Grizzlies have high hopes in Masters field events

Sutter, Alviso, Feulner and Zingheim on course for state meet
By: Kurt Johnson, The Press Tribune
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A group of Granite Bay High athletes appear poised to earn spots in the state track meet when they compete this week at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters meet at Sacramento’s Hughes Stadium. The Grizzlies have been very impressive in the field events this season, and are hoping that run of success continues as top athletes from schools large and small across the section coming to Sacramento, and the top three – plus any additional participants who exceed a very aggressive minimum state meet qualifying standard – advancing to the state championships. Long jumper Justin Sutter has the longest leap in the state this year at 24 feet, 4 inches, and even his more pedestrian efforts typically go beyond the minimum to reach state even without finishing in the section’s top three. The senior is joined at the Masters meet by sophomore teammate John Park, who also qualified in the long jump. Pole-vaulter Jordan Alviso has been pushing his personal record higher with each meet, and is also beyond that minimum standard. “Alviso had another PR (at the divisional meet) vaulting to 15'9",” said Granite Bay coach Jackie Nasca. “His attempt at 16'4" was so close that I think we will see 16 feet this week.” The Placer County region has dominated this event recently, and this year is no different, as Rocklin’s Cale and Robbie Simmons join Alviso among the favorites to reach the state meet. All three have exceeded the minimum qualifying height for state on a regular basis. On the periphery of the battle at the pole-vaulting pit is a pair of surprise entries in the Hughes Stadium field. Both Justin Waterhouse of Woodcreek and Devin Gibson of Oakmont were alternates when the Division II finals began, but after vaulting 13 feet, 3 inches, both reached the top eight and earned invitations to the Masters. The Grizzlies are also blessed with pole vault success on the girls side, where Katie Zingheim was the girls champion at the Division II finals. Woodcreek’s Kayla Kamaka, who also qualified for the Masters in the 100-meter hurdles, is an outside threat in the vault, while Oakmont’s Ferrin Peterson also earned a trip to Hughes Stadium. A pair of Granite Bay high jumpers, Brittany Hince on the girls side, and Christian George in the boys event, are long shots at the Masters. Both jumpers finished seventh at Bella Vista last week, but the most likely threat in the high jump should come from Granite Bay’s Kevin Nielsen. “This sophomore is our Jim Thorpe,” Nasca said. “He does everything from the 110 hurdles to the 1600 and runs on the 4x400 relay to help the team. He won our league championship in the 800 meters in 1:59.21.” Now that the multidimensional Nielsen is focusing on just one event, he may have a surprise or two in store. “This past Friday was the first meet all year where he just did the high jump after being a little sick on Wednesday and not making the 800-meter final,” Nasca added. “This week his workouts will be focused only on the high jump and it will be interesting to see what he can do. Friday he barely missed 6 feet, 4 inches on his second attempt.” Amy Feulner was a double winner at Bella Vista, in the shot put and discus, and she has high hopes for this week as well. “Amy Feulner is a very strong competitor and if she throws what she is capable of she could given the state contenders a run for their money,” Nasca said. “She has not given us everything she has yet. For her to move on to state she would have to toss some big PR's but she has the technique to do it.” Woodcreek’s Leanna Nelson will be among those chasing Feulner at the Masters, as she advanced in both throwing events as well. Sophomore James Kinloch of Granite Bay could surprise some people in the discus competition after a somewhat disappointing fourth-place result at the DII finals. “He (Kinloch) had a little glitch at the (Division II) section meet, but he is such a cool-headed athlete that things should come together for him as planned,” Nasca said. “As long as he can remain relaxed, we should see more throws over 160 feet.” Roseville’s Chelsee Elliott will also need to pull off her best performances of the season to advance beyond this week, but she has been on an upward climb at each level, coming to a head with a first-place finish in the triple jump at divisional and second in the long jump. “Chelsee has to go out and PR in both events,” said Roseville coach Jeffrey Bailey. “Chelsee has hit her PR in her last two meets. If she can break the 36-foot barrier in the triple, she will have a shot. She is in the top 10 in the long jump.” The Sac-Joaquin Section Masters meet will be contested Thursday and Friday at Hughes Stadium, on campus at Sacramento City College. Half of the field events (preliminaries and finals) will take place Thursday beginning at 3 p.m., and preliminaries in all running events are set for Thursday beginning at 4 p.m. The remaining field events begin Friday at 3 p.m. and the running finals are all slated for Friday night beginning at 6 p.m. There is a $5 parking fee at Sac City, in addition to entry fees for the event itself. For more Masters meet preview information, see our separate preview story on the field events, and visit us at our Web site at We will be updating our site with ongoing information on local athletes in pursuit of state track and field titles over the next two weeks.