Southern Section's Best Earn Their Ticket to State


The winning 4x100 relay team was among state qualifiers from Long Beach Poly. (Jeffrey Parenti photo)

Sherman Oaks Notre Dame senior Christian Grubb won both the 100 meters (10.58/0.4) and 200 meters (21.24/-0.2). 

West Ranch junior Solomon Strader (47.04) and Hemet West Valley senior Ismail Turner (47.49) went 1-2 in the 400. 

Valencia senior Kai Wingo, the state's most consistent 800 competitor dating back to the CA Winter Champions in mid-February, used a late kick in an otherwise slow race to hold off Long Beach Wilson senior Armando Bryson and Loyola senior Mason Ratkovich. Wingo won in 1:54.87, which was slower than the at-large qualifying standard of 1:54.54.

JSerra senior Peter Herold needed every bit of his 4:11.38 to hold off Arroyo's Noah Hibbard (4:11.99) and JSerra junior Anthony Grover (4:12.59) in the 1600. Herold also qualified third in the 3200 (9:02.29) behind Newbury Park junior Nico Young's 8:56.46. Young, who went a U.S.-best 8:40.00 to win at Arcadia in early April, won the CIF-SS Division 1 title last week at 8:54.89. He is one of only three in the state to run sub-9 this season. 

Canyon Country Canyon senior Ethan Danforth was second in the 3200 (9:02.28) and among the qualifiers is Young's classmate at Newbury Park, Jace Aschbrenner, whose 9:05.55 clocking for seventh place was under the 9:07.48 at-large standard for the state meet. While Aschbrenner celebrated just dipping under the standard, another junior, Michael Mireles of Thousand Oaks, just missed the mark, crossing eighth in 9:07.77.

Out of divisionals, JSerra's Grover had qualified in the 800, 1600 and 3200. He dropped the 3200 and was 10th in the 800. 

Riverside King senior Reyte Rash, battling a right quad injury, dropped the 110 hurdles to focus on the 300s, which he won in 37.89. Rash was second at the State Meet last year in the 300s to Upland's Caleb Lutalo Roberson, who qualified fifth (38.64). Bound for Wyoming for football, Roberson also advanced in the 100(third in 10.78) and as the leadoff runner on the 4x400 relay, which qualified second in 3:13.97 behind winner Long Beach Wilson, which posted a state-leading 3:13.86. 

Ventura senior Derek Pekar was fourth in the 110 hurdles (14.57) won by Peninsula's Aiden Lieb (14.48) and also qualified in the long jump (fifth at 22-08.75) and pole vault (tied for fifth at the 14-09 qualifying standard). 

Among boys top qualifying marks, Elsinore senior Kamari Maddox won the long jump with a best of 23-05.25 (0.2); Anaheim Esperanza junior Jeff Duensing, runner-up at State last year, won the shot put (64-11.00) and also will make his return trip in the discus, where he was fifth (170-04) in an event won by Newport Harbor junior Aidan Elbettar (189-10) who was only six inches better than Newbury Park senior Gino Cruz (189-04). 

Also, Etiwanda senior Trevor Harris took top honors in a talented triple jump field at 47-09.50 (-0.7) with Upland junior Namir Hemphill second at 47-04.00 (2.6) and State Meet veterans Deondre Ruth of Menifee Heritage (46-09.00/-1.3) and South Pasadena junior Tianhao Wei (46-04.50/1.7) among the six qualifiers. Of note not advancing in the triple is the sprint champion Christian Grubb, who was eighth (44-10.00/2.0) and fell short of the at-large standard of 46-05.

The TrackRabbit boys of Long Beach Poly pushed through senior Kenyon Reed in the 100 (sixth 10.89) and 200 (fourth in 21.70), senior DeAngelo Chester in the 200 (third in 21.55), junior Everett Steward in the 400 (fourth in 47.95), senior William Frankenfeld in the 3200 (fifth in 9:03.94), senior Liam Anderson in the 110 hurdles (sixth in 14.67) and in the 300 hurdles (fourth in 38.60), as well as the 4x100 relay (first in 41.13) and 4x400 relay (fourth in 3:15.07).