Bryce Gilmore ran 4:14.67 to win the mile at the Sundown Track Series Meet #2 at Eastmark High in Mesa, Arizona at the end of February. (Harold Smith photo)
In 2019, the San Diego Section had the State Meet of a lifetime.
Seven gold medals, two more than the previous all-time best, with a record-tying performance by Madison's Kenan Christon winning the 100-meter dash in 10.30 seconds, leading the way.
Medalists appeared in virtually every event and the number of returnees, including two of the gold medalists, led many to believe that 2020 might even be an even more impressive two days.
Alas, it wasn't meant to be as COVID-19 shut down things before they could get going.
Now that the 2021 season has already started with scattered dual meets, it's time to take a look at the top individuals, both veterans of 2019 and newcomers, who figure to make an impact, especially if invitationals, sectionals, and the State Meet are contested.
Here's a look at Top Boys To Watch In the San Diego Section
Sebastian Barclay - Torrey Pines (Distance)
A quality cross country season has the Falcons senior looking to drop a lot of time. Barclay ran a 4:26.14 mile, winning his heat, at a Sundown Track Series race in Arizona, and posted a 16:07 for 3.1 miles in cross country.
Garrett Brown - La Costa Canyon (Pole Vault)
Brown took full advantage of the summer meets in Menifee to set the San Diego Section record at 16-10.75. On a heavier pole, the Stanford-bound Brown fully expects to be over 17-feet right away. Much more confident and steady now.
Arran Fahey - Vista (Pole Vault)
Actually, Fahey came out of nowhere to, like Brown, take advantage of the Vaulter Magazine summer series to jump into the state spotlight with a clearance at 15-3. He has already cleared 14-6 outdoors this month.
Bryce Gilmore - Sage Creek (Distance)
Just a junior, Gilmore turned heads when he scorched a 4:14.67 to win the mile at a Sundown Track Series race in Arizona. In that race, he came from off the pace and outkicked a quality field. Gilmore ran 4:22.53 for 1,600 meters as a freshman.
Tyler Holl - La Costa Canyon (Hurdles)
One of the state's more versatile hurdlers with bests of 15.13 and 40.07 in 2019. The senior will have plenty of competition in the 110-meter hurdles.
Aiden Lippert - La Costa Canyon (Sprints)
Headed to Stanford, Lippert will be focusing only on track after deciding to not play football in the shortened season. Versatile speedster (21.70 for 200) with surprising staying power (48.31 for 400). Rare returning two-event state qualifier.
Jyden Schmid - Mira Mesa (Distance)
Struggled a bit in cross country this winter but his 9:27.74 in 2019 for 3,200 meters makes him someone to watch. Clearly a superior runner on the track. Point Loma's Jake Richardson (15:45 for 3.11 miles), got the better of him on the trails.
Jalil Tucker - Lincoln (Sprints)
Still only a junior, Tucker was the No. 2 freshman at the State Meet in 2019 at 10.89, displaying a rocket start. Bigger and stronger now, so he should show big gains in the 200 where his best is 22.55. Showed steady improvement.
Ty Stanislas - Vista (High Jump)
The high jump is one of those events where huge improvements usually come between the 10th and 12th grades. Stanislaus, a senior, finished 2019 at 6-3 and has already equaled that mark in the first meet of the year.
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Steve Brand is a regular contributor to MileSplitCA and serves as the San Diego Section editor.