The Vaqueros took sixth and seventh in the women’s and men’s javelin, respectively, while sophomore decathlete Quaid Vuncannon concluded his season due to injury.
“Being an All-American definitely means I’ve accomplished what I came for,” Tonga said. “I didn’t get the best mark I wanted, but this is fine.”
Tonga entered as the reigning Western State Conference champion and in turned in a personal-best throw of 37.65 at that event at Antelope Valley College in late April.
As for Friday, Tonga was not close to that mark through her first two attempts of the first round, as she tallied marks of 31.98 and 30.33.
Yet, on her final toss of the first round, Tonga delivered her throw of 36.41.
“I didn’t do well on those first two throws and then just threw 36,” Tonga said.
Tonga faulted on her first attempt of the second round before finishing with attempts of 33.91 and 35.52.
Tonga was nipped by Modesto freshman Jaleyah Douglass, who took fifth with a throw of 36.42.
As for the men’s competition, Vaqueros freshman Tanner Mays took seventh with a mark of 182-08 (55.69) and was disappointed with the result afterward.
“It’s a big meet and I guess I’ll take it, but it wasn’t my best throw,” Mays said. “I’m not really happy because I know I can throw better.”
Mays entered with a personal record of 192-7 and, like Tonga, hit his top mark on the last throw of the first round.
Mays, who also plays football, opened with marks of 52.80 and 53.87 on his first two tries before delivering 55.69.
“There was a disconnect there somewhere,” Mays said. “My mind was doing one thing and my legs were doing something else.”
While Tonga and Mays expected to conclude their seasons Friday, Vuncannon did not.
Yet, the sophomore decathlete competed in only one event, the 100-meter dash, and took 12th overall in 15.95 seconds before bowing out of the long jump and the rest of the events scheduled for Friday and Saturday with a hamstring injury.
Even though Tonga finished, she will be back to watch her teammates Elizabeth Nelson (1,500-meter and 5,000-meter runs), Justice Shank (high jump), Aisiah Tuiasosopo (discus), Lizette Gonzalez and Glindyll Mancia (both in the 800) and Marcus Streeter (high jump) take part in Saturday’s events.
Follow Andrew J. Campa on Twitter: @campadresports.