Upland freshman Caelyn Harris long jumped 20-05.25 at the CIF-SS Masters Meet. (Jeffrey Parenti photo)
TORRANCE -- On the surface, the CIF-Southern Section Masters Meet is simply a qualifier for the State Meet.
The top six in all events advance plus any individual or relay team hitting a mostly challenging at-large standard also earn a trip to Clovis and one more weekend of the high school track season.
Where this event, held at El Camino College, is so much more than simply a qualifier, is that the level of competition in the 550-plus school Southern Section is as fierce as there is and all the joy and momentum from the Section Divisional Championships of a week ago can disappear and a season, and often a high school career, can end in a flash.
In addition to the guaranteed six in each event, the Southern Section also will send seven at-large qualifying individuals in the running events and one relay team, and 16 additional qualifiers in the field events, including a whopping six at-large qualifiers in the boys high jump -- taking advantage of the 6-04 standard -- four at-large additions in the boys pole vault -- who soared at or over the 14-09 standard -- and three additional qualifiers in the boys triple jump -- flying beyond the at-large pass list of 46-05.
There were only five events on the track where the section will send more than the automatic limit: Boys 1600 (3), Boys 3200 (1), Girls 400 (2), Girls 1600 (1), Girls 4x100 relay (1). (There was an additional at-large qualifier disqualified for post-race unsportsmanlike conduct.)
Those who will represent the section at Clovis Buchanan High School beginning Friday, are a who's-who of Southern Section elite. There were five marks that immediately moved to the No. 1 spot in the state rankings.