SACRAMENTO — Jaci Powell's goal was to get to state.
The Oakdale senior did more than that on Thursday. Powell's leap of 38 feet, 7 inches, won the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters triple jump competition at Sacramento City College's Hughes Stadium.
"My goal going into it was just to qualify for state," Powell said. "I knew if I got a 37-foot jump I would go to state. I had my adrenaline going and nothing was holding me back. It's pretty exciting."
When Powell heard her mark on her winning jump she immediately looked in the stands.
"All my family and coaches were going nuts," she said. "I beat my (personal best mark) by over a foot. I broke the school record. I couldn't be happier."
Powell will be joined at the state meet next week at Buchanan High in Clovis by a pair of throwers in Buhach Colony's Rebecca Hammar and Livingston's Albert Millan.
Both had different reactions to their performances.
Hammar had a hard time breaking a smile after finishing second in the girls discus. The junior came in with higher expectations after winning the event last year and finishing third at the state meet.
"If I got second place and I (broke my personal best mark) I'd be happy," Hammar said. "I was just off. It wasn't the weather. Everything cleared up before we got going. I just haven't been on my game lately."
Hammar came in as the top seed after winning the Division 1 championship last week with a throw of 138 feet, 7 inches. Even that throw was well short of her personal best mark of 150-1 she set at the Arcadia Invitational in early April. Her top throw on Thursday was 137-9, which finished behind Vacaville's Brianna French (144-8).
While it's hard to call a second-place finish in the Masters a disappointment, it will help serve as motivation next week as Hammar prepares for the state meet.
"Lately, it's just the way it's been going," Hammar said. "You fix one thing with your throw and another thing goes bad. I just have to get that one throw where it all comes together."
Millan was all smiles as he hugged friends, family and coaches after his second-place finish in the boys shot put. Millan uncorked a throw of 59-6, which was much better than his throw of 55-9, which won the Division 3 title last week. Millan finished second to Jesuit's Jeremy Hine's toss of 62-11.
"I feel good," Millan said. "All my throws were consistently around 59 feet. Next week I'm going for it. Everything will be all out. No excuses."
Atwater's John Guerrero put himself in position to make a run at a state berth.
Guerrero spent the bulk of last spring playing outfield for the Atwater baseball team. In his spare time he ran track when he could, usually on weekends.
In his senior year, Guerrero decided to retire his baseball glove and lace up his running shoes full time.
"I barely even trained last year," Guerrero said. "I just went out and ran as hard as I could. This year I decided to put all my time into track and see what I could do."
The decision is definitely paying off.
Guerrero turned in the top time in the 800-meter race during Thursday's trials. Guerrero will be the top seed heading into today's finals.
"My goal (today) is top three or that at-large time to get to state," Guerrero said. "After today, I know I can."
Modesto Christian's Taryn Garza has battled back from an injured left hamstring this year. The senior turned in the sixth best time in the 800 preliminaries with a time of 2:18.72.
"It was tough missing three weeks because I love to work out," Garza said. "I was just sitting there by myself, not getting stronger. It's made me work harder. I've had to in order to come back."
Beyer's Sean Gomes qualified seventh in the 800 with a time of 1:57.88. Modesto's Jaron Ingram will run in the 110-meter hurdles finals today after turning in the seventh best time, 15.08.
Also trying to punch his ticket to state is Atwater's Jacob Bautista, who had a busy Thursday. He qualified sixth in the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.87 seconds and ninth in the 200, crossing the finish line in 22.06 seconds. Bautista was also part of Atwater's 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams that also qualified for today's finals.
Beyer's 4x400 relay team won its heat and qualified second.
Also advancing to today's finals were East Union's Hector Solorio (300 hurdles), Atwater's Andrew Morgan (300 hurdles) and Beyer's Akim Muhammed (400).
Qualifying on the girls side were Merced's Misha Strong (400), Buhach Colony's Tenisha Eastman (200) and Patterson's Daniella Hernandiz (300 hurdles).
Oakdale's Powell also qualified fifth for today's finals in the 110 hurdles.