Junior, soph pull their weight on DO relay team

Eagles foursome are headed to state today in Clovis
By: Justin A. Lawson Journal Sports Writer
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The Del Oro High 4x400 boys relay team will return to the CIF State track and field championships today in Clovis where a team that features two seniors, a junior and sophomore will look to bring home a title in The foursome gets started with junior Austin Smith followed by senior Casey Wheeler, sophomore Johnathon Tuttle and senior Blake Covey. The group easily won the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters title May 26 after it ran 3.19.71 to finish two seconds faster than second-place Vacaville. The Journal caught up with the two youngest members of the relay team before they head to state: AJ: At Masters the team ran two seconds off of the school record time set last year, what did you think when you saw that time? Smith: ?I was just thinking that everything, every workout that we?ve done over the season, I just told myself, ?Wow, it really paid off right here.?? Tuttle: ?We knew 3:17 was a little bit of a stretch for us because they were all two seniors, two juniors last year. We were just trying to get as close as we could and we were definitely trying to get under 3:20 and when we did we were really excited because we?re the first team from the Sac-Joaquin to get under 3:30.? AJ: Austin, you run the open leg of the relay, what?s the most important part about that leg for you? Smith: ?The most important part for me is just trying to eat up as many people as I can to try to get them in the best position as possible. My goal is obviously to get them in first place to begin the race, but as we?re going down to state, second and third place would be pretty good.? AJ: The two seniors run after each of you in the relay, how does that order work for you? Tuttle: ?I think that works really well for us because Casey is our second runner and he?s such a contender that he always puts us in the front and that pushes me to work harder because I know that Blake?s going to be disappointed in me if someone passes me up at the end. I think it works really well how we?re ordered.? AJ: Knowing that you reached state so early, what do you hope for in the future? Smith: ?Hopefully I?ll be running anchor leg for us and we have some strong sophomore boys coming up as you can see, we have two of them, one of them is an alternate. I think we?re going to have a strong team next year also and just continue the tradition of being amazing at the 4x400.? Tuttle: ?We?d love to make it back to state next year, our senior years for sure, because if we just keep improving, keep working how we are then we can keep dropping our time.? Area track and field athletes going to state Del Oro Amy Heyn: 1,600-meters (alternate) Melissa Maneatis: Pole vault Brie Simmons: 100 meter, 100/300-meter hurdles Casey Wheeler: 110/300-meter hurdles Boys 4x400 relay (Austin Smith, Johnathon Tuttle, Blake Covey, Wheeler) Girls 4x400 relay (Dominque Tristant, Sydney Proiette, Kristen Schumacher, Heyn) Placer Shelby Crider: Pole vault Bear River Kendal Nielsen: Long jump, triple jump