MOORPARK -- The scary thing about the show put on by the Murrieta Mesa boys track & field team on Saturday at the CIF-Southern Section Division 2 preliminaries, is that its star runner said the Rams have "more tricks up their sleeve."
Whatever senior Christian Shakir-Ricks was referring to during that post-meet interview in the beautiful setting on the track at Moorpark High, it probably doesn't need to be much for the Rams to win the school's first CIF-SS divisional title.
Shakir-Ricks lowered his all-conditions California lead in the 200 meters to 21.00 (2.5 meters per second wind, 0.5 over the allowable for record purposes), was easily the top 100-meter sprinter (10.62/0.6) and anchored both the 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams to top qualifying times. The Rams already own the state's fastest times in both relays and Shakir-Ricks ranks CA #2 in the 100.
The Rams, who figure to get their greatest challenge for the team title from Mission Viejo, also had senior Matthew Okonkwo and senior Davonte Williams run 2nd and 3rd, respectively, to Shakir-Ricks in the 200, and had Okonkwo, Williams and junior Jermarcus Tate run 1-5-7 in the 400 (Okonkwo ranks CA #5). And, if to show the Rams aren't just a sprint-only team and there's a modicum of field to go with that blazing track, Kenneth Williams snuck in in the triple jump, as the 9th, and final, qualifier.
"We haven't even hit our peak yet," Shakir-Ricks said. "We still have things, we have tricks up our sleeve, as I like to say, things in our bag that we can pull out and throw on the track. It's a pretty good feeling overall."
Mission Viejo has representation in eight events, including:
- Josh Hill, the top qualifier in the 300 hurdles and the 4th qualifier in the 110 hurdles
- Brett Hickman, 2nd in the 800 (1:55.31), 8th in the 1600 (4:19.19) and ran a key 400 leg on the 4x400 relay team that squeaked in 8th (3:24.42)
- Christian Lavalle, 2nd in the discus throw (168-7)
- Luis Chavez, 3rd in the 3200 (9:24.74)
- Mason Gariepy, 3rd in the pole vault (14-2)
- And the 4x100 relay team that survived a diving in-the-zone second handoff to post the No. 2 time behind Murrieta Mesa (42.57)
While Mater Dei appears to be the favorite among the girls, a mistake here, a key injury there, could sway the competition quickly.
The Monarchs' jump squad of freshman Jade McDonald and senior Dominique Ruotolo got through in both jumps with McDonald posting the best triple jump (38-10.50). After qualifying 5th in the long jump (17-8), one slot behind McDonald (17-11.25), Ruotolo limped out of the sand after a first attempt foul in the triple. She gutted out a second-attempt 38-05 for 2nd overall.
Senior Kelli Godin also was a qualifier in the long jump (17-2.75). Between those three in five positions, that's a lot of potential points for the Monarchs just in the sand pit.
Regardless of what she does in the sand, Godin's strength is her speed. She advanced with the No. 2 100m time (11.95/2.1), the No. 4 time in the 200m (24.78/2.4) and anchored the 4x100 relay to the No. 2 time (48.00).
In addition, McDonald is the No. 5 qualifier in the 100 hurdles (15.03/2.7) and Lillie Boyer is the No. 9 qualifier in the pole vault (10-8). Also note that junior Sophia Chiaramonte, 4th in the long jump at last year's division final (17-10.75), did not qualify (12th, 16-7.25). She also ran the third leg on the 4x100 relay.
Calabasas will be one of the teams looking for a crack in the Monarchs. Junior sprinter Deanna Nowling posted the top times in the 100m (11.81) and 200m (23.62) and helped the 4x100 relay team to the top qualifying time (47.40). Junior Kyla Robinson-Hubbard, who anchored that relay, is the top qualifier in the 300 hurdles (43.55) and the No. 4 qualifier in the 400 (56.55). Junior Kennedy Waite is the No. 4 qualifier in the 100m (12.18/2.1).