BOYS TRACK CO-PERFORMANCES OF THE YEAR
Kenan Christon (left) and Nico Young each put up jaw-dropping performances in 2019. (Credit: DeAnna Turner)
Next in a series featuring individual performances during the 2019 track and field season, this article looks at the Boys Track Performance of the Year.
In reviewing the numerous top performances we witnessed this past 2019 track and field season, identifying just one lone performance on the track was not as clear cut as in the field events. With that, San Diego Madison senior Kenan Christon and Newbury Park junior Nico Young each burst out with two of the top performances we've seen in years. There was simply no way we could dismiss their best as 'second-best.'
Now, a caveat here -- we restricted the top performances to 'in-season' efforts, concluding the regular season with the California State Championships in Clovis. We explain why is this important as you read on.
Madison's Kenan Christon's State Meet Performance
Christon burst onto the San Diego Section scene with his strong performances as a freshman that yielded him runner-spots in the 100 and 200 meters in the SDS Division 2 finals. As a sophomore, injury shortened his season and he was unable to compete at the sectional finals. But, in 2018, he stepped onto the statewide scene, earning medals in both short sprint events at the State Championships.
But, as a senior, after signing with the University of Southern California to play football as one of the top running backs on the West Coast, Christon laid off the reigns and let it loose. His performance in capturing state titles in both events warranted this honor as he tied the State Meet record of 10.30, also held by Southwest's Riley Washington from 1992. The 10.30 ties Christon with several others for the fifth fastest wind-legal time in California high school history.
That alone may have bumped him from our top honors but for Christon to come back to also earn the State title in the 200 meters elevated his collective performance a this meet atop the single-performance list of the 2019 season in California. He became only the third boy in San Diego Section history to accomplish this feat with the last one coming back in 1977 (David Russell, Patrick Henry).
Nico Young's 3200-meter victory at the Arcadia Invitational
Young had established himself as one of the top distance studs in the nation from early season 'unattached' efforts against college runners in February with his 8:13.31 effort in the 3000 meters.
But, going against one of the nation's strongest fields at the Arcadia Invitational, Young stepped into California high school lore with one of the most memorable races in state history. In more another's shadow with every stride in the race, Young held off Cole Sprout of Valor Christian (Colorado), crossing in 8:40.00 with Sprout next in 8:40.73!
This became the third fastest 3200 meters in California history and eighth on the all-time in United States prep history.
These two juniors (yep, they are back next year!) were familiar with one another with Sprout outlasting Young for third place at the Nike Cross Nationals back in December.
Young later recorded one of the best efforts in State Meet history in claiming the 3200 title in 8:47.27, confidently moving away from two of the nation's best in Jesuit's Matt Strangio (the 2018 champion) and Redwood's Liam Anderson (the 2019 Nike Cross National Champion)!
In 2020, Young will attempt to be only the second boy in 35 seasons to repeat in the event and the first since 2006.
Top Performance in all of 2019?
If we had included all 2019 performances up until this publication, Jamar Marshall of St. Mary's would warrant the top performance! Two weeks ago, the junior used a third-place finish against a collegiate field to set a new California State Record in the 110 high hurdles at the USATF U-20, running in 13.22! Not only did it break Joseph Anderson's 13.33 record from the 2017 State Meet, but this was also the second fastest wind-legal mark EVER in United States history, only second to Wayne Davis, whose 2009 mark now stands as Marshall's next goal.
Pushing down California's best mark ever from 13.33 to 13.22 is a considerable, head-turning adjustment! His wind-aided 13.31 in his victory was the fastest ever recorded under all-conditions at the California State Meet as well.
Also Receiving Consideration
Roberson, a 2019 graduate of Upland (SS), defended his State Meet title in the 300 hurdles running 36.32, the second-best mark in the United States in 2019. This is the 12th best time in California prep history. Roberson became the first boy to repeat in the event since David Klech (San Ramon/NC) in 2006 and only the second over the past 24 seasons.
Strangio, a junior at Sacramento Jesuit (SJ), doubled at the State Meet, capturing the 1600 meters (4:08.07) and placing third in the 3200 meters (8:57.29). His 8:47.27 effort at the Dublin Distance Fiesta, which also warranted consideration among the top performances in 2019, ended as the No. 3 time in the U.S. behind the two times posted at Arcadia mentioned above.
Anderson, a 2019 graduate of Larkspur Redwood (NC), doubled at the State Meet, placing third in the 1600 meters (4:10.26) and coming back to place second to Nico Young in the 3200 meters (8:53.28). Anderson is one of the few to ever break 4:11 and 8:55 at the same State Meet as the two combined together for one of the top performances of 2019.
Rash, a 2019 graduate of Riverside King (SS) who placed second in the 300m hurdles to Caleb Roberson in back-to-back years, is one of the top long hurdlers in the U.S. His 36.41 runner-up performance at the California State Meet ended as the fourth-best mark in the United States and the No. 16 time in CA history.
Inserted photos by Reily Anderson (Marshall) and Pat Rhames (Christon and Young)