Malakai Sumter
Meyer, Sumter lead Hughson track qualifiers

May 14, 2024

Larkin Meyer dominated the hurdles events, anchored Hughson’s second-place 4x100 relay team and finished fourth in the long jump to lead the Huskies at last week’s Sac-Joaquin Section Division V Meet at Riverbank High School.

Meyer was among 10 Hughson athletes who qualified for this week’s Masters Meet at Davis High School in Davis. The Masters Meet brings together all the top athletes from the Sac-Joaquin Section, regardless of school size. The top three in each event from Masters qualify for the State Meet, plus anyone meeting a predetermined qualifying mark.

In reality, there were two separate competitions in Riverbank – one for Division V schools like Hughson and the other for Division IV schools with larger enrollments. The winners of each event in both divisions – plus the next three best times or marks regardless of division – moved on to the Masters Meet.

Meyer, a senior, has only lost once this season in the 110-meter high hurdles. His time of 14.86 seconds was a Division V meet record and just behind his personal best of 14.75 set last year. He also won the 300 hurdles in a school-record 41.23, qualified in the long jump at 21 feet, 4 inches and ran the last leg of the qualifying relay team.

Now, according to Hughson coach Mark Perry, something has to give to best preserve Meyer’s energy and maximize his chance of making the State Meet in Clovis next week. That likely means Meyer will forgo the 300 hurdles and long jump.

“To move on in the 300, he would have to drop 3 seconds,” Perry explained. “The long jump also is very competitive. … Since we run on back-to-back days this week, it’s really not about taking something out of his legs for the second day.”

Meyer is seeded fifth among all athletes in the Section in the high hurdles and is expected to make it through Friday’s qualifying into Saturday’s finals. After that, it’s all about running his best race and rising to the competition in the moment.

“He’s still peaking,” Perry said. “He hasn’t had a competitive race in over two months.”

Also qualifying for Hughson was Malakai Sumter, a junior who set personal bests and school records in the 100 (10.86 seconds) and 200 (22.24), finishing third in both races.

“Mal did amazing and he’s still got something to go,” Perry said. “Both of those events are heavily contested. There are lots and lots of guys who have sub-11s and sub-22s, which should pull him to a faster time. We’re excited about what he’s done so far and as a jumping off point for next year.”

Like Meyer, Sumter also was part of the 4x100 relay team that was second in 43.67. The two other runners are Ben Lighthall and David Delgado.

“There are a lot of really fast teams this week that have run 42 seconds,” Perry said. “Our goal has been to get below 43 all year.”

Case West finished second in the pole with a personal best of 12 feet, 7 inches.

“He’s going to have to jump a lot higher to move on, but we’re excited to get him this far,” Perry said. “We’d like to get him to 13 feet this week.”

The final boys qualifier was Levi Walker, who was fourth in triple jump with a personal best of 42-2¼.

“He was injured late in season but we knew he had it in him. We’re glad he popped that jump,” Perry said.

Among the Hughson girls, the only athletes to qualify were the four members of the 4x800 relay team -- Alejandra Gonzalez, Sophie Benham, Noeli Gomez-Orozco and Maggie Scarioni. They placed second in 10:38.59, their best time of the season.

“It was a pleasant surprise,” Perry said. “They ran well and will get one more opportunity to run on Friday. They all ran close to their PRs. Hopefully, they can double up and do it again this week.”

Though they didn’t qualify for the Masters Meet, these Hughson athletes set personal bests last week:

·         Delgado: (110 HH, 17.11, 8th)

·         Evyn Moore (girls 300 hurdles, 49.80, 7th)

·         Bryce Williams (boys 300 hurdles, 45.07, 12th)

·         Lighthall (400, 52.19, 3rd)

·         Benham (800, 2:28.28, 5th)

·         Anthony Huerta (boys pole vault, 11-10, 4th)

·         Joseph Anderson (boys pole vault, 10-10, 7th)

·         Maci Fife (girls pole vault, 8-5, 9th)