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May 31, 2023

Hollister High track and field has numbers, talent and depth

With an abundance of numbers and talent, the Hollister High track and field program fields a quality side every year. 

Lately, the girls team has been on a terrific run as it finished in fifth place in the Central Coast Section Finals last year, tying it for the second best finish in school history. The squad has some work to do to reach that level again this season, but coaches Ryan Shorey and Rob Macias are excited going forward, especially with such a talented sophomore class. 

“So we’re in a really good position to have an opportunity to do some really cool stuff,” Shorey said. “Fourth place or better [in CCS Finals] gets a trophy, so that’s our goal. Certainly some things we need to get fixed up here, so we’ve got a lot of work to do to get to that point.”

It’s still early in the season, but several Hollister girls are making their mark. Senior Lillian Thrasher is tied for second in the high jump after clearing a personal-record (PR) 5 feet, 4 inches in the Garlic Classic Invitational at Christopher High on March 18. 

Thrasher also has put up a solid mark in the pole vault. Sophomores Emma Franks and Hannah Vincent rank Nos. 4-5, respectively, in the long jump. Vincent also has the fifth best mark in the triple jump, the event in which she qualified to State last year as a freshman. 

Vincent went 35-5 ½ in the Garlic Classic, just three inches off her lifetime best. Franks has the seventh best mark in that event. Franks, Vincent, Thrasher and Hannah Bocanegra went 51.40 seconds in the 4×100 meter relay, the fifth best time in the CCS this season. 

“Emma and Hannah are both doing awesome,” Shorey said. “Emma jumped 35 feet in the triple over the summer so she’s just off her PR and Hannah is right off her PR as well. Definitely a great start for those two.”

The girls 4×400 relay team of Madison Minkel, Gabby Romero, Kacey Yannone and Jasayla Mariscal went 4:17.33 in the Garlic Classic, vaulting them to the No. 4 mark in the section. The Haybalers received a huge boost with Del Mar-transfer Golda Demby, who advanced to the CIF State Championships in the discus throw last year and nearly made it to State for the shot put. 

The sophomore happens to do the same events as Jocelyn Alexander, the outstanding Hollister senior who sustained an injury near the end of the basketball season and might not return for the track and field season. Demby has season-best marks of 36-3 in the shot put and 110-9 in the discus, well off her lifetime bests of 38-5 and 117-7 set a year ago. 

However, Shorey is confident Demby will match or surpass those marks as the season progresses. 

“She’s had some good throws for this early in the season, especially having to transfer in and starting late with the program,” Shorey said. “We were obviously excited having [Demby] transfer in.”

Led by seniors Juan Lujano and Wyatt Tari and junior Joshua Vincent, the Hollister boys team are also on track to have a solid season. Lujano has placed first in the discus in all four meets this season, and won the shot put three times. 

He advanced to State last year in the discus and has a PR of 140-5 in the event and a lifetime best of 38-5 in the shot put. Vincent nailed a PR of 41-2 in the triple jump in the Garlic Classic, tied for the ninth best mark in the section. 

Tari cleared 6 feet in the high jump in the season-opening Winter Time Trials on Feb. 25, tying him with five others for the No. 6 mark in the section. Senior Malachi Zabala, a stalwart in the program, and newcomer Donovan Tommy, look to make an impact in the sprinting events. 

Even though high school participant numbers in track and field rank far and away the highest among all sports nationally, you’re bound to find athletes who never competed in the sport until a later age. That’s certainly the case with Franks and Lujano, whose inaugural season in track and field last year was his first season of competition—in any sport, period. 

“Juan’s background is doing construction stuff and he has that natural strength to him which helps him with the throws,” Shorey said. “Emma never had done sports coming in and as a freshman she blew it out of the water in her first year of competing. She did do dancing and other stuff and her and a guy like Juan had all these other skill sets being developed that little did they know would benefit them once they got into track. Same goes with Lillian. She was a gymnast in her earlier years and she’s benefitting from that in her events.”

Juan Lujano throws the shot put in the Garlic Classic Invitational. Lujano placed 2nd in the event and 1st in the discus.
Emanuel Lee
Emanuel Lee is the sports editor of the Los Gatan, Gilroy Dispatch, Hollister Free Lance and Morgan Hill Times. An American High and University of Kentucky alumnus, he primarily covers high school athletics, Gavilan College, various youth sports in south Santa Clara/San Benito counties and pro sports on occasion. Two decades of journalism experience and recipient of several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. With the Weeklys/NewSVMedia group since 2013. Emanuel has run eight marathons with a PR of 3:13.40 (7:24 mile pace), counts himself as a devoted follower of Jesus Christ and loves spending time with his wife and their two lovely daughters, Evangeline and Eliza. Coaches, athletic directors and parents are encouraged to report scores to [email protected].

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