The headliner is Cristian Moore of Oaks Christian. Hampered by hamstring issues all of 2018, Moore was not able to compete in the postseason, despite recording 10.56w and 21.90 marks. Moore erupted onto the scene as a sophomore and was the biggest surprise of the postseason with his second place medal in the 200 meters (21.12w) while also rolling to a fifth-place finish in the 100 meters (10.47w). Moore's credentials place him as one of the favorites to be the best in the Southern Section. Transferring from nearby Inglewood, Mekhi Mays was a CIF Finalist in Division 3 in the 100 and 200 meters in 2018. Fourth and fifth in the 200 and 100 meters, respectively, he owns wind-legal bests of 10.95 and 22.11. Maranatha's Justin Fong placed fourth at last year's 100 and 200-meter finals. In the 200, he finished right with twin brother with Brendan getting the nod for third place (both at 22.35). Ontario Christian's Nolan Crespo was also a finalist in both events a year ago.
Oaks Christian's Zach Charbonnet (49.65) and Maranatha's Brendan Fong (49.72) are the fastest returning 400-meter runners with Fong placing fourth at last year's CIF-SS Finals. Keep in mind, 2018 champion in the 200 and 400 meters, Solomon Strader transferred over to West Ranch and will compete in Division 1 this season.
In the hurdles, Jack Johnson of Crean Lutheran was the divisional runner-up in 2018 (15.29 best) for the 110 Hurdles. He came back to take third place in the longer hurdles and comes in with a best of 40.45. Paraclete's Sacaiah Shaw was third at last year's finals (15.79). Meanwhile, boosting the stock of Oaks Christian even more, Semaj Freeman took fifth place at last year's finals for the 300 Hurdles with a best of 41.20 as a freshman. Freeman also excelled in the 100 meters while also serving as a leg on their runner-up 400 relay squad.
Henry Pick of Foothill Tech returns as the top prospect when reviewing the three distance events. He is 22 seconds faster than the next returner for the 3200 meters (9:23.47) while also boasting 4:23.70 credentials for the 1600 meters. He was the divisional runner-up in the 3200. Thacher's Ford Shaper (4:19.96 best) is the top returner for 1600 while he was fourth in the event a year ago. Also watch for Crean Lutheran's Garrett Miller who was fifth in 1600 (4:24.27) and sixth in the 3200 meters (9:45.11) at last year's finals. After earning the Division V title this past Cross Country season, we're anticipating sophomore Jackson Adelman and the talent he will bring to the oval.
For the 800 meters, not much separates the top returners. Flintridge Prep's Sebastian Evans comes in with a 1:57.93 best while St. Margaret's Christopher Chan owns a 1:58.31 best. Kade Lewis of Village Christian is the top returner from last year's finals (sixth place in 2:00.08).
In not highlighting last year's top returners for the 1600 meters, Thacher's Colin Kirkpatrick eligibility is up (moved from New Zealand) while Joseph Dominguez now competes in the Central Section as St. Joseph's (Santa Maria) opted to move sections. Sixth place a year ago, Hunter Romine has transferred to West Ranch and will compete in Division 1 this season.
The top six finishers in the long jump a year ago all graduated. The top returner is Webb's Nicholas Johnson, who placed seventh a year ago. Serra's Jacory Jones popped off a 22-4.5 at last year's Mt. SAC Relays but was unable to qualify past prelims in the postseason. Meanwhile, Oaks Christian gets another boost Ezekiel Bishop flirted with that 22-foot threshold last year.
In the triple jump, Webb's Johnson was the runner-up a year ago with a 45-10.5 effort. Meanwhile, Linfield Christian's Brandon Mehegan placed sixth (best of 44-10) while also qualifying to the finals in the Long Jump. Crespi's Jonathan DeSilva measured out beyond 44 feet a year ago but was unable to qualify past the divisional prelims. Oaks Christian's Bishop looks to provide more points in this event and help push his squad to another team title.
In the high jump, defending champion, Joseph Ruddell of Morro Bay, has moved up to the Central Section. That leaves Boron junior Kelton Chenworth as the favorite. He was third in the division last year, clearing 6-4 in the process. Oxford Academy's David Yi also comes in with a personal best of 6-4 (eighth place a year ago). Meanwhile, five others return with 6-2 bests from the 2018 season.
Junior Liam Wulff of Foothill Technology returns as the division's top pole vaulter. His 12-6 clearance a year ago placed him fourth the Division 4 finals. St. Margaret's junior Nathan Soto was fifth a year ago with a 12-0 clearance. Teammate and fellow junior, Alec Ohanesian was also a finalist a year ago and comes into the 2019 season with an 11-6 best. Morro Bay boasted a trio of sophomores that all qualified to the finals a year ago but they move their talent up to the Central Section in 2019.
As has become evident on who the team title favorite is for 2019, Oaks Christian seeks more points over in the throws. They start with Luciano Barretto, who returns with a 51-5.75 personal best in the shot put. He earned the runner-up spot a year ago. Adam Mapuatuli of 29 Palms placed fifth a year ago (47-11) while Paraclete junior Alan Rennie was sixth (48-7 best in 2018). Crespi's Chris Lovell boasts a 48-11.5 best was unable to advance out of the tough Mission League in 2018.
In the discus, Isaiah Calvin of Vasquez is a heavy favorite as he comes into the season with a 156-1 personal best. He was fourth a year ago and as impressive was that he also qualified for the Division 4 finals in the long jump. St. Bonaventure's Mason Kleinheksel was also a finalist a year ago and left 2018 with a best of 144-0. Crespi's Lovell will also be a factor but like in Shot Put, he may need to meet the qualifying at-large standard to advance beyond the Mission League's talent.