Rebuilding Oakmont will try to get on track with young team

By: Robbie Enos/Roseville Press Tribune Correspondent
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Mother Nature may have been preparing showers, but the first Capital Valley Conference meet of the season saw nothing but sunshine as Oakmont High School put its young talent on the track and field.

The Oakmont boys team placed second in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II meet last season, but after saying goodbye to some star seniors, including 800-meter champion Edixon Puglisi, the Vikings are rebuilding.

“We graduated a lot of people off of last year’s league-champion boys team, so our goal is to be as competitive as we can,” Oakmont coach Ryan Nugent said, adding that with Wednesday’s meet at Bella Vista, the Vikings got “a chance to see where we are in relation to the rest of the team and see what goals are reasonable and what we can set for the rest of the way.”

A league title is a reasonable goal for junior Amanda Youngblood, who won the girls shot put and discus. Junior teammate Kendra Barnhard placed second in both events.

The rest of the girls team looked strong, as Oakmont finished second in points to Bella Vista. The Vikings’ best performances came in the field events, including a 1-2-3 sweep in the triple jump. Katie Carte won the event, followed by Tiyana Dorsey and Molly Berg. Berg was second in the pole vault, and Carte was third in the long jump.

The team wasn’t at full strength, still waiting for several athletes to get over injuries. That included junior distance runner Marisa Carino, who had two top-three finishes at the Division II meet last season.

“In some areas, we have to get healthy,” Nugent said. “We’re always trying to stay healthy. We have a really young team, so we’re doing a lot of teaching right now. We’re seeing a lot of ability, but a lot of it is really raw. It’s about developing that, and hopefully by the end of the season, they’ll be ready to contribute.”

The boys team tied Del Campo for second with 57 points each, far behind the dominant 266.5 points by Bella Vista. The Vikings had one champion with Austin Moore winning the 300-meter hurdles. Nick Bates finished second in the 300 and was third in the 110 hurdles.