With Regional Qualifications Already Achieved, Valley Track Had to End Season Early


Senior runners, Christian Franklin and Kelly Carranza, about to head to the third track meet of the season, which was canceled at the last minute due to the COVID19 pandemic.

Thor's Hammer Staff

The Valley track team attended two meets before the NIAA ended the Nevada high school sports season due to the COVID19 pandemic, with many athletes qualifying early for the regional meets that were not to happen in 2020.  Valley track is coached by head coach James DeSalvo and assistant coach Sergio Segura.

In the first two meets, many athletes stood out and placed for regionals, but there were also many events that athletes did not yet have a chance to participate in this season.

“We had a good showing and lots of potential going into those meets,” DeSalvo explained.  “We also had a good stable of young athletes who were eager to step up and compete on the varsity level.”

Christian Franklin was the top ranked runner in the 800m and the 1600m runs, but did not run in the 400m or 3200m runs before the closure.  Franklin, heading to the University of Nevada, Reno on a cross-country scholarship, will participate individually in track meets next spring as a college freshman.  He is the current cross country champion in Nevada in 3A, but he also held the fastest time in all divisions in Nevada in the 2019 State Championships.

“Those last couple of meets were really exciting for me.  I knew I had an off-season, and I was ready to break all of my previous records, and I was right on pace for it, but I am glad that I always give it my all,” Franklin said.  “I managed to still get first place in both races of the 800m and 1600m as well.” 

Senior Donovan Jones had some top times in the 1600m and 3200m runs, and senior Jarrett Zibert started running hurdles with no experience, qualifying in the 300m intermediate hurdles the first time he raced it. Sophomore Aiden DeCania “did very well in the 400m, 800m, and 1600m races that first weekend,” DeSalvo added.

Senior sprinter Karla Rivera qualified in the 100m high hurdles during the first meet, and senior Diamond Morris “did well in the 800m and 1600m,” DeSalvo said.

“Senior Kelly Carranza had commendable performances in the 800m and 1600m,” DeSalvo explained.  

Four-year runner Carranza, the captain of the team, earned a new personal record on the 800 at the Faith Lutheran meet.  She has applied for a college scholarship at the suggestion of Coach Segura.

“I miss my teammates and my coaches so much!!” Carranza said.  “I was looking forward to improving my times and possibly even going to State for the 4×800. I miss leading the team and making new memories with my amazing teammates.”

Senior Kaiya Maye qualified for regionals in the shot put and the discus. While senior Brenda Cardona “did well in the 1600m and 3200m,” DeSalvo said.  Sophomore Yatziry Urrutia “had top notch performances in the 800m and 3200m runs,” DeSalvo added. 

Sophomore Jennifer Fortune, a new hurdler in 2020, qualified for regionals in both the 100m high hurdles and the 300m intermediate hurdles. 

“We have many promising younger students on the team. I look forward to working with them throughout the year and getting ready for next year,” DeSalvo said.  Even some freshmen stood out.

“Lizette Lopez and Angie Gil-Tapia are freshmen who are extremely hard workers and show a lot of potential,” DeSalvo claimed, as he looks to next year’s team.

Before the season started, the season looked good.

“We have a lot of stand-out athletes,” DeSalvo explained.  “We had a great distance team lined up for the year. Unfortunately, we did not even get the chance to run any 4×800 meter relays before the closure.”

DeSalvo hopes to get more of the track athletes out for intramurals in the fall and winter seasons if they are not already playing another sport. 

“I hope [the underclassmen]  are not discouraged at losing out on this track and field season,” DeSalvo said.  “There will be more in the future, and any training they put in now will pay off for when those future seasons come.”

“Keep working hard because all hard work pays off in the end,” Carranza said to the underclassmen.  “The track team has amazing coaches who offer a great support system. Enjoy every little moment of it because time flies by fast. I will miss everyone so much and the memories we made will be something I will always cherish. It was a pleasure being the team captain!”

“I can’t wait to see how you guys are next year,” Franklin said.  “I may not be able to see you guys run, but I will be watching, and I will always cheer you on.  Never forget, always pick it up! Pick it up!”  Franklin adds, “The main thing that I will forever miss is my teammates; we are always there for each other to help support and motivate one another, and I will never forget them.”

DeSalvo wants the seniors to know “that though we were not able to partake in most of the season, the lessons they learned while competing in the sport of track and field are most important. I would not be the person I am today without youth sports, and I hope they remember that hard work and dedication will make them better people in anything they do going forward in life.”