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Crabtree Classic welcomes Mid-Valley
15 programs converge on Wheatland
Louis Mowers was just a sophomore in 2011 at Yuba City High when he was admiring then-senior Bernell Barmore.
Barmore, a star on the track and football field during his time with the Honkers, competed in the CIF State Meet his senior season and was one of the Sac-Joaquin Section's top competitors in hurdles and jumps.
Barmore is continuing to excel at Butte College, but Mowers is doing his best to carry the torch left by his former teammate.
Mowers' senior campaign is off to a good start as he took home gold in three events at the second annual Roy Crabtree Pirate Classic at John Sohrakoff Jr. Field in Wheatland on Friday.
Mowers has his sights set on qualifying for a spot in the State Meet at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Clovis on May 31 after just missing out last year as a junior.
Mowers blistered the competition on Friday with a first-place finish in the 110-meter hurdles at 15.10 seconds and also won the 300 hurdles (42.53). Mowers added a win in the triple jump by leaping 39 feet, 6 inches.
Like his buddy Barmore, Mowers is a multi-sport threat and was Yuba City's leading receiver this past fall. He was also an All-Tri-County Conference selection in basketball.
Making the transition from the hardwood to the track is always tough for Mowers.
"(Track) is a totally different sport, there's not as much stopping and sprinting, it's more long distance," Mowers said. "It's tough, but it all comes back pretty quick."
Mowers, an A-D All-Area and All-TCC selection in track last season, came up short in last year's sectional meet. Last offseason, he attended clinics put on by Olympic hurdlers and put in time doing stairs workouts to improve his leaping ability.
"The toughest part right now is getting your legs in shape, your core and your breathing," Mowers said. "I've been trying to stay on the track as much as I can."
And Mowers wasn't the only athlete making the transition from winter sports.
Athletes from 15 different schools, including nine MId-Valley programs, were in attendance on Friday, six more schools than last season's inaugural event.
The meet, named in honor of Wheatland icon Roy Crabtree, was started in 2012 by Pirates coach Jason Soderlund as a way to get small schools some early-season experience in a competitive environment.
The Pirate Classic serves as a teaching tool for many of the coaches who use the meet as a way for the younger athletes to learn the nuances of their specific event.
Coaches from each school were assigned a different event to oversee and were encouraged to help the athletes learn the rules and techniques.
"A lot of this is just us teaching the kids, whether it's how to get out of the blocks or stay in the ring," Soderlund said. "We also want to teach them what it means to participate in this sport and be a good sportsman."
The cordial atmosphere didn't mean there wasn't some heated competition.
In the boys' 100-meter dash, Colusa's Ryan Abele edged Yuba City freshman Kyle Turnquest with an 11.59-second run. Turnquest came in at 11.70 seconds and Marysville senior Thomas Mehler clocked in at 11.78 seconds.
Abele also won the 200 (23.66), beating out Turnquest, who placed third (24.40 seconds). Marysville's Brandon Graves took second in the race (24.19).
River Valley sophomore Jerome Santiago took home the 400-meter run in 53.88 seconds. Marysville's Terry Bankhead (55.21) took second, followed by Wheatland's Andrew Lit (56.32).
Yuba City's Nathan Gillming placed second in three events, including the long jump (19-2), high jump (5-4) and triple jump (37-4). Wheatland's Kyle Sowle tied with Gillming for second in the high jump.
In the throws department, Victor Angel placed second in the shot put (48-02) for Yuba City and Sutter's Danny Bogert took third (44-0). Wheatland's Tyler Hayes took silver in the discus (128-11) and David Hoskins placed third (127-5).
Live Oak distance runner Andrew Lopez won the 3200 in 10 minutes, 31.85 seconds and performed well in the 1600 with a second-place finish (4:48.30). Aaron Hutton took third in the 1600 for RV (4:49.40).
Lions coach Greg Sanchez was happy with how his team performed with just a few weeks of practice.
"I'm pleasantly surprised," Sanchez said with a laugh. "Usually you're just hoping they can do an event and get through it without dying at this time of the year."
Sanchez received a good performance from his senior sprinter Jessica Ontiveros, who took third in the 200 (29.42) and fourth in the 100 (14.24).
River Valley's Harkiren Everest (5:49.90) edged Yuba City's Kate Aldridge (5:50) in a very competitive 1600-meter run.
Holly McAlister won the 3200 (13:00.84) for the Honkers, Sutter's Katie Medlin took second (13:58.51) and Aldridge finished third (14:07.87).
Colusa's Ashley Roman won both the 100 hurdles (18.06) and 300 hurdles (56.47) for the RedHawks.
In field events, Marysville received strong performances from Mattyann Townsend and Kyla Thornburg. Townsend won the high jump (4-04) and Thornburg took the long jump (15-07).
Yuba City senior Destiny Fleenor won the shot put (36-10), beating out strong throws from Marysville's Holly Tarr (34-11) and Pierce junior Evelyn Lievanos (34-10).
Gridley sophomore Marisela Cardenas won the discus (110-7) and Imani Bierly of River Valley took silver (100-7.5).
"The kids love this meet and have a lot of fun," Soderlund said. "It's about getting them ready for the rest of the season and setting a mark to work toward."