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El Capitan senior finally healthy to help Gauchos sprint their way to section title.

El Capitan’s Brian Matthews

El Capitan senior Brian Matthews is finally healthy and taking advantage of it. The Gauchos senior won the 400-meter dash and helped the Gauchos win the 4x100 relay on their way to winning the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III championship.
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El Capitan senior Brian Matthews is finally healthy and taking advantage of it. The Gauchos senior won the 400-meter dash and helped the Gauchos win the 4x100 relay on their way to winning the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III championship.

After injuries have cut short his last two track seasons, Brian Matthews has changed his routines. The El Capitan High senior doesn’t take his health for granted.

Matthews is eating better, stretching more and making sure he gets enough sleep. He’s doing everything he can to help his body recover after meets and workouts.

Matthews is even taking baths.

“I put a little epsom salt in the water,” he said.

Whatever he’s doing, it’s working. Matthews is healthy and enjoying his senior season.

Matthews and his teammates definitely enjoyed themselves on Thursday night after winning the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III boys championship at Veterans Stadium on the campus of Golden Valley High. Matthews played a major role, winning the 400-meter dash and teaming up with sophomores Divine Peters, Naseem Hassaan and freshman Maurice McGauley to win the 4x100 relay.

“That really made me feel super happy,” said Matthews, who also place third in the 200-meter dash. “We have a really young team. Our two sophomores and then a freshman who was ready to run straight out of eighth grade.”

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El Capitan’s 4x100 relay team stands atop the podium after winning at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III championships. Shawn Jansen Merced Sun-Star

The last two years Matthews was relegated to being a cheerleader in the stands for his teammates. A back injury took him out his sophomore year. Last year an injured hamstring kept him from competing in the postseason.

“I came back this year and so far, no major injuries,” Matthews said. “I want to take this opportunity and run with it. I’m very thankful to be out here.”

Matthews and his relay partners made their way to the top of the podium after crossing the finish line in 42.85 seconds. Matthews was back on the podium moments later after turning in a personal best time of 49.20 seconds in the 400.

Matthews wasn’t the only Gaucho to stand on top of the podium.

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El Capitan High sophomore Divine Peters wins the 100-meters dash with a time of 10.85 seconds. Peters also won the 200 and helped the Gauchos win the 4x100 relay at Golden Valley High on Thursday, May 9, 2019. Shawn Jansen Merced Sun-Star

Peters swept the sprints with wins in the 100 (10.97) and 200 (22.27). It was Peters second straight time turning in a sub 11 in the 100.

“I’m happy even though I didn’t PR,” Peters said. “I know I can consistently run in the 10’s.”

Peters says he’s more happy to see Matthews shine on the big stage.

“Man, that makes me even happier for him than myself,” Peters said. “Just to see him have success. I know coming up he struggled as an underclassmen and even last year.”

The Gauchos edged Vacaville 52 to 50 in the boys team title. Vacaville ran away with the girls team title.

The top six finishers in each event advance to next week’s Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Meet at UC Davis.

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Golden Valley High junior Avery Townsel finished second in the triple jump with a leap of 43 feet and a half inch during the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III championship on Thursday, May 9, 2019 at Golden Valley High. Shawn Jansen Merced Sun-Star

Other local winners were Merced’s Demetrius Bates in the high jump with a height of 6 feet, 5 inches. Buhach Colony senior Morgan Johnson won the discus with a throw of 139-1.

The Golden Valley girls won the 4x100 relay with a time of 48.97. The Cougars relay team was comprised of Lauren Grayson, Bianca Ramirez, Keionnie Clemons and Christie O’Brien.

Golden Valley’s Brandon Davis finished second in the shot put with a throw of 49-1. Cougars teammate Avery Townel placed second in the triple jump with a mark of 43-4.

Merced’s boys 4x400 relay also finished second with the team of Jace Williams, Kevin Seals, Dhameer Warren and Darrett Brice.

Merced’s Kaitlynn Perez tied for second in the high jump by clearing 5-2 on Tuesday. Atwater senior Samuel Jenkins also placed second in the shot put on Tuesday with a throw of 141-11.

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