10 California Prep Stars Punch Tickets to Peru

It was a HOT weekend in Sacramento, in more than one way: the weather was toasty, and the performances were blazing! That includes some California stars that earned their way onto Team USA for the Pan American Junior Championships in Peru next month.

In my opinion, the performance of the week belongs to Zack Shinnick. The recent Damien graduate posted a HUGE PR of 45.20 while winning the 400 Dash, which is US #1 for high school athletes this season and US #9 All-Time! That represents nearly a full second of improvement over his previous lifetime best, which is just absurd for such a talented athlete. Zack will now get to compete against the top Under-20 talent from all of North and South America, plus the Caribbean, in July!

Tara Davis continued her spectacular season in typical fashion, winning the long jump on her first attempt (21' 9") and then claiming the 100 Hurdles title in 13.01 while holding off high school national record holder Tia Jones by 0.01. Along the way, she clocked a wind-legal PR of 12.95 in the semifinals, which moves her up to a tie for the 5th-best performance in US high school history (and she is now the 4th-best performer). Davis also competed in the Senior Women's long jump, taking 5th with a wind-aided 21' 9.5" effort. Her partner in hurdle dominance all season, Joseph Anderson, finished second in the 110 Hurdle finals and will join her on the trip to Peru; the Upland grad was a little off in the final, running 13.45, but he will certainly represent California and the US well next month. Kaylah Robinson also made the 100 Hurdles final, finishing 5th. Another big Golden State name, Cooper Teare, also finished 2nd - he ran 3:47.89 in the 1500.

Tara's club teammate and cross-district rival Tierra Crockrell also had an outstanding week, finishing second in the Heptathlon to make a place for herself on Team USA this summer. She scored a total of 5149 points, a personal best and also the best in the nation for a high school athlete this season (she lost to a college freshman this past weekend, by only 72 points). The total also moves her into the all-time top 10 in California history, and she's just a sophomore; if she can improve her javelin throwing and become more consistent in the long jump, she has a chance to be one of the best high school multi-athletes ever.

Finally, California's top vaulters both struck gold on Saturday! Tate Curran won the men's competition after clearing 17' 2.75 inches, and Rachel Baxter dominated on the girls' side with a mark of 14' 1.25", a foot better than the second-place competitor.

Several former California prep stars, now competing as collegians, also found success in Sacramento this week. Isaiah Holmes (Oakmont/UCLA) won the high jump with a clearance of 7' 1.75" (Jake Grimsmann was 5th and Sean Lee 6th in the same event). Dennis Hicks (Liberty Bakersfield/CSUN) took second in the triple jump with a best mark of 50' 1.25", and also wound up 4th in the long jump. Michelle Magnani (Moorpark/Oklahoma St) ran 4:23.32 to finish second in the 1500

Sanjay Kettles finished 3rd in the long jump, giving him alternate status in case someone ahead of him declines the invitation to travel to Peru (the final team will be announced this week). The same is true of Dominique Ruotolo in the girls' triple jump, where she set a new all-time best of 41' 7". Two throwers made the top 5 in their events: Cerah Morgan hurled the javelin 143' 11, good for 4th place, and Jeff Williams threw 183' 10" to finish 5th in the discus. Jasmin Reed made the finals of the 200, where her 23.70 earned her 4th place, and Anthony Easter made the finals of the 400 Hurdles and ran 52.09 for 6th place.

Golden State natives McKay Johnson, Nathan Esparza, and Charles Lenford Jr went 3-4-5 in the shot put, with Johnson throwing 65' 1.5" to lead the way. Hannah Waller finished 5th in the 400, two places ahead of Shae Anderson.

Photos from USATF Junior Nationals