Girls Winter Track Field Events Preview
Returning Girls Stars
Olayinka Braimah (Peninsula) is probably the biggest returning name among field event athletes that competed in the 2017 winter season. She ranks among the top 20 long jumpers in the country entering the season, even though she didn't break 19 feet until the official outdoor season began. Tierra Crockrell also posted some strong long jump results as she prepped for the multi events (and she threw the shot fairly well, too). Another big star from 2017, Laurel Wong (Santa Catalina), performed well at the National Pole Vault Summit on her way to becoming the top returner in California and possibly the next to threaten 14 feet. Jade McDonald, who did not compete for a school during her freshman year, nonetheless turned heads with a 39-foot triple jump in the winter (she went to New Balance Nationals Indoors in New York). Micah Fulton (Monrovia) and Dominique Ruotolo (Mater Dei) also jumped over 39 during all-comers meets, which could set up some interesting battles in the next month or so.
For many fans of high school track, Victoria Plummer may have been a new face that burst onto the scene with a 5' 3" high jump at the Simplot Games. However, if you follow club track you knew about her well before last winter! The Moorpark freshman went on to clear 5' 6" during the outdoor season, although her all-time PR is 5' 9". With the longer grind of a high school season now a known experience, she could be an even bigger factor this winter. Abigail Burke (Riverside Polytechnic) and Caitlin Bailey (Taft) both cleared 5' 5" in all-comers competition, with Burke eventually winning the outdoor state title. The top returning thrower is Faimalie Sale (Los Alamitos), who leads both the shot put and weight throw all-comers lists.
Girls Stars We Hope To See
Interestingly, three of the athletes listed above that competed in the winter went on to be the returning state leaders in their events after the spring season - Sale, Wong, and Braimah (and Burke won the state championship). It sure seems like the early start helped them! It would be fun to see California's other two 5' 9" high jumpers, Chinenye Agina and Katie Hurst, join an already strong group for some winter competitions. Indoor conditions are ideal for high jumpers, and also for vaulters - so maybe someone like Alexandria Gray (Chaparral) or Lauren Ross (Tamalpais) could travel to more competitions this winter. I've always wanted to see some of California's best vaulters head to New York to take on the fields at New Balance Nationals in the vault!
I always like to see Erica Grotegeer (Wheatland Union) throw (and jump, and sprint), and the indoor circuit would be a good way for her to expand her skills, maybe by adding the weight throw to her arsenal. And who wouldn't want to watch Hannah Hall and Jocelynn Budwig battle Sale at some point this winter? Finally, there is no shortage of long and triple jumpers that could put up big marks either indoors or in all-comers meets, like Jonon Young, Kali Hatcher, and Arianna Fisher.