John DuCray said he won't hesitate to reach for the "boogie" card to give him an extra boost of motivation.
With another team championship within grasp in his 36th season at St. Francis High School, the perpetually upbeat yet demanding DuCray amused his young track and field team recently with his version of the "Harlem Shake."
Video posted on the team's website shows DuCray shaking his arms, legs and mojo.
"I can still move a little, and yes, I'm a goofball," the coach said.
DuCray expects to be in constant motion Thursday night and Friday while imploring the Troubadours toward a strong Sac-Joaquin Section Masters performance at Elk Grove High School.
Last week at the same venue in the section Division I team finals, St. Francis trailed Vacaville by 21 points with two events to go and emerged as the champion.
The Troubadours scored 18 points in the 3,200 meters, with junior Lauren LaRocco winning. Then St. Francis charged down the backstretch to win the 4x400 relay in a section-leading and school-record 3 minutes, 53.65 seconds.
The relay group of Ariane Arndt, Kiani Reyna, Brittany Adams and Sydney Hunter nipped Davis by 0.01 seconds, with Hunter leaning into the tape, and third-place Vacaville (3:55.54).
DuCray said he was jumping out of his skin. Thirty-six years hasn't dimmed his spirit a bit.
"It's all about May right now, and we want to hang championship pennants on the gym walls," he said. "I tell the girls, 'Someone is going to win these races and these events. Why not us?' "
LaRocco was "the leader" of DuCray's cross country team that placed second in the state meet last fall. DuCray instructs the Troubadours' distance runners to "Follow the Rock!"
LaRocco has the second-best section 3,200 time of 10:51.30, just behind Clare Carroll of Vista del Lago (10:49.88).
A closer look at other Masters story lines:
Jesuit's Austin Mitsch ran two personal bests in three-peating as the D-I section 100- and 200-meter champion and helping the Marauders win their sixth team title in seven years last Friday.
Mitsch's 10.63 in the 100 ranks him No. 1 in Northern California and No. 7 in the state. His winning time in the 200 of 21.40 also is a NorCal best and No. 8 in the state.
Those marks give Mitsch a leg up on a friendly NorCal rival, Takkarist McKinley of Kennedy-Richmond.
McKinley, a CIF 100 state finalist last season, beat Mitsch in the dashes at the Sacramento Meet of Champions one week after Mitsch had topped him in both events at the Woody Wilson Invitational in Davis.
Last year, Mitsch won the Masters 100 but scratched from the 200 after re-injuring his groin running the anchor on the Marauders' victorious 4x100 relay team.
Dorner looking strong
Cordova's Nia Dorner, the Masters champion and a CIF state runner-up in the girls 400 at Rosemont last year, has been the state leader since running a 54.54 on April 4 at the Sun Angel Classic in Arizona.
She bettered that mark with a 54.37 at the Mount SAC Relays in Southern California on April 20. That mark ranks her 16th in the nation, according to the track website DyeStat.
A senior transfer, Dorner won her fourth 400 Division II section title Friday with a 54.56.
She also is the defending Masters champion in the 200. She ran a season-best 24.16 at the Sun Angel Classic, which ranks her No. 9 in the state. She won her second D-II section championship Friday with a 24.70.
A multi-sport star
Junior Jacob Sipes had a big role in Oak Ridge's 12-2 football season last fall, playing defensive back, wide receiver and quarterback. As a punter, he was named to the Maxpreps.com's All-Northern California team after averaging 45.6 yards.
Sipes is having an even bigger impact on the school's track team. He ran a sizzling 37.77 in the D-I 300 intermediate hurdles Friday, elevating him to No. 5 in the state.
It's his first year in hurdles after he primarily ran the 400 as a sophomore.
Going higher and higher
The boys high jump - one of six field event finals held Thursday - should be hotly contested.
Center senior Xavier Howell jumped 6 feet, 10 inches at the Del Oro Invitational in April for the third-best mark in the state this season.
Granite Bay senior Alex Marakas went 6-9 1 / 4 and Grizzlies sophomore Brian Graber 6-7 at the Sierra Foothill League meet this month. Vacaville's Danny Shellworth also has a best of 6-8.
Still, Golden Valley of Merced's Harman Purewal's 6-6 effort won the D-I title and was the best mark during last week's three sectional meets.