Hillmen taste rare defeat

Center boys slip past Placer while Placer girls defend home turf
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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The Placer High boys track and field team finally found a worthy challenger in the Pioneer Valley League. Newcomer Center matched the Hillmen stride for stride, winning a thrilling 4x400-meter relay race in the meet’s final event to clinch the dual meet victory. Placer suffered its first PVL loss in five seasons in the league and just its second loss in a dual meet since 2000 on Wednesday at Le Febvre Stadium. The Cougars’ James Washington held off a hard-charging Darren Centi in the final 100 meters of the final relay as the visitors won 69-67. Centi had edged out Center’s Devon Taubodo to win the 400 in 51.8 seconds earlier in the meet. There was no drama for the Placer girls, who crushed Center 94-19 to open the PVL season. Senior Christian Perry did his part for Placer. He led a 1-2-3 sweep in the 100, finishing in 11.18 seconds, just ahead of Collin Burnett and Joe Mangino. In the 200, Perry, Mangino and Burnett swept as Perry clocked in with a season-best 23.44. “We’ve definitely been training for this, it’s a big meet,” Perry said. “We’ve been working the past four months for this.” Center’s Jacob Huston dominated the distance events and Roberto Padilla won the pole vault for the visitors. Cameron Dean won the discus for the Hillmen with a toss of 120 feet. Placer was in position to win after Christian Finkbeiner and Zach Stelzer took second and third respectively in the 3200 and Kai Niegmann and Lucas Roberts took second and third in the pole vault. The long relay has been a strength for Placer all season. But the Cougars prevailed, leaving Placer hungry for another shot at them. The Hillmen will have to wait until the PVL Championships, May 10 at Center. “I love the challenge. That’s what track and field is all about,” Placer coach Rick Foley said. “I didn’t think we got what we could have in a lot of events tonight. I don’t know if our kids and our coaches believed it was going to be a close meet, but I kept telling them everything’s going to count. It was hard to watch, but that competition is what you want as a coach. “Now we have to fight for a league championship,” Foley added. “We’ll see if we can fight back at the (PVL championships) and get a co-championship out of it. I think we can.” In girls action, freshman sensation Macaylea Mitchell cruised to victory in the 200 (26.6 seconds) and 400 (1:02.82). She also anchored the winning 4x400 relay squad that included Hannah Peterson, Holly Kenoyer and Christina Winters. Becky Matthews raced to victory in the 110 hurdles (17.38) and placed second in the 300 hurdles. Christina Winters ran to first in the 1600 (5:37) and Hannah Peterson took the 800 (2:32.9). Meghan Tucker raced to a win in the 100 (12.5). Kailee Warren won the 3200 while Christina winters took the 1600. On the field, Becky Feis won the discus (97-7) and Danielle Fitts won the shot put (30-2). Marilyn Johnson was first in the high jump (4-10), Shelby Crider was a winner in the long jump (16-1.5) and Kaitlyn Kelly won the triple jump (28-11). Rachel Starelli cleared 8 feet to win the pole vault while Becky Feis tossed the discus 97 feet, 7 inches to win. The Placer junior varsity boys dominated as James Hubbard led the way with wins in the shot put, discus, 100 and 4x100 relay.