Pole Vault Makes a Return to Denair High Track Team

The return of the pole vault to the Denair High track team involves a pricy donation, a surprising discovery and a whole bunch of determination by three young athletes.

Until this spring, Jim Wagner never has coached a pole vaulter in his decade with the Coyotes. But the seeds were planted last year when his friend Thad Moren, the track coach at Pitman High in Turlock, asked Wagner if he wanted an old pole vault pit the Pride was replacing.

Wanger said, “Sure.” It was a $15,000 piece of equipment Denair otherwise never would have been able to afford. And it set in motion a series of events that led to the resurrection of the pole vault program this spring.

The pit – a huge rectangular pad that allows vaulters to safely land on their backs from heights – is a must for the event. But there are other important pieces, costing about $3,000.

The vaulters need a variety of fiberglass poles to use. There needs to be concrete foundations for the adjustable metal standards that hold the crossbar as well as a “box” for vaulters to plant their poles as they big their jumps.

Wagner approached the sports boosters last fall to buy the equipment and help with installation. Some of the longtime supporters and members of the Denair maintenance staff recalled the pole vault had once been part of the team. What happened, they wondered, to the area at the east end of Jack Lytton Stadium where the event was contested?

Assistant coach Ron Martinez and the maintenance staff started doing a little excavating earlier this year. Sure enough, they found the foundation of the old box and concrete pads buried under about 6 inches of grass and dirt. They couldn’t really safely use them, so Martinez – a firefighter in Oakland who lives in Denair and also has a construction background – poured new footings in early March.

About two weeks later, Sergio Zavala, Logan Johnson and Shayln Gomes became the Coyotes’ first vaulters in more than a decade.

“I didn’t recruit the kids, the event recruited them,” said Wagner. “It’s not an easy event.” Continue reading “Pole Vault Makes a Return to Denair High Track Team” »

6 Denair Women Honored for Contributions to Agriculture

Left-to-right-Nancy Harris-Bonnie Muller-Debbie Nutcher-Linda Prock-Ruby Swanson Sperry-Debbie Zylatra

Submitted by Holli Nielsen

Six prominent women from the Denair area were honored Wednesday night for their achievements in and contributions to agriculture.

The ceremony at the Denair High School theater was held to mark the 50th anniversary of girls being allowed to join Future Farmers of America or FFA and participate in its vocational training and events.

More than 100 people attended the event, including representatives from the Stanislaus County Farm Bureau, local legislators, the Denair Unified School District, CSU Stanislaus, Modesto Junior College, and the local ag community.

Those honored were:

  • Nancy Nielsen Harris (Ag in the classroom)
  • Bonnie Troedson Muller (Muller Berry Farms)
  • Debbie McDiffet Nutcher (Nutcher Milk Co.)
  • Linda Berendt Prock (Ray-Lin Dairy)
  • Ruby Swanson Sperry (Sperry Dairy)
  • Debbie Smith Zylstra (Edwin H. Smith & Sons)

The six women – all of whom have dedicated their adult lives to agriculture — were nominated by the Denair Community Resource Team and ultimately selected by the Denair Agriculture Education Department.

Wednesday’s event was hosted by Denair High FFA, which has 213 members this year. Many of them will be showing animals and entering ag-related projects in the Stanislaus County Fair this summer.

Stanislaus Health Foundation to Host Run for Health

Submitted by Stanislaus Health Foundation

Hey Denair!

The Stanislaus Health Foundation presents the Dr. Amanda Crews Memorial 32nd annual Run for Health. The Run for Health will feature a walkers course, one-mile run, 5K and 10K races. Proceeds from the run benefit the Reach Out and Read Program and support the Stanislaus County Health Services Agency and Valley Family Medicine Residency Program. Entry fee is $30 through race day, and $10 for 18 and younger. To register, go to www.stanhealth.org or active.com. For more information, please feel free to contact Daisy Swearingen at 209-648-7384 or dswear1@gmail.com.

When: Saturday, May 11th, 7:00 am.

Where: East La Loma Park, 2001 Edgebrook Drive in Modesto

Community Survey Reveals Broad Support for Key Denair Unified Objectives

Submitted by Denair Unified School District

A just-completed community survey shows widespread support for the key priorities established by the Denair Unified School District.

Nearly 200 residents, parents, students and staff responded to the online survey, which was conducted in English and Spanish for two weeks starting in late February. Superintendent Terry Metzger briefed trustees on the results at their monthly board meeting Thursday night.

The priorities are established each year as part of the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP), mandated by the state for every district. The goals are formed with input from the community.

For this school year, Denair’s priorities are:

  • Increase the high school graduation rate
  • Attract and retain highly effective staff
  • Implement state standards
  • Provide intervention and enrichment for students
  • Accountability and transparency
  • Engage the community
  • Safety and facilities

No less than 68% of respondents agreed with every goal. The highest favorable rating (81%) was for increasing high school graduation rates, which is interesting in that Denair High routinely ranks among the top in the state with a grad rate of 95% or higher. Continue reading “Community Survey Reveals Broad Support for Key Denair Unified Objectives” »

Pritchard, Winston Share Player of the Year Honor

Submitted by Denair High School

Denair High’s Drew Pritchard and Steffin Winston have made and shared many memories in their four-year athletic careers at Denair High. So it’s somehow fitting that they will share another award after the Coyotes’ most successful basketball season in more than a decade.

The two seniors have been chosen Co-Players of the Year by the Turlock Journal.

Pritchard averaged 15 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals a game. A three-year starter, he also made the Southern League’s first team three times.

Winston averaged 13 points, nine rebounds, two blocks, two steals and two assists. He made the all-Southern League first team the past two seasons.

The tandem led Denair to a 17-11 record this season and helped the Coyotes to the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs the past two years.

“They provided a positive environment,” Coach R.J. Henderson told the Journal. “That was the thing about both of them; they have leadership skills that really provided a lift with a younger team this year with juniors and a freshman that started.”

Henderson credits Pritchard and Winston with helping to change the culture associated with Denair athletics, including their roles on last fall’s state championship football team.

“I think they are a couple of vibrant students on campus and I think that translates as far as crowds and interest,” he said. “Both of them attract people towards them and we never had that before. We had talented kids come through, but those two are the total package.”