GILROY — Monte Vista Christian senior Mason Mazza made it clear that Friday night’s 4×400-meter relay was not for him.

It was not for David Alcantar, Kingsley Liu or Aiden Ezeji-Okoye — his three partners on the relay — either.

“This one was for all the people who are hurt and couldn’t run today,” Mazza said.
MVC, a team devastated by injuries from the first week of the season until the last, capped off the year with a shining moment of victory at the Monterey Bay League division finals, winning the 4×400 and shattering the school record with a time of 3 minutes, 38.77 seconds.

The Mustangs were missing three of their usual runners, including their top 400 runner in Nate Antepenko, but worked some magic with reserves. Mazza, the anchor leg, had to make up a few meters on the final lap but he slowly ate away at the deficit and overtook Gilroy High’s runner down the final 100 meters.

“We’ve had guys hurt all year,” said Mazza, who had the entire MVC track and field team, including interim head coach David Reese, hooting and hollering after the victory. “I’ve been the only guy that’s stayed on this 4×4 so I felt a responsibility and an extra push to catch that guy. I’ve been in those situations before and I hate to admit it but I thrive in those situations.”

The Mustangs’ quartet not only walked away as MBL-P champions in the event but earned themselves at least another week together. They will advance to May 12’s MBL Master’s Meet, which serves as the league’s Central Coast Section qualifier. The meet will be back at Gilroy High.

Mazza said there is a chance that Antepenko could return from his hamstring injury next week and force Reese and the rest of the Mustangs’ coaching staff to make a tough decision between sticking with the record-setting group or making changes.


“I say roll with the hot hand,” Mazza said. “We’ll see if [Antepenko] is able to run. If not, I’m confident with the team we have now.”

MVC senior Darren Selck walked away as a champion in the high jump after clearing 5 feet, 10 inches and finished runner-up in the long jump with a leap of 19-8. He’ll advance to the Master’s Meet in both events.

Mazza also qualified as an individual for the Master’s Meet, taking second in the 400 (54.14). MVC seniors Jordan Marquez and John Alvarez also advanced after second-place finishes in the 110 hurdles (16.34) and discus (125-6), respectively. The Mustangs’ 4×100 relay also made the cut, taking second (44.89) behind Monterey High.

Gilroy won the MBL-P team championship on its home track with 116 points. Watsonville High finished runner-up for the second straight season with 95. Monterey was third (84), MVC took fourth (83), Christopher High finished fifth (60), Seaside High placed sixth (42) and Pajaro Valley High rounded out the group in seventh (12).

Watsonville’s senior Issac Ruiz cruised to victory in the 3,200 with a time of 10:18.69, edging teammate Raul Martinez (10:37.3).

Ruiz entered Friday’s meet as the favorite to win the 1,600-3,200 double but finished third in the first event behind Seaside High’s Isaias Rodriguez (4:41.97) and Martinez (4:46.55), a senior, with a time of 4:46.87.

“I kind of cracked under the pressure — it was a lot to take,” Ruiz said of the 1,600. “Everyone cheering at me and trying to keep up with [Rodriguez] in the last 200 meters. It was a good race though. He’s a respectable runner.”

His teammate and fellow senior, Pedro Alcantara, notched Watsonville’s first win of the day in the shot put and was in street clothes on the bleachers reading Isabel Allende’s New York Times Bestselling novel, “Maya’s Notebook,” long before the meet had reached its conclusion.

Alcantara, who split time in the throwing pit and the volleyball court this season, was the overwhelming favorite to win the shot put but still had doubts that he would follow through on the lofty expectations when he laced up the sneakers and picked up the shot on Friday.


The nervous tension helped him launch his best throw of the season, as he recorded a personal best of 46-4.5.

“It’s exciting. I was not expecting this day,” Alcantara said. “It just happened.”
Watsonville’s junior Jose Villanueva took second in the triple jump with a leap of 41-3.5 to advance to the Master’s Meet.

Pajaro Valley’s senior Jose Sedano, the school’s record-holder in the 100 that has tried to battle through injuries all season long, finished third in the 100 (11.48) and advanced to the Master’s Meet as the final qualifier in the event.

In the MBL-Gabilan, Palma High (156) edged San Benito High (132) for the team championship. North Monterey County High finished in a tie for fifth with Alisal High at 42 points.

The Condors had sophomore Agustin Saldivar, junior Guy Gida and senior Ryan Orlando advance to the MBL Master’s Meet.

Saldivar advanced in the 800 (2:00.99) and 1,600 (4:36.56) after taking third in both events. Gida was third in the shot put (46-3) and advanced. Orlando, meanwhile, hit a personal best in the triple jump (43-1.5) to take second and also finished runner-up in the high jump (5-10).

Previous articleWarriors want to 'destroy everything' and limit Jazz rallies
Next articleReds ride extra-base barrage to 14-2 romp over Giants


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here