Track and Field Finishes Third at Section Meet


ELK GROVE, Calif. – The St. Francis track and field team finished third at the Sac-Joaquin Section Championships as a host of Troubadours advanced to the Masters meet next week.

“We had lots of personal and season bests and that is how you want to perform at this meet when everyone is peaking,” said Head Coach Rod Jett. “We had a lot of people advance to next week and we will come back again next week and do it again. It will be interesting and fun.”

The Troubadours advanced in eight individual events and both relays with six individuals recording their best marks or times for the season, as well as both relays.

“With the pressure of this meet and competing under the lights, literally, it is great to perform at this level,” said Jett. “It was a good day.

Sophomore Isabelle Grassel continued her breakout performances in the long jump. After advancing with a personal-best at the league championships, she recorded three personal-bests in four jumps as she was the top sophomore in the section and finished fourth overall.

“I did not have any expectations,” said Grassel. “I wanted to do my best. That is what I have been trying to do. On my first jump, I had a six-inch PR and then went 17-4 and then had a jump of 16-11. I made the finals but I only did pone jump because I wanted to save my energy. Then I went 17-9.5. It was really great. The coaches were all with me and I was really happy. It was a good day.

She forfeited her final two jumps because she had to anchor the 4×100-meter relay, joining the senior trio of Elizabeth Hennessy, Meaghan Rogers, Allie Shebert. They opened the running events with a season-best 47.99 to finish second overall and became the fourth relay in school history to break the 48 second mark.

“I was little nervous at first because it is a big race,” said Grassel. “My teammates always give me a big lead. I love running with the seniors and they have taken me under their wings. It is fun running with them. They gave me a good lead so I wanted to finish it out. It was great to get 47 today.”

Sophomores Noelle Lynch and Sophie DeBenedetti each advanced to the Masters meet. Lynch took her heat out and led throughout. The pack evened with her at the halfway mark before she took out again before finishing second in a personal-best 2:17.77.

“I went out with a really positive mindset and I envisioned my race,” said Lynch, who posted the fourth-fastest time in school history. “I knew I could run 2:20. I just had to believe in myself. I liked being in the consolation because I did not have the pressure of running up with the girls. It was nice and it was fun.”

DeBenedetti was fifth in the championship heat in a personal-best 2:20.63.

“Automatically qualifying was great but my mindset going is was not as strong,” said DeBenedetti. “I had the comfort going in and my hip had been hurting. I got through it.”

Elizabeth Hennessy led the hurdle events by resetting her own school record in the 300-meter hurdles with a 43.79 and joining sophomore Serena Shimada in advancing in the 100m hurdles.

“It is pretty exciting,” said Hennessy. “Coach Jett told me to have fun because it was my last section meet as a high schooler. I was already in the championship finals for all my races so I knew I was going onto Masters. Today I just focused on running a smooth race and having fun. I think it paid off.”

Hennessy was seventh in the championship heat of the 100m hurdles, posting a 15.33, while Shimada was third in the consolation final to earn one of four berths from the heat to Masters. She clocked a personal-best 15.42, the fifth-fastest performance in school history.

“It feels pretty good, really good,” said Shimada. “I kept pushing and tell myself I could do it and I was almost there. It was pretty exciting (when I heard my name called by the announcer) and then I hit one (a hurdle).”

Rogers was seventh in a wind-legal 12.41 to the championship heat of the 100 and finished second in the 200m consolation final in 25.68.

“It was an honor to race in the championship heat of the 100 meters,” said Rogers. “I got a wind-legal PR this time, so I cannot complain about that. The 4×100 got a season PR and went below 48 (seconds). We got some medals. “My 200 went pretty well and I got second in my heat and close to my PR. Overall it was a good day.”

The 4×400-meter relay with the help of late sub Haley Silva and Hennessy racing her fourth race of the day was sixth in the championship heat with sophomore Yahsmeene Duffy and sophomore Kathryn Kramer. The time of 4:03.34 was a personal-best for the race this season and 11th-best performance in school history.

Freshman Meghan Ladd soared higher again in pole vault to finish third overall with a best clearance of 11-2.

The Sac-Joaquin Masters will be contested on Thursday, the night of St. Francis graduation to provide a new racing challenge for the seniors to make it back to Sacramento to receive their diplomas.

“I will have to blast off as fast I can from the Trials meet,” said Rogers. “I won’t be wearing any makeup. Liz and I are going together and it will be a fun little story.”

Sac-Joaquin Section Women’s Results 

100 Meters

8. Meaghan Rogers, 12.41

200 Meters

9. Meaghan Rogers, 25.68

800 Meters 

5. Noelle Lynch, 2:17.77

10. Sophie DeBenedetti, 2:20.63

3200 Meters 

4. Sydney Vandegrift,10:51.88

100m Hurdles

8. Elizabeth Hennessy,15.33

10. Serena Shimada, 15.42

300m Hurdles

3. Elizabeth Hennessy, 43.79

4×100 Relay

2. St. Francis (Elizabeth Hennessy, Meaghan Rogers, Alyssa Shebert, Isabelle Grassel), 47.99

4×400 Relay

7. St. Francis (Kathryn Kramer, Yahsmeene Duffy, Haley Silva, Elizabeth Hennessy), 4:03.34.

High Jump 

3. Isabella Palchak,5-00.00

22. Kathryn Kramer, 4-08.00

Pole Vault

3. Meghan Ladd, 11-02

Long Jump

4. Isabelle Grassel, 17-09.50