State Meet Preview: Sprints, Hurdles, Relays

Caleb Foster (left) with Naythn Scruggs is a title contender in the hurdles and jumps. (DeAnna Turner photo)


The 101st CIF-State T&F Championships is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, May 24-25 at Veterans Memorial Stadium on the Buchanan High School campus in Clovis. Prelims in all events except the 3200 run will be held Friday. All finals, including the 3200, will be held Saturday. 

Friday, gates are scheduled to open at 2 p.m., field qualifying is set to start at 3 p.m., with the first gun of track qualifying scheduled for 5 p.m.
Saturday, gates open at 3:30 p.m. with field event finals getting underway at 4:30 p.m. and the first track event final at 6 p.m. 

Last year, two amazing sprinters led their teams to the overall titles. Senior Christian Shakir-Ricks won the 200, medaled in the 100 and 4x100 relay, and anchored the winning 4x400 relay that clinched the team title for Murrieta Mesa (SS). Incidentally, the Rams were the No. 3 team out of the Southwestern League but had an individual weapon without compare and Ricks' 45.6 anchor leg in the 4x4 lifted Mesa over league rival Great Oak for the title.
On the girls side, junior Jazmyne Frost anchored the winning 4x100 relay team and medaled in the 100, 200 and 4x400 relay to help lift Gardena Serra (SS) over Oak Ridge (SJ). That Oak Ridge team nearly won the title solely on the strength of twin sisters Maddy and Elena Denner, who went 1-4 in the 1600 and 2-1 in the 3200. 

It was a meet that saw Bishop O'Dowd (NC) senior Tierra Robinson-Jones pull off a rare 200-400 double, a tie in the high jump between the defending champion and a new-to-the-sport sophomore, two sophomore boys win titles, three freshman girls medal in the 1600, and wonderful storylines at every turn. We welcome you to go back and check out any or all of the 24 articles attached to the meet page from the 100th CIF-State Championships. 

But we're on to 2019 where the post-season walkup is already full of storylines. The biggest of which was the stunning disqualification of the Calabasas girls hurdlers and relay teams after a participation violation was flagged at the two-day Marmonte League meet. 

Disqualified from further participation was the state-leading 4x100 relay team, two of the nation's top hurdlers in senior Kyla Robinson-Hubbard and sophomore Bella Witt, as well as the team's 4x400 relay team. What was once considered a runaway favorite to win the girls team title, has been reduced to senior sprinter DeAnna Nowling, senior Tierra Crockrell in the shot put, and sophomore hurdler/jumper Jade McDonald

Nowling, one of 10 returning State Meet champions from 2018, is the defending champion in the 100 meters and among the medal favorites in the 200. McDonald is a top-seven qualifier in the long jump (3rd), triple jump (4th) and 100 hurdles (7th). Crockrell qualified 17th in the shot, but if she can earn a ticket to Saturday's finals and pick up a point or two, it would be huge for the Coyotes. Otherwise, it's two-gal show . How well Nowling and McDonald can keep Calabasas in the hunt for the team title is among the many storylines heading into Clovis this weekend. 

Among the 10 returning champions, there are few easy roads to repeat. The biggest favorite is probably Daniel Viveros of Bakersfield Liberty in the shot put. His 71-03 personal record leads the U.S., ranks No. 4 all-time in CA, and is among the best in high school history. He's had five meets this season where his winning throw is farther than that of CA No. 2 Jeff Duensing, the junior from Anaheim Esperanza, who was also second here last year. 

This is the first of three event-specific preview articles leading to this year's championship meet. Links to the others will be added once they are posted. 

On the following pages, you will find an event-by-event look at the top contenders in the sprints, hurdles and relays for boys and girls.