Beads of sweat dotted the forehead of Merced High senior Daniel Ambriz. He lingered for a few moments before he walked out of Veterans Memorial Stadium. His prep career had ended.
“I had a good race, maybe not as fast as I wanted,” he assessed, “but it was good overall.”
Ambriz competed hard in the 800 meters Friday night at the 98th CIF Track and Field Championships. He quickly settled into fourth place and, despite a stern challenge at the 200-meter mark, stayed there.
Later, the result stung. Ambriz’s time of 1:54.54 was 13th after the three heats of the 800. Only the top 12 advanced to Saturday night’s final. Ambriz missed by 46 hundredths of a second. Had he posted a 1:53 – his target time – he would have extended his season to the final night.
“I tried to go for the top three,” he said. “They didn’t let me go in.”
46 Hundredths of a second separating Daniel Ambriz from finals berth
The fates could have dealt the Merced star a better hand. Two weeks ago at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I meet, he was disqualified in the final strides of the 1600 – his favorite event – for interference.
Undaunted, he adjusted his workout regimen and concentrated on the 800. The reward came with his gutsy second in the 800 finals at Section Masters, which vaulted him to Clovis.
Ambriz can run. He won the section Division II cross country title last fall, and he’ll soon take his talent to Sacramento and perennial track power American River College.
“I was hoping to run the mile here,” he said.
Earlier as temperatures soared over 100 degrees, Buhach Colony freshman Morgan Johnson placed 19th out of 25 in the girls discus.
Her first throw of 126 feet, 11 inches, off her second-place effort last week at Masters, turned out to be her best. The top 12, including Oakdale senior Hannah Chappell, qualified for the final. Chappell ultimately finished third.