Small squad, high hopes

Frank Valadez High Jump, Triple Jump

Gilroy
– It’s all about the month of May.
Sure, the Gilroy track team has been practicing since Feb. 1 and
has even had a couple meets, but what’s most important to the
Mustangs is where they are a little over a month from now.
Gilroy – It’s all about the month of May.

Sure, the Gilroy track team has been practicing since Feb. 1 and has even had a couple meets, but what’s most important to the Mustangs is where they are a little over a month from now.

“Basically, all our coaches’ philosophy is to peak in May,” said head coach Guido Zvigzne. “We’re just building up to May for the TCAL and CCS meets. With the early stuff, we’re going for high intensity, high quality workouts. It’s nice to get good early marks, but we’re not worried about it.”

So far, the Mustangs have competed in one dual meet with Salinas and in the West Valley Relays, where the team finished fifth out of 36 schools, Zvigzne said.

Zvigzne calls this year’s squad “small in numbers, but high in quality.”

“We’re good in the big meets, but when it comes to dual meets, we don’t have the numbers to compete,” he said.

A few of those quality performers are returnees from last year’s squad. On the boys’ side, there’s junior thrower Robert Best, also a center and defensive end on Gilroy’s football team, and senior high jumper Frank Valadez. On the girls’ side, there’s senior thrower Sierra Barozza.

Best, who has a preseason Central Coast Section ranking of third in both shot put and discus, took third in shot (52.2 feet) and seventh in discus (155.6) at last weekend’s Stanford Invite.

“They were good (results) for this time of season,” said Best, who finished ninth and 11th in shot put and discus at the CCS meet last year. “I could have done better but to (set personal records) in both, I was happy.”

By May, Best hopes to hit the mid to high 50’s mark in shot put and break the 35-year-old Gilroy High record of 56.10. His goal for the discus is 170.

“We’re doing form work,” said assistant coach Richard Macy, who works with the throwers. “We’re not worrying about distance right now. If we get the form down, the distance will happen.”

Barozza, who has a No. 7 preseason CCS ranking in discus also competed at the Stanford Invite, finishing 24th.

“I didn’t do too well. I threw 92 and my farthest is 110,” Barozza said. “I’m shooting for 120 this year.”

Barozza won’t be competing in the 100m hurdles as she did last year, opting instead to concentrate on her throwing.

Valadez returns this season as the team’s top high jumper and has earned a No. 4 CCS preseason ranking. He took first in the West Valley Relays with a jump of 6-02.25. Valadez will likely make his debut in the triple jump as well this year.

“He jumped a 39 (feet) in practice, and I thought ‘Hmmm, I think he has a new event,” said assistant coach Mark Carrick.

The Mustangs’ top sprinters are senior Lucio Gutierrez, who made it to the CCS trials last year and also competes in long jump, sophomore Joseph Gutierrez and senior Brandon Cortez.

Zvigzne also said to watch out for senior Stephanie Radtke in the distance events.

Rivals to watch

Live Oak

Girls

Cobbie Jones (Jr.), distance

• Competed in last year’s state meet and in cross country state finals in the fall

Lisa Herrera (So.), distance

•Competed in the cross country state finals last fall

Tanya Tenorio (Sr.)

discus and shot put

Azucena Atanacio (Sr.)

discus and shot put

Boys

Brandon Powell (Sr.)

110m and 300m hurdles

• Reached CCS finals last year.

Jesus Atanacio (Sr.), distance

Billy Wong (Sr.), distance

Jonathan Kamei (Sr.), distance

HOLLISTER

Girls

Amanda Boyd (Jr.), distance

• Has set school records in the 1500m and 3000m

Christyna Osborne (Sr.), discus and shot put

Boys

Jesse Rice (Sr.), sprinter

Chuck Thompson (Sr.), sprinter

400m relay team

(Jeff Wertz, Thompson, Rice and Chad Tungate)

• Broke school record at Stanford Invite

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