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Bentley, Hernandez, James, Perez, Sharkey, Yanez, Pauma relay team win events at Julian track and field meet

Bobcats third as a team

The monthly tournaments involving small middle schools and K-8 elementary schools in Northern San Diego County and Southern Riverside County concluded for the 2023-24 school year May 16 with the Julian Junior High Invitational Track Meet at the Julian High School stadium, and six individual Pauma Elementary School or Vallecitos Elementary School athletes along with a Pauma relay team won events.

Pauma eighth-grader Angel Bentley won the boys high jump. Vallecitos seventh-grader Rochelle Hernandez took first place in the girls 1,600-meter run. Pauma eighth-grader Gideon James had the superlative boys shot put distance. The eighth-grade boys 100-meter dash was won by Vallecitos student-athlete Jesus Perez.

Vallecitos seventh-grader James Sharkey was the first boys 1,600-meter run finisher. Vallecitos took first and second in the seventh-grade boys 100-meter dash with Iker Yanez winning and Gerardo Moreno finishing second. Pauma’s seventh-grade boys 4x100 relay team of Juan Bautista, Jesus Santiago, Jose Diaz, and Moises Torres won that race.

The meet consisted of eight different events in four divisions. Julian Junior High School not only hosted the meet (the high school and middle school are on adjacent properties) but also took first place as a team among the five participating schools.

The Hamilton School in Anza participated in the league through last year before transitioning to competition against schools with larger enrollments, but Hamilton returned for the Julian Junior High Invitational Track Meet and placed second. Pauma was third as a team.

“We were so young. I am so proud of those kids. They came to compete,” said Pauma coach Jaime Lopez.

Pauma had only four eighth-graders. “I’m proud of this young group. The future looks bright,” Lopez said.

Vallecitos had only nine athletes, and Perez was the only eighth-grader. “With what we had, we did well,” said Vallecitos coach Ray Hanbeck.

Cottonwood Elementary School (Aguanga) also participated in the track meet. Borrego Springs Middle School and Warner Middle School (Warner Springs) were unable to make the trip to Julian.

The 1,600-meter races combined seventh-grade and eighth-grade runners, so Hernandez and Sharkey won against some eighth-grade competition. “We started off strong,” Hanbeck said. “We can do well in our mile.”

Ironically, Julian traditionally has the advantage in that event. The Julian High School track is 4,250 feet above sea level. Vallecitos Elementary School is at an elevation of 1,043 feet.

Pauma brought 21 athletes. Vallecitos had no entrants for either boys or girls in the shot put, the 200-meter dash, and the 400-meter dash.

The 2024-25 tournaments are scheduled to commence Sept. 19 with the Pauma Volleyball Tournament at Pauma Elementary School.

Author Bio

Joe Naiman, Writer

Joe Naiman has been writing for the Village News since 2001


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