Donovan Nelson (left), Brayden Borquez (center), and Ismail Turner (right) in the 400 at the Division 3 final. Borquez won the race, Turner was second and Nelson placed fifth. (Jeffrey Parenti photo)
One of the top sprinter/hurdler specialists in the Southern Section, Harvard-Westlake's Brayden Borquez was the virtual most valuable athlete at last year's Division 3 finals. He was able to successfully navigate one of the toughest doubles on the track in rolling to the title in the 400 meters (47.76) to come back and be out-leaned at the finish for the runner-up spot for the 300 Hurdles. He went forward to take fifth at the Southern Section Masters Meet and qualify for the State Championships in the hurdles. Meanwhile, he anchored his squad to the title in the 1600 Relay and their runner-up 400 relay squad. Josh Johnson (21.89 best in the 200 meters) returns for Harvard-Westlake as one of the division's short sprint specialists as well.
Notre Dame's Christian Grubb is the top returner for the 100 meters (10.78) and the second fastest in the 200 (21.66). Grubb placed fourth and sixth respectively in both events at last year's Division 3 finals. He'll come up later as he is a premier triple jumper as well. St. John Bosco's Colby Bowman is the defending 200 meter champion (21.47 best) and also amongst the best in the division for the 100 meters. He was a valuable cog in the St. John Bosco machine a year ago that also captured the title in the 400 Relay. Fellow Brave, Trent McDuffie will be right there with Bowman. Meanwhile, the Trinity League continues to heat up as Orange Lutheran's Kyle McCray returns as one of the top returners in the 100 meters. Sultana's Robert Thompson is also projected to qualify for the finals in both short sprints this upcoming 2019 season.
Ismail Turner burst onto the scene from Hemet West Valley in the 400 (47.97), claiming the runner-up medal to Borquez. Turner would continue to elevate his game in the postseason and qualified to the State Meet Finals. Joining the group, Western's Cain Savage and his 48.98 personal best move into Division 3 from Division 2. He was runner-up at the Division 2 finals a year ago in the 400 meters. Also a top contender, La Sierra's Donovan Nelson placed fifth (49.59 best) at the Division 3 finals as a sophomore last year.
Moving over to the hurdles, the aforementioned Borquez is the heavy favorite to capture the 300 hurdles. But, perhaps, looking to compete for the upset, Cathedral's Anthony Taylor returns as one of the best in the section and one of the best sophomores in the United States. Taylor excelled over the summer season in the 400 Hurdles but his true prowess is in the 110 High Hurdles. He rolled to a 14.38 in April of last year (39.49 best in the 300 hurdles) but was sidelined for the 2018 postseason unfortunately. In his place, St. Francis's Matthew Molina shined for the victory (14.73 into a -1.1 wind). Molina qualified for the Southern Section Masters Meet and returns as one of the more versatile athletes in the section.
Servite boasts a pair of top returners as Kyle Kimble rolled to a third place finish in the 110's and came back to cross in fifth place in the 300 Hurdles (39.77 best). Fellow Friar, Nathan Lacson took fourth place and returns as the second fastest in the division (39.00) in the longer hurdles.