Central Section Masters Preview

Boys Preview

The best competition of the boys' meet might not be on the track. That's because the Wilsons will do battle in the throws again, and believe me when I say they're worth missing a few races to watch! Jonah Wilson (Clovis) shattered the California state record when he threw 221' 5" earlier this season, which also earned him the current US #1. He has been over 200 feet three times this spring, and that's what it could very take to win this weekend. Jacob Wilson (Buchanan) has the advantage and the hot hand in the shot put, as his PR of 66' 5.5" came just last weekend in area competition. That makes him the state leader, but Jonah is right behind at CA #2, so this is no walkover in either throw! Another field event that should be hotly contested: the high jump features 5 athletes that have cleared at least 6' 5" this spring, with Jacob Veres (Clovis North) topping the season rankings at 6' 7" and Omar Rivera on his heels at 6' 6". Samuel Hinrichs (Kingsburg) and Chris Orange (Sierra) also could have an interesting duel in the pole vault, with Kyle Scaletta hoping to crash the party.

The long jump can be a funny event to predict, especially when you wade into the world of potentially wind-aided performances. For example, Desmond Howard (Hanford West) has a season best of 23' 3.25", but no wind was recorded with that jump; he has jumped over 22 feet two other times, though, and that makes him a contenders Saturday at Memorial Stadium. We at least know that Quincy Hicks' 22' 9" from earlier this season was wind-aided, and he has also been over 22 the last two weeks. That suggests a good battle upcoming! But no event at this meet can match the triple jump for sheer number of legitimate contenders. The top 5 in that event all jumped within a foot of each other last weekend, with a sixth just a few inches outside that range. A look at the season rankings confirms: Shomari Somerville (Clovis North) and Christian Paulino (Clovis West) have both posted marks in the 46 foot range, then behind them there are eight jumpers between 43' 10" and 45 feet. If those two live up to their season bests, they will battle for the win; if they jump more like last week, this could become a free-for-all!

None of the valley's distance runners pushed themselves to the limit in their area meets last weekend, and that makes the seeding somewhat jumbled. Evert Silva (Fresno) is the man to beat based on his 4:09 full mile, and with Moises Medrano not entered in the 1600 it is left to Layken Branco (Redwood) to try to take him down. Highland's Medrano appears to be going all in for the 800, where he leads the section with a season best of 1:53.44. Four other runners have broken 1:55 this spring, and that could make for a mad dash to the finish. Will Medrano sit and kick for the win, or will he show that he's ready to go toe-to-toe with the best in the state by taking the race out hard?  Silva is also the heavy favorite in the 3200, and he will be hunting for a double win Saturday. Marcus Mota (Stockdale) and Miguel Villar (Madera South) are most likely to challenge him in the 8-lapper.

With Jake Woods (Clovis) failing to make it through to the Masters meet, the 110 Hurdles is looking wide open. Ian Kelly (Golden West) has the best time considering the whole season at 14.72, but Raymond Yan (Dinuba) and Ethan Turner (Foothill Bakersfield) are right behind him. That means the winner will be the hurdler that best hits his rhythm, and least hits the hurdles! The 400 also looks like it's a toss-up between several contenders, with 6 athletes entered that have posted season bests between 49.27 and 49.77! Elijah Isiah (Edison) has the best overall mark at 49.27, but Tanner Tucker (Clovis East) holds the top seed from last weekend's meets, and Amir Knox (Ridgeview) is right in the mix. Woods made it in the 300 Hurdles, where he is the second seed to Tamaj Johnson (Central) using season bests. The battle for the final qualifying spot in the 300 could be intense: there are three competitors who have run in the upper 39's.

Kamier Allen (Tulare Western) has a wind-legal 10.66 on his resume, clocked just this past weekend, and that's enough to make him the favorite. If he runs up to that standard, it might leave Scott Boylan and Cameron Roberson (Garces) battling for second. As with the hurdles, we're missing one of the big guns in Central's Nathyn Scruggs, who hasn't raced since Arcadia. We hope the sophomore is healthy or at least will be soon, but it appears his individual season is over. He would have been the likely top seed and favorite in the 200, as well, but that honor now falls to Roberson. Watch out for Lewis Early (Tulare Western), who will be running out of the slower section but has run 21.97 this spring.

It looks like Central High was below their best in the 4x100 last weekend, posting a 42.70 when they have a season best of 41.98 (likely because they're missing Scruggs). Tulare Union holds the top seed by virtue of their 42.50 in area qualifying competition. Central also leads the season rankings in the 4x4, which could turn into a real barn-burner; 4 schools have run under 3:24, including two that broke the barrier last weekend. Of the four, Central has the best chance of breaking 3:20, which could put the race out of reach. If they run 3:22 or 3:23, though, they will have the competition breathing down their neck to close out the meet.

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