Jazmin Harper is back to lead an Oakmont track and field team that has big plans in the Capital Valley Conference.
Oakmont High School’s track team has had a successful recent history with a few tough seasons interspersed. This season looks to be a turnaround with coach Ryan Nugent predicting his teams will be among the top two in the Capital Valley Conference after the Vikings struggled last year in the Sierra Foothill League. ** Nugent said the squad has more than doubled in size after giving up many points in the SFL due to its lack of numbers.
Senior star Jazmin Harper returns after signing with Stanford and will race in the 400, her main event, and the relays.
Harper hopes to hit a personal best and cut her 400 time to below 55 seconds. “It’s hard work, but the reward in the end is amazing,” she said.
A big change for Oakmont this season is that the CVC doesn’t have JV girls teams, so freshmen and sophomores will compete at the varsity level in league meets.
“It’s a huge difference from last year. Just the coaches’ expectations is to have good sportsmanship and good team spirit and working hard out there,” Harper said.
Oakmont has other key components in junior Edixon Puglisi. Nugent said he’s expected to qualify for the state meet in either the mile or the 800 and maybe both.
Derek Booth is a 300-meter hurdler who transferred from Chico-Pleasant Valley and is one of the best hurdlers in the state.
“He’s going to come in and probably break our school record this year and make it to the state meet as well,” Nugent said.
Karlie Garcia will step up and run the mile and two mile. Nugent said she was a national finals qualifier in cross country last year as a freshman.
With strength and firepower tucked in throughout his team, Nugent believes the Vikings will do well this season.
“Our intentions are to win league in all three divisions,” Nugent said. “Whether that’s realistic, we’ll find out. We’ll see how that comes together. We don’t have a very big group of freshman boys right now, so we’ll see about the JV boys. In varsity boys and varsity girls, we should be top two unless we lose some key people to injuries.”