Cover photo by Kirby Lee/Image of Sport; Inside photos by Jeffrey Parenti
Boys 100 meters
Yucaipa's Asani Hampton lived up to the headlines in rolling to a wind legal 10.34 performance. The State Meet record (wind legal) is 10.30 while the California state record is 10.25. Of course, Hampton's 10.26 is #2 ever. Tulare Union's Kazmier Allen proved that his sectional title was not all about the assisting wind as he recorded a new personal best of 10.49 to capture the first heat. Meanwhile, Murrieta Mesa's Christian Shakir-Ricks also recorded a new personal best of 10.51 to win the third heat. Riding Hampton's vapor in heat two, and one of the fastest wind legal heats in state meet history, Orange Glen's Morey Steward threw out a huge personal best of 10.64, just head of El Cerrito's Armauni Archie (10.64) and Dixon's David Phillips Jr. (10.66). With the San Diego section advancing all three of their entries, Madison's Kenan Christon and Mt. Carmel's Quoi Ellis also advanced in 10.70 and 10.72 clockings. Barely earning that last spot, San Leandro's Femi Ajose came across at 10.731 while Carson's Anthony Richardson was clocked at 10.740. A mere .009 decided that last spot.
Boys 200 meters
One of the more impressive moments of the evening, Murrieta Mesa's Christian Shakir-Ricks accelerated at will past Yucaipa's Asani Hampton in their head to head matchup here. With a new wind legal best of 21.00 to Hampton's 21.37, we suspect that Shakir-Ricks still has another gear in him for this one tonight. Del Oro's Ryan Mulholland had a nice view as he rolled to a seasonal best of 21.70 to also advance from the 3rdheat. In the first heat, in one of the closest battle of the night, Mt. Carmel's Quoi Ellis crossed first with a 21.356 to Whitney's Andrew Franco at 21.360. Westview's Izel Smith qualified with a 21.76 from that same heat. In the second heat, Clayton Valley's Cameron Reynolds rolled to a 21.46 personal best while Madison's Kenan Christon (21.74) and San Leandro's Femi Ajose advanced in his second event at 21.87. The projected favorites all advanced here.
Boys 400 meters
Marin Catholic's Max Glasser impressed to a 47.54 victory, while behind him in a personal best, Jacure Johnson of Valencia also advanced with a 47.89. With four of the top eight coming from that first heat, Vista Murrieta's Parris Samaniego (48.08) and West Valley's Ismail Turner (48.66) also qualified. Oakland Tech's Harry Larkin captured the second heat in 47.89 to keep the family lineage rolling into the state meet finals. Murrieta Mesa's Matthew Okonkwo was right on his shoulder for a 48.03 as the other qualifier. In the third heat, Trinity Classical sophomore Solomon Strader crossed at 48.21 while Clayton Valley's Cameron Reynolds advanced at 48.39. Reynolds still holds the fastest time in the state at 47.09. Nico Bland of Las Lomas took the last spot to the finals with a 48.73. Huge misstep here as one of our favories, Zachary Larrier (47.12, #2 in California) did not advance. Two of the top four times in the state will not compete in the final while Samaniego, Strader and Bland return for the second year in a row.
Boys 800 meters
Westmont's Jason Gomez came through with a negative split, 1:52.73 seasonal best to capture the second heat. Right beside him to claim an automatic spot, Heritage's Jett Charvet cruised in with a 1:52.89. Davis' Juan Zarate-Sanchez was also within arms' reach with his 1:53.02 finish. The last spot from the heat to advance was Campbell Hall's Jamie Moreland at 1:53.26. In the first heat, it was an all-Orange County affair as Tesoro's Ryan Bush claiming the victory at 1:53.97, with Mission Viejo's Brett Hickman at 1:53.98 and Mater Dei's Sam VanDorpe tagging along for that last automatic spot in 1:54.02. Quinton Alexander of Vanden also advanced with a 1:54.26. Finally, the third heat saw one of the most thrilling finishes of Friday night. Tanner Anderson of Carlmont edged out Loyola's Mason Ratkovich at 1:54.35 to 1:54.36 while Palos Verde's Ian Irish was there at 1:54.37. Bobby Pointer was the odd man out of the automatic spots but claimed the 12th spot at 1:54.49. The projected favorites advanced with the one pitfall coming in the form of Peidmont's Reece Proctor, who came in with the #5 time in California at 1:52.64. He missed it by .03 to Pointer (#3 time in California). The showdown between VanDorpe (1:51.44) and Charvet (1:51.69) is still on.
Boys 1600 meters
Where we should see one of the fastest girls' 1600s in California meet history, the boys are still seeking a sub-4:10 performance this season. This race is completely wide open as when viewing seasonal bests, only three seconds separates the entire field of 12! Crossing with the fastest time of the afternoon, West Torrance's Rory Abberton is our top seed with a 4:12.00. Redwood's Liam Anderson (4:13.08) and Highland's Moises Medrano (4:13.45) earned two other automatic spots while Brian Hastings of Las Plumas posted a new seasonal best of 4:13.82 to claim the last automatic entry. In the first heat, St. Francis (CC) junior Colton Colonna earned the victory in 4:13.81. Adrian Schroeder of Dublin was right with him at 4:13.96 along with Burroughs' Jagdeep Chahal at 4:14.09. Jaden Rosenthal of High Tech (SD) crossed at 4:14.63 while Redlands East Valley's Elias Opsahl qualified for his 3rdstraight state meet final in 4:15.22. An at-large entry into the SS Masters Meet, JSerra junior Anthony Grover continues to power forward in advancing with a 4:15.41. Also advancing was West Ranch's Timothy Sterkel while Christopher Middleton-Pearson gives Dublin two entries into the final. Some controversy here as Santa Margarita's Sean Byrne originally qualified with a 4:14.47 but was disqualified for impeding the progress of another, thus allowing the Dublin sophomore a spot for tonight. Chahal owns the best time of the field at 4:11.09 while our 12th fastest seasonal best is Schroeder's 4:13.95. With all talent virtually equal here, it's anyone's guess as to will ascend to the top of the podium.
Boys 110 Hurdles
In an event that was completely wide open, it became even more so with one of the pre-meet favorites not advancing. Upland's Caleb Roberson came in with the 3rd fastest wind legal mark of all entries but did not advance. In a wind-aided affair, Moreno Valley Vista del Lago's Jaden Ellis continues to improve with a 13.93 victory from the second heat. Meanwhile, Warren Williams of Merrill West rolled to a 13.98 victory in the third heat. Clovis North sophomore Caleb Foster raced to a 14.16 to claim the other automatic qualifier, in later would be the only one from that heat to advance. In heat three behind Williams, Clovis' Jake Woods crossed with a 14.11 while Simi Valley's Riley Hunt was clocked at 14.14. Meanwhile, not just a pole vaulter and new to the event, Davis' Sondre Guttormsen advanced behind Hunt with a 14.17. Four of the top six times came from that one heat. In the second heat, behind Ellis, Carson's Andre Butt and Los Gatos' Masaki Wada-Law both clocked at 14.24 while Grant's Julian Reed earned the last spot with a 14.30. Like the 1600 and 300 Hurdles, complete wild cards in selecting who will win.
Boys 300 Hurdles
Like the 110's, this event has become a whirlwind this past month and it only became more indecisive on Friday evening. Where we saw five boys dip under that coveted 37-second threshold in 2017, going into Saturday's final, the seasonal best of anybody else remaining is 37.23. Now the top time in California this season, Upland junior Caleb Roberson rolled to the victory in the third heat. Well ahead, Roberson was obviously motivated from the disappointment of the 110's. Second in that heat, Millikan's Riley Williams timed at 38.34 while Valhalla's Alex Lieu crossed at 38.85. Continuing to win for the 5th week in a row, ML King junior Reyte Rash continues to roll. His 37.68 matched up ahead of Serra's Tyler Mak's 37.79, which is a new seasonal best. Finally, in the second heat, Clovis Jake Woods advanced like he did in the 110's, with a 37.98. Redwood sophomore Brandon Andrade raced home with a 38.27 while Rancho Bernardo's Josh Farmer crossed at 38.60. Snagging that last spot, Cosumnes Oaks' Pierre Scott recorded a 38.98, just ahead of the 39.01 time that did not qualify. This event is completely turned upside down as our pre-meet favorite, Blake Hennesay of Santa Margarita (37.55) pulled up in the 100 meters earlier and could not give it a go. Brayden Borquez (37.56) of Harvard/Westlake also did not finish, so three of the top times in California (and 4 of the top 7) will not line up for tonight's final. Twice in May's postseason, Rash ran down Roberson over the last three hurdles to bring home victories.
Boys 4x100 Relay
With Naythn Scruggs back to full health, the Clovis North squad we saw back in March is ready to roll in June. Their 41.16 seasonal best posted here is evidence to that. But, Murrieta Mesa will go head to head with Great Oak in huge team title implications. With Christian Shakir-Ricks on anchor, Mesa posted a 41.28 in winning their heat while Great Oak captured the first heat in 41.43. Long Beach Poly posted a new seasonal best of 41.47 as did Tulare Union in 41.67. As favorites last year but unable to advance, Rancho Verde does the trick in 2018 with a 41.67 to finish even in that third heat with Tulare Union. Trabuco Hills, with a 41.24 best from last week, still advances with a 41.71 while Rancho Cucamonga continues to move on (w/o their fastest boy) at 41.88. St. Mary's earned that last spot at 41.99, just head of Carson who was at 42.00. St. John Bosco suffered an injury on anchor last week and was not able to advance into tonight's finals. They still own the top time in California (40.94) from two weeks ago.
Boys 4x400 Relay
While the Southern Section has been boasting the top marks in California all season long, it was the Ugly Eagles of Clayton Valley that ran away with the new state leading mark of 3:13.48. With four heats deciding the nine finalists, they were able to run away from Roosevelt at 3:16.59. Perhaps, motivated by the previous heat, Murrieta Mesa crossed with a new school record and #2 time in the state at 3:14.23. Defending state champs in this event, Rancho Verde advances back with a 3:16.39. Coming in with the top time in California, Aliso Niguel captured the first heat in 3:16.85. Valencia improved with a new seasonal best of 3:17.11 while Clovis North proved that they aren't just a 4x10 squad in also advancing with a 3:17.34. Serra out of the Central Coast section surprised some with their 3:15.91 victory while Long Beach Wilson advanced onward with their 3:16.29 performance. Our projected favorites all advanced.
Boys Team Title Outlook:
This is a two-horse race with Murrieta Mesa and Great Oak battling it out. As advertised countless times, both squads are from the Southwestern League in Riverside County and just north of the San Diego County line. Yep, the same league as Vista Murrieta that hoisted the team title trophy in 2015 and 2016. Murrieta Mesa advanced everybody and in the fashion they were expected to. They received some breaks here as well as Great Oak did not advance their pole vaulter and one of their projected scorers in the shot put. Great Oak had nine scoring options, which is now down to seven to counter against Mesa's five. In their only head to head matchup in the meet, the 4x100 relay will prove vital for both squads. Mesa's Christian Shakir-Ricks looked sharp in both sprints, especially in the 200 meters, where he went from the favorite to the heavy favorite. We predict them to win the 4x400 relay if needed to capture the team title. Meanwhile, they really need Matthew Okonkwo to finish in the top three to keep up with Great Oak. For the Wolfpack, CJ Stevenson looms large. He's the favorite to defend his triple jump title while where he finishes in the long jump might dictate where his team finishes. If Harrison Gould can replicate his Friday night performances at prelims in both throws, his squad should take home their first state title. Jaime Navarro now can focus on one event as they can use all the points he can provide. Also in their back pocket, and perhaps the nail in the coffin for Mesa, Carlos Carvajal is in the 3200 meters and finishing in the top six would be a huge boost that may put them out of reach before that final relay.