The Central Section was represented at the CIF-State Track & Field Championship finals by 18 boys in 21 events plus a relay, and 11 girls in 15 events. The CS, the home section for the State Championships at Buchanan High in Clovis, celebrated two boys event winners and one girls champion. Overall, the section brought home 17 individual medals plus one in the relay.
Senior Kazmier Allen (Tulare), a football star headed to UCLA, stunned the field in the 100m, by knocking off CA leader Asani Hampton (Yucaipa) with a strong lean at the tape, a winning time of 10.44 (0.7). It wasn't as if Allen came out of nowhere. He won the CS title in 10:32 (3.4), a .16-second drop from his previous PR of 10:48, clocked in placing 6th at the State final as a junior. (Allen is No. 6, Hampton is No. 5 in Pat Rhames photo)
Junior Daniel Viveros (Liberty), one of the top dual throwers in the US throughout the season, was most impressive late in the shot put where he won the State title with a best of 62-05.50. That throw came two weeks after he won the CS title with a PR throw of 63-10.25, the best in CA this spring and US #14. He is a two-time State Meet qualifier in both throws. (Louis Amestoy photo at the top)
The girls champion also came from the throws, where junior Jocelynn Budwig (Fowler) won the shot put title with a best of 46-11. She was third in the discus throw after unleashing what was then the No. 15 throw in CA history, 174-02 for the top mark in prelims. But she wasn't able to duplicate that 174 magic a second day, maxing out at the final at 161-00.
Here's a look a some of the other Central Section medalists and top athletes among the boys:
- Senior Moises Medrano (Highland) dropped the 800 to focus on the 1600 and earned a 6th place medal (4:13.65) despite falling toward the end of the race. Medrano had twice won the CS title in the 800 and placed 3rd at State as a junior. In the 1600, he ran a 4:13.45 PR prelims and followed that up the next night with the second-fastest time of his life in the final. This after running a 1600 PR of 4:14.09 on May 19 as part of his 8-16 double gold at the CS finals.
- Senior Jake Woods (Clovis) medaled in both hurdles, placing 4th in the 300 hurdles (37.57) and 5th in the 110 hurdles (14.22, after running a 14.11 PR in prelims). He is a two-time CS champion and State Meet qualifier in the 300 hurdles (37.56 PR at this year's CS final) who was second in the 110s to Caleb Foster at the CS final. (In blue shorts in Louis Amestoy photo above)
- Naythn Scruggs hands to Caleb Foster during the 4x100 relay final at State. (Louis Amestoy photo)
- With the return of junior Naythn Scruggs to the lineup, the 4x100 relay team at Clovis North was again at full strength for the first time since a hamstring injury at Arcadia put Scruggs out of action, running the second-fastest time 41.14 in the final.
- Two pieces of that relay, Caleb Foster and Christian Wood, also earned individual medals in the long jump. Foster, a sophomore, placed 4th (23-07.00), and Wood, a senior, got 6th (23-01.75).
- Senior Seth Krauss (Liberty) placed 5th in the high jump (6-6). He won his first CS title (6-8) that qualified him for his second consecutive State Meet. Early in the spring he had a 6-11 PR to win the Kern Invitational.
- The CS excelled in the throws beyond Viveros with senior Jared Whitt (Clovis North) placing 3rd (48-07) and sophomore Kosi Agina (Sanger) placing 6th in the shot put, and sophomore Kyler Van Grouw (Central) getting 5th in the discus throw (181-00).
Among the section's top girls:
- Senior Aaliyah Wilson (Stockdale) took home two individual medals for placing 3rd in the 100 hurdles (13.73/1.3) and 4th in the 100m dash (11.71/1.2). (No. 5 in Pat Rhames photo above)
- Freshman Faith Bender (Liberty) was 5th in the discus throw (158-08) and was also a finalist in the shot put.
- Senior Chinenye Agina (Sanger) was the other girls medalist, placing 5th in the high jump (5-8).