Editor’s note: We are oh-so-close to being done with the All-Decade teams feature. With the start of a new decade, the Gazette staff wanted to honor the athletes from Mariposa County High School who participated over the decade of 2010-20. Coaches from each sport have been contacted and are providing their picks, along with input from the Gazette staff, of who the athletes of the decade are. The goal is to highlight each sport, and stories have been spread out over several weeks.
Track and field coach Doug Johnson has been at it for a long time, so he knows a good athlete when he sees one.
Several strong athletes are included in the All-Decade track and field team for Mariposa County High School, as selected by current head coach Johnson.
Here are the selections:
Throws (shot put and discus)
• Hanna Townsend (2011) was a powerful thrower who qualified to participate in the Meet of Champions (a statewide track meet). She threw shot put and discus. Her shot put mark of 34 feet, 9.5 inches places her ninth on the MCHS all-time top 10 list in that event. Her discus throw was also amazing at 103 feet, 7 inches. Within striking distance of that discus mark is standout Rosie McKenna (2020), who threw 92 feet, 2 inches last year.
• Gabe Katz (2020) is a senior this year. Last season, he threw shot and discus. His discus throw of 129 feet, 11 inches placed him eighth on the all-time list at MCHS. He also has a shot put mark of 39 feet, 1 inch. Jumps (pole vault, high jump, long jump and triple jump)
• In the girls pole vault event, Sara Camacho (2015) is a standout. She vaulted 7 feet, 6 inches, which places her tied for fifth on the all-time school list. She also sprinted and helped the team earn many points throughout her time in high school.
• In the boys pole vault, Kylan French tied for third on the all-time school list with a vault of 13 feet, in 2012 as a junior. That same year, he also ran into 10th place on the all-time top 10 for the 800 meter run.
• High jump standout for the last decade is Sierra Hartsog. She jumped 4 feet, 2 inches, which is a great jump and made even more amazing since this height is only about a foot shorter than her height.
• Two standouts in the long jump are Lorenzo Ibarra (2019) and Kama’Re Bailey (2015) with jumps of 18 feet, 5.5 inches and 19 feet, 7 inches.
• The hurdle events are difficult events that require speed and fearlessness. Kat Christensen, Justin LeMessurier and Tyler Perez took on those challenging events and scored many points for the team throughout their time with the program. Christensen ran the 300 hurdles with a time of 1:00.53, LeMessurier ran the 110 hurdles with a time of 16.8 seconds and Perez ran the 300 hurdles with a time of 47.95 seconds. These strong athletes spent countless hours pushing themselves to improve. Their time and efforts paid off.
Sprints (100 and 200 meters)
• The male sprint squads of 2014 and 2015 were very strong. Standouts from those years are Demar Spencer (2015), River Seal (2014), Kama’Re Bailey (2015), Josh Land (2017), Adrian Rodriguez (2017), Cody Holt (2017) and Graham Vandersteen (2018). These young men pushed each other to better their times. This is evidenced by their times and a new school record for the JV 4×400 relay, held by Land, Rodriguez, Holt and Vandersteen. Rodriguez is also tied for eighth on the MCHS all-time list for the 200 meter, with a time of 23.6 seconds.
• The female sprinter that stands out is Camryn Dutrey (2016). She ran the 100 and 200 meter races. Her stronger race was the 200 meter. She turned in times of 13.77 seconds and 28.95 seconds, respectively. During her four years, she was the sprinter to beat in the Southern League.
Middle distance (400 and 800 meters)
• Sierra Hartsog ran the 800 meters with a time of 3:15.9. Her love of running was infectious and encouraging to others. Rebekah Wilhelmy (2017) ran the 400 meter with a time of 1:09.06. Ivan Morales (2021) is a current junior who ran the 400 meters with a time of 55.53 seconds last year. Greater things could be on the horizon for Morales this season.
Long distance (1600 and 3200 meters)
• Ava Dunlavey (2021) ran the 1600 meter last year with a time of 5:56.24. This time placed her eighth on the all-time list for that event at MCHS. Beck Westerlund (2021) ran the 1600 meters and broke the five minute mark with a time of 4:58.61. Other standouts from the past decade for distance events are Mac Cole, Jon King and Nathan Ritter. These three competed against each other while helping each other become better. They dominated the distance running events and often took first, second or third at meets, earning many points for the Grizzlies. Cole’s best 3200 meter time was 11:23.8, while Ritter turned in a personal best time of 5:00.65 for the 1600 meter and King’s best 1600 meter race was 5:18.4.