turning event for each of the approximately 900 athletes who qualified to get here, meant even more to the GV stars.

Pust, the gifted pole vaulter, and Olabode, the powerful shot putter, depart as Sac-Joaquin Section Masters champions. Both brought great hopes with them to Veterans Memorial Stadium at Buchanan High School, the steamy site for one of the nation’s best high school track meets, and both exited with fifth-place medals.

Their reactions were identical – happy, but ...

“I was satisfied, but I felt like I could have done more,” said Olabode, who placed 10th at state in 2013.

Olabode, seeded sixth entering the event, opened by equaling his season-best 60 feet, 61/4 inches to lead after the first round. He couldn’t build on it, however, and fouled on two of his final five throws. Dotun Ogundeji of Madison-San Diego won with a put of 65-51/2.

“I felt 62 (feet) was going to happen. I felt the power,” Olabode said. “I didn’t have it technically. Just falling short.”

Pust, ninth at state a year ago, topped everyone in California last week with his 16-7 in the section Masters Championship at Elk Grove. He was a member of what was billed as the best-ever field in the state pole vault.

An encouraging warmup for Pust was followed by problems. He needed all three attempts before he cleared 15-6 and hit 16-0 on his second. He finished with three misses at 16-6.

“I was on the pole I wanted to be on. I didn’t have the same technique I had in warmups. I think there were some nerves,” Pust said. “I came in with a lot of expectations, but a lot of guys felt the pressure.”

He was right. Thousand Oaks’ Luigi Colella, one of three this season to clear 17 feet, no-heighted. The winner was Carl Johanson of Orange Lutheran at 17-0.

Steven Pust, Ryan’s older brother, took fourth in the state meet in 2012.

“But I jumped higher,” Ryan added.

The brothers will reunite at Sacramento State while Olabode plans to continue at UC Santa Barbara.

Bee staff writer Ron Agostini can be reached at or (209) 578-2302. Follow him on Twitter @ModBeeSports.

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