Track and field is starting up around the state, so it's time for us to shine the spotlight on some of the top athletes in each section. Today we're focusing on the movers and shakers among the Sac Joaquin Section boys, where some of California's top talent resides. Check out the brief profiles on each of these athletes to watch below!
Given the limited data from last year and this year, it's almost certain that we will overlook someone (or include someone who isn't competing this spring). Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com with any updates you think are warranted.
Sprints & Hurdles
Oliver fell just short of making the state meet in 2019, finishing 4th in the 100 and 5th in the 200 at the SJS Masters Meet. Her PR's of 11.90 and 24.47, coupled with an early 12.06 this year, make her the favorite in those races (especially with Columba Effong moving to Florida to train at IMG Academy). Don't sleep on Aspin, either, after she clocked low 43's for the 300 Hurdles this spring - and both Olivers ran in the 58's for the 400 as sophomores, should they choose to add that race to their repertoire in 2021.
A solid 100 runner who certainly has the talent to compete in that event, Poston really shines in the 200. Her PR of 24.34 is impressive, and she should be motivated by narrowly missing out on a state meet berth in 2019. Given her enormous progress from 9th to 10th grade, it's not out of the realm of possibility to see her looking for a sub-24 this spring if she has been training hard during the extended off-season.
The 2019 SJS Masters champion in the 100 Hurdles, clocking 14.26, Johnson ended up with a 5th-place finish in the state finals. That makes her one of the best returners in California, although we haven't seen a spring performance from her yet to gauge her fitness. The UC-Irvine signee did post a 19' 2" PR in the long jump indoors in March, though, which is a good sign!
If anyone can beat Reyna Johnson in the 100 Hurdles, it's Davis: she also made the 2019 state meet and finished 7th there, and her wind-legal PR of 14.24 is slightly better than her chief rival's. Davis has much less experience, though - the 2019 season was her only competition on the track. On the other hand, she showed some potential in the 300 Hurdles that year, which would add an intriguing second event to watch her in.
Miana ran 56.25 for the 400 in 2019, making it to the state meet as the SJS runner-up. She only raced once in 2020 and hasn't hit the track yet this spring, but if she does compete we will be looking to see if she can crack the 55's.
Chamberlain has already posted times of 10:27 and 4:52 (full mile) this year, and she was able to record a PR of 4:44.8 for the 1600 in the abbreviated 2020 season. She has two CIF cross country championships under her belt along with a 4th-place finish in the 3200 in 2019, and she will certainly be among the contenders for the throne in both races this spring.
As if her previous times didn't already put her on the radar screen, Joaquin's new PR of 10:44.76 in the 3200 certainly should. She has a best of 4:54.79 in the 1600, but given her improvement in the longer race it's not unreasonable to expect a sub-4:50 attempt from her this spring.
After breaking through with a pair of 2:14's in the 2019 SJS Masters 800, resulting in a trip to the state meet as a sophomore, we haven't seen a lot from Gay - and she hasn't raced at all this year, either in cross country or on the track. Will she compete? If so, we're looking forward to her challenging the 2:10 mark. She was ahead of her 10th-grade pace when the 2020 season ended, and if she has made progress since then she could be among California's best in this event.
Heckey (headed to Cal Poly next year) has the better track resume, with a PR of 4:55. McNatt, however, has better cross country times and just posted an 11:01 in her first-ever track race. It's not hard to see the pair pushing each other to success this spring, and McNatt has 2 more seasons to continue her development.
The UC Davis signee did not run cross country this year and has not raced on the track yet, so it is entirely possible that she has decided to train through this spring. If she does race, she will try to build on her 3200 PR of 10:39 that she posted while finishing 11th at the 2019 state meet.
Klos was the 2019 cross country state champion in the division, but she did not race this school year and has only ever raced once on the track during high school. On the other hand, that once was a 4:54 1600! If she competes this spring, expect her to post big 1600 and 3200 times.
She is a bit of a sleeper candidate in the 3200, having run her PR of 10:59 two years ago as a freshman. She had a rough 2019 cross country season and did not run a track race in 2020, but she seemed to be back on track with strong cross country times this school year. She could be off the radar screen of some, but I think she has sub-10:40 potential if her training has been going well.
Johnson gets my vote for best all-around athlete in the SJS this season! The UCLA-bound senior broke out as a sophomore with jumps of 19' 6.75" and 39' 1.75", not to mention a 14.59 in the 100 Hurdles. Last spring she added a 5' 5" high jump, which she has duplicated already this season. I can't wait to see what she chooses to focus on and how good she can get!
Chilcutt is the section favorite in the high jump, both for her impressive PR of 5' 8" and for her consistency. She cleared 5' 4" early in 2020 and has done so again this spring, and in 2019 she accomplished that 9 times. She made the state meet that season after finishing 2nd in the SJS Masters Meet, and that experience should also serve her very well in her final spring of high school competition.
Mellion burst onto the scene with a 43' 2.25" shot put in her first high school meet last spring, a huge mark for anyone let alone a freshman. She also threw the discus 140 feet, and that makes her a potential section champ in both events. Mellion had extensive AAU experience before high school, and that speaks to her potential to continue progressing during canceled high school seasons. I can't wait to see what she can accomplish this year and over the next two!
After throwing the discus 135 feet as a sophomore, Espinoza had big goals for 2020 - and she opened last spring with a 141-footer and also a 40-foot PR in the shot put. Denied the opportunity to compete for the section title and get into the mix at the state meet then, she should be back with a vengeance this spring if she chooses to compete.
Harper is my sleeper in the field events - she was incredibly consistent during her 9th- and 10th-grade seasons, but could never break through the 140-foot and 40-foot marks. She did go to the state meet in 2019 for the discus, and if she has been training through the brutally long off-season she could be ready to compete in what is shaping up to be a loaded section for the throws.
Sahaida made the best of the mess that 2020 provided, posting a PR of 11' 3.75" in the pole vault in November. That makes her the top returner in the event within the SJS, and following the graduation of a stellar group of vaulters in 2020 she is the leading candidate to step up and claim the top spot in the rankings.