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Junior measures Masters chances

By: Cecil Conley, Sports Editor
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Matt Probst has launched the discus farther in the past two weeks than he ever has. The Lincoln High School junior might have to throw it to Clovis if he wants to qualify for the state championships. Probst will compete today in the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters meet at Hughes Stadium in Sacramento. Only the top three finishers in each event will make the trip to Buchanan High for the state meet. Although Clovis is miles away, Probst prefers to measure the distance in feet and inches. He enters the Masters meet as the No. 14 qualifier with a mark of 145 feet, 10 inches. That is not enough. And he knows it. “To be competitive, it’s going to take 150 to 155,” Probst said in evaluating his chances of surviving another week. That distance could be well within his reach. Probst has gone from winning the discus at the Pioneer Valley League championships at 139-10½ on May 12 to placing sixth at the section Division II-III meet last Wednesday with a throw of 145-9. If Probst can improve by 6 feet this week as he did last week, he could chuck his way into contention. All he needed to do last week was finish in the top eight to qualify for the Masters meet. Today brings a far more difficult challenge. He has to crack the top three or his season will come to an end. Five throwers in the Masters competition have qualifying marks of 160 or more feet, led by Jesuit senior Stephen Boals at 176-04. Granite Bay senior James Kinloch is second at 175-5. Probst competed with Kinloch and Rio Americano’s Kevin Barlow in the Division II-III finals last week, so he knows exactly what to expect. Barlow is the No. 5 Masters qualifier with a throw of 160-4. “I’m going to see a lot of good throwers,” Probst said. “I’m happy just to go to Masters. It’s going to be an experience in itself.” Lincoln sent six athletes to the Division II-III meet, and Probst is the sole survivor. The good news for Zebras coach Eric Williams is that only one of the other five, Heather Felt, is a senior. Felt placed 20th in the 3,200-meter run with a time of 12 minutes, 32.58 seconds. Freshman Kyle Ebert also competed in the 3,200 and finished 24th in 10:36.70. Junior Stephen Hay was 18th in the 300 hurdles (43.60) and 21st in the 110 high hurdles (16.66). Savannah Berkley finished 11th in the girls pole vault at 8-5, and fellow sophomore Kelsi Snook was 15th at 7-11.