Buchanan's girls 4x100 relay team posted the fastest qualifying time 46.92 at the State Meet Prelims.
In the same training center (and stadium) the Bears of Buchanan bless every day, they had reason to smile after Friday night's State Championship Prelims. They came into the meet as slight favorites but return with some additional potential arsenal to utilize in their quest on Saturday night!
Their 4x100 squad ran away with the fastest time of the prelims (46.92). After Meagen Lowe looked sharp in qualifying in the 1600 meters (4:51.34), much improved Shelby Daniele took over the spotlight from there. After advancing as the sixth seed (11.85) in the 100 meters, she stepped up to another level with her scorching 24.01 personal best to kick off the action in Heat 1 of the 200 meters. In the midst of that action, Buchanan was also pleased to see how easily Hailey Abirached advanced in the triple jump. Her wind-legal 39-07.50 added eight inches to her personal best. Meanwhile, also inside the oval, Haley Barham elevated up over a new personal best of 12-04 to qualify (although coming in seeded 24th) along with shot putter Maren Butler.
If you were to take the places where they are seeded after Friday's prelims, Buchanan would have scored 32 points going into the 3200 where they will have state leader Lowe (10:12.78) and standout junior Corie Smith (10:22.63 seasonal best). We anticipate those two scoring, at the very least, 10 points.
Calabasas did advance everybody they hoped for with De'Anna Nowling advancing in the 100 and 200 meters. Jade McDonald executed a relatively busy day with precision in qualifying in the 100 hurdles, along with both horizontal jumps. They also received a welcome surprise with Tierra Crockrell advancing in the shot put. We still anticipate them collecting between 32-34 points.
Bakersfield Liberty is looming in the shadows with a core of sophomores looking to make noise. Reese Renz is poised to score in both hurdles as is 2021 thrower Faith Bender in shot put and discus. Additionally, Liberty has the No. 6 qualifier in the discus (Bella Rigby) and the No. 7 qualified 4x400 relay team, which includes Renz. All of that may not be enough to challenge the likes of Buchanan and Long Beach Poly but it is a sign for the future.
Expect the girls 3200 to decide the girls state champion on Saturday night!
Long Beach Poly advanced both of its relays and is projected to score 16-18 points between the two. Saundria Martin advanced in the 100 and 200 and should provide another 10-12 points to place within reach of that 30 point threshold.
On the boys' side, Clovis North executed the plan needed to capture the state team title, while also receiving some unfortunate help along the way.
First, the man that can easily be the Athlete of the Meet tomorrow night is junior Caleb Foster. Foster won his heat of the 110 hurdles (wind-legal 13.67), demolishing his previous best of 13.96! Folks, this means that the top THREE high hurdlers in the United States will be on this stage Saturday night, as Foster moved from 18th in the nation to third! By the way, he also checked in for the jumps and easily advanced as the top seed in the long jump (23-10) and second seed for the triple (47-7.25). Foster achieved both off of one jump only. This was after helping his squad advance with the top time (41.15) in the 400 relay, despite a rough second exchange.
Also on that relay, Naythn Scruggs advanced to the 100 meter final in 10.65, whereas a 10.66 did not advance. Although Isaiah Galindo did not advance in the1600 meters (despite a three-second PR), he will be more rested for the 3200, where he has clocked a 9:03.82 this season. Clovis North clocked in and clocked out with everybody right where they wanted them -- projected to score 32-34 points tomorrow night and ready to roll.
The Broncos' greatest challenger to that title, the men of Long Beach Poly, had an injury pop up at the worse time of the season. Beforehand we had the two squads dead even coming into the weekend. As he entered into the straightway, DeAngelo Chester (one of the top seeds in the 200 meters) suffered a hamstring pull that will place him on the sidelines the rest of the weekend. Liam Anderson qualified as the fifth seed in the 110 hurdles but just missed in the 300's. Both relay squads captured their heats, but the top-ranked 4x100 squad in California will have to replace Chester. Not to overlook by any means, this also places additional pressure on senior Kenyon Reed to finish in the top three for both the 100 and 200 meters. Also looking for a huge step-up performance will be Everett Steward, who advanced as the fourth seed in the 400 meters and runs anchor on the 4x400.
William Frankenfeld may be a HUGE factor in the 3200 meters tomorrow evening. Despite losing Chester, Poly is not out of it whatsoever, and we still project the Jackrabbits to score between 27-29 points. But, that road became much tougher. Remember, Poly's girls were considered underdogs back in 2017.... but walked away with the team title -- Anything can happen!
Upland also suffered major setbacks as Caleb Roberson did not advance in the 100 meters and the 4x400 relay team was disqualified for running out of the lane. Roberson also received a reminder in the 300 hurdles that St. Mary's junior Jamar Marshall is not strictly a 110 hurdler. Marshall, a junior, beat Roberson in their heat, running the meet's fastest qualifying time. Upland is now reduced to Roberson in the 300s and junior Namir Hemphill in two events -- the top seed in the triple jump and the No. 4 seed in the 300 hurdles. Hemphill having to compete in the triple jump during the 300 hurdles does pose a tough challenge in expecting him to earn 12 points between the two events.
A new sun rises in the morning and all of Friday's accomplishments vanish. ... Stay tuned as we'll let you know how it all plays out late Saturday night!
Photos by Jeffrey Parenti.