Hillgals gut it out for PVL crown

Winters goes the distance to spark Placer girls while the Hillmen settle for second place
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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COLFAX ? Christina Winters left her track coach amazed, and delighted Friday afternoon at the Pioneer Valley League Track and Field Championships. The Placer High senior convinced coach Mark Chamberlin she could handle the three most grueling events on the track. Then she led the Hillgals to the league title as they held off a challenge from Bear River with relative ease. Chamberlin said Winters was extremely sick on Thursday and still not feeling well on Friday. She showed no signs of illness in winning the 1,600 meters and the 3,200. She tossed in another eight points for her team with a second place finish in the 800. ?I questioned if she could run at all,? Chamberlin said. ?But she really wanted to do the triple (800, 1,600, 3,200). She scored 28 points for us and that was basically the difference.? The Placer girls finished with 158 points while Bear River was second with 129. Bruin senior Kendal Nielsen dominated her three events, setting a PVL record in the long jump by clearing 18 feet, 9.5 inches. She also won the triple jump (38-7.75) and the 100 (12.45) and helped both Bear River relays to victory. The Hillgals scored big points on the field. In the discus Becky Feis (96-7) won and Danielle Fitts (95-0) was second. Fitts finished just behind Colfax?s Maddi Ittner (35-2) in the shot put. Shelby Crider cleared 11 feet to win the pole vault and Becky Matthews was second in the high jump, clearing 5 feet. Meghan Tucker was second to Nielsen in the long jump at 16-9.25. Colfax junior Madi Newman put her name in the PVL record books with an outstanding 800 run. She clocked in at 2:23.03 to break a nine-year-old record. Bear River freshman Malone Pearson out-dueled Placer?s Kerry McCullough in the 400, winning in 59.12. Bruin Savannah Welz was outstanding in the hurdles, winning the 300 in 50.20 and taking second in the 100 (13.05). The Placer boys could not unseat Center from the top of the PVL, but the Hillmen didn?t go quietly. Senior Lance Burton turned in the most impressive performance, overcoming a painful wrist injury to win. Colfax?s Michael Lerner came up with a toss of 47-9 on his final attempt to put the pressure on Burton, who responded with a career-best 48-10.5. Placer finished second in the team standings despite a big day from Zach Stelzer. The sophomore used his final-lap kick to take both the 1,600 (4:41) and the 3,200 (10:13). Bear River?s Alex Coffman was second to Stelzer in both races. Colfax?s David Mowbray showed off his speed in the 200 and 400. In the quarter-mile, Mowbray outlasted Bear River standout DeVaughn Lofton to set a career-best of 50.39. A pair of Center sprinters pushed him to a personal best of 22.94 and a victory in the 200. ?The 400 was a tough race with DeVaughn the whole way,? said Mowbray, who plans to play football at Sierra College next season. Coach has been working with me on my stamina a lot and that paid off.? In the discus, Placer junior James Hubbard?s throw of 142-6 won it. Lerner took second for the Falcons while Jake Narmi was third. Bear River?s 4x400 relay squad easily won the final race of the night, clocking in at 3:29.99. The top four finishers in each event Friday advanced to this week?s Sac-Joaquin Section Division II-III trials on Wednesday at Bella Vista.