Yucaipa High School Unified Track and Field Team qualifies for Masters Meet

Pictured from left to right: Derrek Freitas, Samuel Moreno, Ryan Grammer, Ricky Smith, Madison Johnson, Tiffany Terry, Valeria Barragan, and Cristina Moreno.

CIF added new events to track and field this season. The new events include all Unified, where general education and special education students form teams and compete together.

Events for this season included: 100m, 400m, as well as the long jump where the Unified team paired up and then took the average of each person's score to determine the Unified team score. Also included were relay teams comprised of two general education and two special education students.

Yucaipa High formed relay teams for both the girls’ and boys’ 4x100 meter race. The YHS teams competed three weeks ago in the CIF Southern Section inaugural preliminary meet held at Trabuco Hills High School.

At the preliminary meet the boys team, which was made up of Derrek Freitas, Ryan Grammer, Ricky Smith and anchored by Samuel Moreno, finished in third place with a time of 56.78 sec just narrowly getting beat by the team from Los Alamitos who ran a 56.19 sec.

Both teams were beaten by the top team from Trabuco Hills who ran a 51.90 sec.

“I was impressed how each team had prepared for the meet,” said Grammer. “We thought we would have an advantage when it came down to the handoffs, but I was mistaken and everyone was really prepared.”

In the girls 4x100 the team from Yucaipa High included Cristina Moreno, Madison Johnson, Tiffany Terry and Valeria Barragan. The girls also finished in third place with a time of 1:05.94.

“We did really good for only having a couple of weeks to get ready for the competition,” said Johnson.

“We are going to work hard and improve our time for Masters,” said Terry.

Both Terry and Johnson were impressed with the turnout for the event and how great of an experience this was for everyone involved.

Special Education Teacher, Scott Salinas became the coach for both teams and was able to garner assistance to prepare from Coach Robert Guillen, who provided the athletes with YHS track and field uniforms, and Athletic Director Matt Carpenter who assisted to make sure everyone was registered and qualified for the meet in a very short time period.

Salinas was especially happy with the opportunity.

“This was a great opportunity for our special education students to show their athletic ability and at the same time work with general education students on our campus to learn teamwork and compete at a very high level,” he said.

Salinas learned at the preliminary meet that other schools around CIF have been running these events all Spring during league competition in Orange County, and hehopes this is something that can be developed within the CBL and all throughout CIF.

The CIF SS Masters Meet, which brings together the top 9 athletes or teams in track and field events, presents an opportunity to compete for a spot to move onto the CIF State Meet.

The Unified girls relay team was the first track event of the day and the announcer introduced the new event followed by the individual athletes’ names, then a loud roar was heard from the crowd.

“The smiles on the faces of the athletes after they were announced was something I will remember for the rest of my life,” said Salinas.

The girls improved their time so much they ended up finishing in second place only .04 seconds out of the top spot. The boys team members that participated in the Masters meet included Elio Botello, Ryan Grammer, Israel Diaz and Samuel Moreno.

The boys improved their time by over three seconds and were able to earn a second place finish. Hopefully, the Unified Track and Field will continue to grow with more schools participating from around the state and Unified Track and Field will be a part of the State meet in coming years.

“No matter what, Yucaipa High can be proud that they were part of the inaugural season,” said Salinas.

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