Sonoma Valley athletes compete in historic Viking Classic track and field meet

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Montgomery High School inaugurated its new $1.9 million synthetic turf playing surface and renovated oval track on Saturday, April 20, with the 30th annual Viking Track Classic. The best athletes from over a dozen area high schools stretched out on the brand new surface, ran on the track and triple-jumped into new sandpits.

There was no first for a Dragon athlete this time, not exactly, but close. Kaylie Barrera, a junior, tied for longest triple jump of the day with her 34-foot 11-inch leap late in the afternoon. But first place went to senior Sydney Dennis of Petaluma, whose longest jump was exactly the same distance but whose second-longest beat out Barrera’s second-longest.

Barrera took another second place, also to Dennis, in the girls’ long jump, with her 15’11.75”, just over three inches short of the winning jump. (It was a good day for Petaluma’s Dennis: she got another first in the 100-meter high hurdles, too.)

Also coming in second – for just the second time this year – was junior Luke Sendaydiego, whose best high jump of the day was 6 feet 2 inches, short of the winning 6’4” from Mason Adams of Maria Carrillo, a senior. Sendaydiego has made the higher jump several times this year, but just couldn’t flip over the bar this time.

In the boys triple jump, Nate Jordan tied for ninth with a 38’08.50” with August O’Neil of Sonoma Academy. And rounding out the field sports, Mason Matulaits came in fifth with his shot put of 41’06”.

Moving to track events, Keira Sheldon’s 1:05.53 was second in the 400-meter open race.

In the boys 400 varsity race, sophomore Gavin Blanusa fished fourth, with senior Liam Sheldon right behind him in fifth, each a shade over 53 seconds.

Sheldon also had a breakaway win in the first heat of the boys 800 meters, finishing about 50 yards ahead of his nearest competitor with a 2:10.72. But his victory was ephemeral – the eventual winner came in at 2:03.36, Daniel Ledesma of Montgomery; Sheldon’s time placed him 19th.

The boys 4x100 relay team finished a respectable seventh with 46.07, but 11th and 17th in the 4x400 relay. The girls relay teams finished last against their motivated competition.

If the day’s successes were modest, the future might be brighter for Dragons track and field. Nearly every athlete who placed was either a junior or younger, with only Liam Sheldon a senior – while his sister Keira, second in the open 400, is a freshman.

For the Sonoma Valley track and field team, it was a good chance to meet the regional competition before returning to focus on Vine Valley rivals, with a dual with Justin-Siena at their fields on Thursday, April 25 (results too late for press time); and next week’s VVAL tournament at American Canyon, with trials on Wednesday, May 3, and finals on Friday, May 5.

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