High School Sports

Golden Valley star accepts track scholarship

Golden Valley High School senior Shawn Bettencourt, center, poses for photos with friends Rodney Evans, left, Naomi Peterson, back center, and Rodney Winzer, right, at Golden Valley High school in Merced, Calif., on Wednesday, May 31, 2017. Bettencourt has signed a letter of intent to attend California State University, Stanislaus.
Golden Valley High School senior Shawn Bettencourt, center, poses for photos with friends Rodney Evans, left, Naomi Peterson, back center, and Rodney Winzer, right, at Golden Valley High school in Merced, Calif., on Wednesday, May 31, 2017. Bettencourt has signed a letter of intent to attend California State University, Stanislaus. akuhn@mercedsun-star.com

Shawn Bettencourt’s final week of high school is a busy one.

The Golden Valley High senior is graduating on Thursday. On Friday he heads to the CIF State Track and Field Meet in Clovis to compete against the top athletes in California.

On Wednesday, Bettencourt took time to secure his near future by signing his national letter of intent to accept a track scholarship to Stanislaus State.

Warriors coach Troy Johnson offered Bettencourt a scholarship over the weekend and it didn’t take Bettencourt long to make his decision.

“I was surprised,” Bettencourt said. “I never thought I would get a scholarship. I felt blessed.”

Bettencourt earned his scholarship with a spectacular senior season. He qualified for the state meet in both the 110-meter hurdles and the 4x100 relay.

Bettencourt won three individual championships at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I Meet with victories in the 100 (10.86), 110-hurdles (14 seconds) and the 300 hurdles (38.12), which broke James Levine’s 20-year old record.

Bettencourt also teamed up to win the 4x100 relay that same night and helped the Golden Valley High boys track team to win their first section blue banner in 20 years.

“He put in a lot work this summer,” said Golden Valley coach John Wooding. “He put in hundreds of hours and went over thousands of hurdles. He never quit. He didn’t just want to be the best in the area. He wanted to beat people from out of the area. He wanted stiffer competition. He’s a great kid. He’s always working to get better.”

Wooding is happy to see Bettencourt run for his former coach at Stanislaus State.

“It’s a huge opportunity and coach Johnson is a great coach,” Wooding said. “I know him personally, having run for him a long time ago. Shawn is going to be extremely happy and coach Johnson will lead him in the right direction.”

Bettencourt, who was set to go the junior college route before the scholarship offer, can’t wait to compete at the college level.

“I’m very excited,” said Bettencourt, who plans to major in kinesiology. “I plan on going to college for track and keep on running as far as I can.”

Shawn Jansen: 209-385-2462, @MSSsports

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