Sprint Star Kenan Christon Not Satisfied Despite Record Run

Madison's Kenan Christon has run the fastest 100/200 in San Diego Section history. (Frank Bellino photo)

By Steve Brand - California MileSplit

SAN DIEGO, California -- Kenan Christon looks like a football player because, well, he is.

The San Diego Madison High athlete also runs a little track and he will clearly be in the spotlight this weekend in Clovis at the 101st California State Track and Field Championships at Buchanan High.

That's because Christon has the leading mark in two of the most popular events -- the 100- and 200-meter dashes.

Christon has been on a tear ever since the Mt. SAC Relays when he roared to a San Diego Section record 20.90 seconds in the 200.

A week later at the Escondido Invitational, he cruised to a winning time of 10.42 in the 100-meter dash before cranking out a 20.67 in the metric furlong. The conditions: cold but not windy and both marks were wind-legal.

He also competed in the long jump at the City League championships, where he had a previous best of 24-feet and, of course, made shambles of the competition in the 4x100 relay.

On a roll now, Christon might have been excused for running just to qualify in the section prelims. Anyone who thought that doesn't know Christon.

Ask him what he thinks of his performance after running either the 100 or 200 and the answer will most likely be, "OK, but I know I could have done better."

He then will calmly, quietly explain that maybe his start was a bit slow, that maybe one or two false starts made him more cautious than usual or that just maybe if the weather were a bit warmer he might have run even faster.

So, he went out at the section prelims and with the aid of a 2.6 meter-per-second breeze -- certainly nothing like some of the Texas cyclones that have pushed some of their runners to incredible marks -- he stopped the automatic timer in 10.26 seconds.


That is the fastest 100 ever run in San Diego under any conditions. It's only .01 off the state best set by Hawthorne's Henry Thomas in 1985. And, it's faster than the 10.30 section record clocked by San Diego Southwest High's Riley Washington when he won the 1992 state championships. That mark remains the state meet record to this day.

And while the crowd was digesting that, he came back to smoke a 20.55 in the 200, just to show the 100 was no timing error. That was three section-record runs in four weeks. 

In the championships, Christon lowered his legal best in the century to 10.33 before stumbling out of the blocks and still running a 20.65 in the 200. That was after helping the relay team to a season-best 41.88 seconds and winning the long jump at 23-feet.

"I can go faster," were the first four words out his mouth after the 100 in which there was a false start -- not his -- and of course, he explained that trying to stay low in driving out in the 200, he suddenly was too low and almost fell. 

"I had to take wide steps to avoid falling."

Not an excuse. Who needs one for a 20.65? Just a fact.

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>>Watch Kenan Christon crush the 200m at the section final

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He was already looking ahead to this weekend's State Meet after the 200, hoping that just maybe the predicted 80-degree weather, not to mention the fastest runners this side of Texas, might produce even faster times.

"All this hard work will be rewarded. I hear we're going to have good weather," he said, adding with a laugh, "maybe I'll break a sweat."

That's as close to bragging as you'll ever hear from Christon.

Challenge Awaits

Christon seems content letting the results on the clock do the talking. 

Last season, he was the only runner to medal at the State Meet in both the 100 and 200 finals. He was sixth in both.

This year, he has won 10 of 12 races in the 100 and eight of 10 in the 200.

In the 100, he hasn't lost in seven races since placing fourth at Arcadia while running 10.62.

In the 200, he hasn't lost in the seven races since placing seventh at Arcadia in 21.62. That particular streak includes four of his last five races under 21 seconds.

Christian Grubb, a senior at Sherman Oaks Notre Dame in the Southern Section, won that 100 meter race at Arcadia in 10.40. Of the two finishers there between Grubb and Christon, the runner-up is from Oregon and third place is done for the season.

The story is similar in looking back at that 200 meter race at Arcadia. Grubb was third behind two out-of-state sprinters, crossing in 21.07. Zachary Larrier, a senior at Monterey Trail in the Sac-Joaquin Section, was fourth (21.31) and the other two finishers between Larrier and Christon will not be competing in the 200 at the State Meet. Larrier, whose best is 21.30, is not competing in the 200 at the State Meet.

Grubb, the Southern Section Masters champion in both sprints, looms as the biggest challenge to Christon's bid for a sprint double at State.

The Compare Athletes feature on the MileSplit site, breaks down the edge for Grubb in head-to-head meetings with Christon. While Christon defeated Grubb in the 100 and 200 at the Mt. Carmel Invitational in 2018, Grubb won both there in 2019 as well as getting the best of the Madison sprinter in both at Arcadia. 

In the 100, Christon has gone 10.26 windy and 10.33 legal compared to Grubb, whose 10.40 at Arcadia is a PR.

In the 200, Grubb's 20.93 PR at Mt. Carmel is the only sub-21 deuce on his high school resume.

Trojan Horse

Now, about that football player who will be attending USC on scholarship.

Christon was an All-San Diego Section player two years running and, when he had an offensive line as a junior, he rushed for 1,233 yards and scored 16 TDs in 10 games. 

He rushed for more than 3,000 yards in his career and at 5-9, 185-pounds, has never been injured, even this past year when he was the main target in every game yet still managed more than 1,000 yards. Once in the open, certainly no one could catch him.

It's that toughness he learned in football that is a major force behind a runner who suffered some losses early in the season. Instead of moping or giving up to focus on football, he got so much better he has rewritten the San Diego Section record book with just one mark remaining: 10.30.

Since we're talking possible records if the wind cooperates and he runs near-perfect races, Christon just might approach that all-time state best of 10.25 by Thomas and the 20.43 State Meet record set by Long Beach Poly's Bryshon Nellum in 2007.

 And if it happens, bet he says, "I could have run faster."

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>>Watch Kenan Christon crush the 100m at the section final

>>Watch Kenan Christon make up a 10-meter deficit on the anchor leg at the City League Finals

MileSplitCA editor Jeffrey Parenti contributed to this article.