High school students from around the state have descended upon Veterans Memorial Stadium at Buchanan High. The Clovis stadium is hosting the CIF track and field championships for the fourth straight year.
"Right now I'm ranked 2nd in disc and 3rd or 4th in shot put," said Nikki Okwelogu. The junior at Clovis West High is hoping to come out of the meet with a metal or two. She'll be competing against hundreds of other athletes for a CIF title in triple-digit weather. "It's pretty hot but I'm from here. Hopefully that will give me some kind of advantage," said Okwelogu.
Organizers have made available water coolers, pop up tents and misting fans throughout the stadium to keep athletes and spectators cool. "In the Valley, we have to be prepared for the heat," said CIF co-director Roger Oraze. The most important thing is to drink plenty of water. "I keep myself hydrated. There's nothing else to worry about," said Mikaela Smith, a competitor from Clovis North.
Earlier on Friday, kids took a swing at taking home the championship trophy in Fresno Unified's softball tournament in Southwest Fresno. Parents came prepared to watch their little ones play and avoid the heat. "We planned accordingly, we brought 40 pounds of ice and three ice chests and juice boxes and Gatorades," said Tajia Rodriquez.
But the rising temperatures proved to be too much for some children. "We have a few kids that were kind of complaining of heat exhaustion. We had one who had to go to the medic. He's fine now but it's hot and when they're out there in the sun playing game after game, it really gets to them," said Rodriquez.
Public health officials say athletes playing outdoors need to be extra cautious in the heat. "We often recommend 2 to 4 cups of water every hour during training exercise or during games to stay hydrated so they avoid dehydration and heat exhaustion during the day," said Dr. Edward Moreno with the Fresno County Public Health Department.
Organizers of the track competition have set up a cooling center near the stadium to provide shelter for those who've been out in the sun for too long.