Luis Grijalva seems the silent type, but get him on the track or a cross country course, and he’s bolsterous.
Grijalva, a senior on the Armijo High School track and field and cross country squads, earned podium recognition in every event he qualified for at the CIF state track and field finals at Veterans Stadium on the campus of Buchanan High School two weeks ago.
He was victorious in the 1,600-meter event crossing the finish line on the all-weather track with a time of 4:08.62. Grijalva then placed third in the 800-meter event registering a time of 1:51.67 and finished the state finals in second place in the 3,200-meter event at 8:54.65.
He generously congratulated several competitors on their effort after the 3,200-meter race, but felt a slight sting coming in second place to his friend, Callum Bolger of San Luis Obispo.
“A state title was less than a second away,” said Grijalva, who won the state Division I at the state cross country finals in November.
“Callum had a better day, a super great guy, so he got the win. We’ve been racing with some of those guys since freshman year.”
Grijalva, who was born in Guatemala, had a fabulous run at state. He didn’t drop out of certain events to concentrate on others, and he managed to deliver Armijo High its first state title in over 90 years.
He graduated this week with the Armijo Class of 2017, begins his collegiate career in track and field and cross country with the Lumberjacks at Northern Arizona University.
On her 18th birthday, Alicia, the Liberty High School (Bakersfield in Kern County) senior and Central Section champ in the shot put, finished fifth in the state shot put finals and earned a state seventh place in the discus, a single spot away from a podium appearance.
After the shot put competition, several athletes surrounded Viveros and sang Happy Birthday.
She’ll attend the University of Mississippi after graduation.
“I was looking at a variety, UCSB (University of California, Santa Barbara), a lot of the Ivy Leagues, a lot of colleges in Ohio. I was looking at Stanford (University),” said Alicia, who said Mississippi State felt like home.
“I’m just proud that I made this far. I never imagined that I’d be here right now,” she said.
Daniel Viveros, a sophomore, earned a third-place finish in the shot put final, the only underclassman among five others on the podium.
Daniel, who reported for Liberty Patriots football practice the following Monday and later this season, basketball, managed a new personal record of 62-4.5.
Daniel had yet to find her a gift.
Fresno High senior Evert Silva walked away from the Veterans Stadium somewhat bitter, somewhat satisfied.
Evert, the Central Section Masters champion in the 3,200-meter, finished sixth with a time of 9:07.43. The final stretch of the event was a sprint to the finish line, but Bolger pushed to stay ahead of the pack.
Bolger won the event sprinting to a 8:53.91 state title finish with Grijalva following to finish at 8:54.65. Cooper Teare of St. Joseph Notre Dame (8:55.93) finished third.
“It was bitter, sweet, but definitely sad. It’s been a great last three years running in this stadium and running for this high school,” said Silva.
“But it’s done.”
Several weeks ago the Fresno High Warrior was training for fast finishes in early-morning workouts on campus two hours before the first bell. He’s been reinvigorated under the tutelage of head coach Jesús Campos, who took the Fresno High job last year.
A good time for Campos to do so because, prior to his arrival, Silva was often working out alone and in search of a coach to guide him to a state title and prepare him for collegiate competition.
“It wasn’t the performance I wanted, but nevertheless it’s a good performance and a good takeaway. So I’m happy with it,” said Silva.
“I felt kind of tired for some reason, it’s been a long season. I was hoping for a faster finish. It was definitely memorable. A great last race to end my high school career,” said the native of Acapulco, Mexico, Silva.
Silva - a former prep soccer player who last season registered the best finish in the Central Section and a school record in Division III at the state cross country with a time of 15:09.1 - will march through graduation this week. He’ll train for a potential 2-mile event out of state prior to competing for the University of Portland this fall.
Highland’s Moises Medrano is a junior and cannot wait for a return to Buchanan, where the California Interscholastic Federation State and Track Field Championships will be held through 2020.
Moises Medrano of Highland High School (Bakersfield) finished third in the 800-meter event with a time of at 1:51.67. Jett Charvet of Heritage won the event at 1:51.07 and Alex Scales was second at 1:51.56.
“It was a good race, everyone was there together,” said Medrano.
Medrano, a junior, set a new personal record in the event at the Central Section Masters two weeks ago on the same track winning the 800-meter race at 1:51.47.
“Going into this, I was always nervous. A lot of people expected high things from me. I was 100 percent confident on how to run the race.
Madera South senior Miguel Villar finished the 3,200-meter race sixteenth place among the 25 runners with a time of 9:23.01.
Stockdale (Bakersfield) senior Marcus Mota finished the 3,200-meter race in seventh place at 9:09.93.
“I wasn’t feeling good and confident in the mile anymore,” said the Highland junior Medrano.