Mahogany Stitt was lured away by the prestige of Sacramento City College.
The Panthers’ storied success in track and field was too much to pass up compared to Merced College’s emerging program. And Stitt thrived under Sac City’s tutelage, reaching the state meet as a freshman last season.
Still, it wasn’t home. After a little soul searching, she decided to give Merced College a try. The move was everything she hoped it would be, as Stitt went into last weekend’s California Community College Athletic Association Track & Field Championships with a legitimate shot at state titles in the high, long and triple jumps.
Stitt came up empty in the title department but had a nice showing, tying for the best height in the high jump and placing sixth in the triple jump and ninth in the long jump. She settled for second in the high jump on a tiebreaker after not hitting her mark of 5 feet, 51/4 inches until her third jump.
“I felt pretty good about my showing,” Stitt said. “I felt like if I could match my personal records of 5-8 in the high jump and 37-4 in the triple jump, that I could get a state title or two. I didn’t do that, but it was really fierce competition and I felt like I represented my hometown well.”
With two solid years of performance, Stitt has no shortage of four-year options. With some work left to do on her associate degree, however, Stitt plans to finish school next year and compete unattached before transferring.
The Merced College baseball team felt it had something to prove after its 10-year playoff streak was snapped a year ago.
Relying on a young pitching staff to complement a veteran group of infielders and outfielders, the Blue Devils did just that, finishing second in the Central Valley Conference and returning to the NorCal Regionals. Merced was rewarded with eight players named to the All-CVC team.
The Blue Devils landed four on the first team, including freshman pitcher Ryan Sanchez. The Atwater High alum had tough luck with run support but posted a team-best 3.54 ERA and 761/3 innings pitched among Merced starters. He was joined on the first team by first baseman Jimbo Pernetti (team-high .378 average and 28 RBIs), third baseman Ryan Cumberland (.307 average, team-high nine doubles and 26 RBIs) and center fielder Joseph Salmeri (.326 average, 27 RBIs and team-high 16 stolen bases).
Catcher Darren Trainor, second baseman Adam Nascimento, left fielder Dalton Beatty and designated hitter Curtis Kellogg were named to the second team. Cumberland and Trainor were also named to the CVC Gold Glove Team.
Pitchers Noah Gapp, Nate McGhee and Brandon Adame, shortstop David Vidauri and right fielder Daniel Hermosillo received honorable mention.
Sean Lynch: 209-385-2476