PREVIEW: Division 1 CIF-Southern Section Prelims


Here's an event-by-event look at Saturday's CIF-Southern Section Division 1 Prelims scheduled to be held at Trabuco Hills High. Field events begin at 11 a.m. with track events at noon. 

The event will be streamed live via the NFHS Network: 


All racing on the track begins at noon

Division 1 from Trabuco Hills HS - LIVE STREAM LINK

Division 2 from Moorpark HS - LIVE STREAM LINK

Division 3 from Estancia HS - LIVE STREAM LINK

Division 4 from Carpinteria HS - LIVE STREAM LINK


Girls 400 Relay

The top two teams in California and four of the top nine will lace it up for this one. Long Beach Poly has run the fastest time in the state at 47.06 and while Roosevelt enters as the top seed, they are second in California with a 47.12 seasonal best. Anchored by Naomi Johnson, the Mustangs of Roosevelt just missed their top mark their best with a dominating performance at their league finals. Meanwhile, LB Poly had to settle for second place as Long Beach Wilson took home the victory with their 47.48 effort. Wilson's best of 47.39 currently ranks seventh in California. Yucaipa is coming in off their 47.60 seasonal best and has also earned lane five in their respective heat. Upland (47.74) eclipsed the 48-second standard for the second time this season and will match up with Long Beach Poly as the fifth seed. Redondo Union captured their Bay League title with a best of 48.35 last week and is also one of the favorites to advance. Millikan (48.99) used the vapor from Wilson and Poly to place third at the Moore League Finals. The sleeper here could very well Vista Murrieta. In using marks solely from league finals, they are seeded twelfth, they have run the sixth-fastest time (48.88) in the division. In regard to seeking the divisional team title next week, it is crucial that Long Beach Poly, Roosevelt, and Upland get their squads through.

Boys 400 Relay
The two top squads in California BOTH hail from the same league - The Baseline! Upland got the better of Rancho Cucamonga as they rolled to a 41.38 seasonal best, but the former continue to boast the top time of 2021 with their 41.20 during an early-season dual meet. Like their female counterparts, Wilson was able to overcome Poly, with their 42.27-42.52 victory. The Bruins put their 'A' team out there, dramatically improving upon their previous best. But, Poly's 41.95 seasonal best continues to be sixth in California and those two will renew their rivalry by lining up in the same heat! Seemingly coming from off the radar, the men of Murrieta Valley erupted for a 42.40 victory at the Southwestern League finals, elevating them to eighth in the Southern Section. In taking home the title in the Citrus Belt League, Cajon (42.20 best) is looking to push Upland for the divisional team title as they will be just inside Murrieta Valley. Six of the top nine squads in the Southern Section will highlight this one.

Girls 1600 Meters

Crescenta Valley's Mia Barnett has arguably put together the single greatest season of any girl in California history! She comes in hot off her 4:37.58 Pacific League title, elevating her up to third on the all-time statewide list and your current national leader. Heading off to the University of Virginia, she is seeking to become the first girl in Division One history to qualify to the divisional finals in all three events. Also running to a new lifetime best in claiming the Foothill League and, Saugus' Hannah Fredericks comes in with a 4:51.32 (8th best in California). Although seeded fourth, Mira Costa's Dalia Frias has been a tear all season with a seasonal best of 4:48.75. One of the best in South Bay history is currently fourth in the state. While previously focusing primarily on the 800 meters, Fountain Valley's Kaho Cichon surprised us with a huge breakthrough performance of 4:57.36 (18-second PR) and moving up to eighth in the Southern Section. Valencia's Sydney Makar (4:58.24) has been consistent in 2021 while the duo from Marina, Makena Castillo (5:03.66) and Marikay Schwab (5:03.70) are two of the most improved girls in the Southern Section. Also, do not overlook Newbury Park's Ailish Hawkins that comes in with a 2021 best of 5:01.68.  The all-time CIF-SS Division 1 record is 4:42.50 and could very well be under assault next week.

Boys 1600 Meters
Despite the postseason exodus from the Newbury Park distance crew, the talent in the division remains equivalent to what we've seen in past years! Beckman's Joshua Schuld and Zeid Hussain have been on a roll in 2021! In measured fashion last week, both eclipsed the previous Pacific Coast League record. Two of the most improved athletes in the state, Schuld's top effort came three weeks ago when he crossed with a 4:12.18 for the full mile. Meanwhile, Hussain was not far behind with his 4:13.09c performance. In that same race, Chaparral's Jacob Bustamante shattered his school record, bursting out with a 4:13.48 for the mile. But, he did NOT win his league title last week as Temecula Valley's Alejandro Kalmar (who had focused more on the 800 in the past), stole the headlines with his 4:13.74 victory. Loyola's Arjun Vadgama has been consistent all Spring and captured the Mission League title with a 4:14.27 performance, just off his lifetime best of 4:12.84. Nathan England of Rancho Cucamonga unleashed for a six-second personal best in claiming the Baseline league title in 4:15.60. Great Oak's Austin Montez (4:13.56 seasonal best) placed third in the Southwestern league, despite rolling to a 4:15.93! Aliso Niguel's Brennan Foody (4:17.40) and Santa Monica's Tristan Amell (4:18.32) emerged with lifetime bests last week but also keep your eyes on Crescenta Valley junior Rowan Fitzgerald. Although seeded twelfth, his 4:13.53 best in 2021 is the fourth fastest in the field. Also, expect Highland's Daniel Rodriguez to step up as he did in 2019 as he is the only returner from the 2019 final. 

Girls 100 Hurdles
The Upland trio of Cienna Norman-Thomas (14.42), Jordyn Grady (14.42), and Ajah Anderson will each be the top seed in their respective heats. Meanwhile, in what could prove pivotal in next week's team title battle, Long Beach Poly's Jade McDonald will also occupy lane fifth in her heat. Those four are among the top six in the Southern Section, under all conditions while the University of Iowa-bound senior from Poly was a State Meet qualifier in the event in 2019. Second at the 2019 Division Two finals, her lifetime wind-legal best is 14.29. Meanwhile, Orange Vista sophomore Kailah Mckenzie is the only underclassman in the top ten seeds coming in while her 14.83 wind-legal mark places her as one of the ten in the section. Woodbridge's Phoebe Ladd rode a generous wind to a lifetime best of 14.86 in capturing the Pacific Coast league title to move her into the top ten in the section as well. Ayala's Ariana Gonzalez captured the Palomares league title in 15.08, establishing a lifetime wind-legal best for her.

Boys 110 Hurdles

The Upland hurdling juggernaut that established one of the true highlights these past several months in shattering the old California state record in the Shuttle Hurdles at the Arcadia Invitational. While moving Delaney Crawford over to focus elsewhere, the remaining trio of Kai Graves-Blanks, DeQuan January and Davis Davis-Lyric look to replicate what their female counterparts achieve beforehand. Graves-Blanks exploded for a wind-aided 13.73 at the Baseline league prelims but some slight hiccups in the final witnessed him crossing in third place with a 15.58 performance. But, up front, January's 14.20 victory was a new lifetime best. Not too far from Upland in the Inland Empire, Cajon junior Seth Johnson looked sharper than ever in his wind-legal 14.33 win at the Citrus Belt League finals. Long Beach Poly's Keylen Dickens won his league title in 14.73 but owns a seasonal best of 14.57. We present a relatively young field with only four seniors among the top 13 times for the season.  

Girls 400 Meters

Four of the top seven in California lineup for this one! Long Beach Wilson's Aujane Luckey comes in hot, especially after 54.87 lifetime best to capture the title in the most competitive league in the state for this event. Also earning the top seed for their respective heats are two experienced juniors! Roosevelt's Naomi Johnson looked sharp in her 55.20 Big VIII league title last week while Millikan's Samarra Monrroy is back! With a late start to the season, she placed second in the Moore League at 56.59. Both qualified for the California State Meet in 2019 as freshmen but Monrroy truly shined in capturing the SS Masters Meet in a lifetime best of 54.16 and placing second at the state championships! Luckey's teammate and fellow sophomore, Sadia Green used the pace for a 56.64 lifetime best. Although seeded seventh, do not overlook the University of Penn-bound Jocelyn Niemiec, who emerged with a 54.85 performance during the day meet races at the Arcadia Invitational. She placed seventh at the 2019 Division 1 finals. In the nighttime affair, at Arcadia, San Clemente's Caroline Hawkes placed third with her seasonal best mark of 55.84. Also slated to qualify for next weekend, Yucaipa's Eryn Burke and her 56.51 are currently eighth in the Southern Section.

Boys 400 Meters

This event is been wide open all season long in regard to who the favorites are. Last week revealed more insight as the men of Long Beach Wilson dominated in sweeping the Moore League. Junior Leroy Crook crossed with the victory in a lifetime best of 48.90, holding off teammate Phillip Jefferson. The University of Iowa-bound Jefferson, who also excels in the 300 Hurdles and 800 meters, will be the top seed in his heat while still owning the fastest seasonal best at 48.27 for the division. Coming in hot and on this same track, El Toro's Camden Patterson exploded with a 49.01 school-record victory at the South Coast League finals last week with his previous best was 50.29! Taylor Johnson of Westlake also stepped up to capture the Marmonte league title with a best of 49.49 as did Patrick Effiom (49.51) of Roosevelt in capturing the Big VIII title. Saugus' Brandon Cruz Jr. comes in with a seasonal best of 49.35, placing him with the third-fastest time in the division in 2021. Also, watch for Murrieta Mesa's Kristopher Konradson, who has displayed marked improvement this season with his 49.41 seasonal best.

Girls 100 Meters
Etiwanda's Kennedi Porter comes in with the momentum from her wind-legal 11.89 victory at the Baseline League Finals. This moved her up to fifth in California for wind-legal marks and second in the Southern Section. With our senior as the top seed, Ayala freshman Kayla McBride coming in with a wind-legal lifetime best of 12.02 that also moves her into the California top-ten list. Displaying solid improvement in 2021, the Redondo Union duo of Amber Autry (12.13w) and Eve Divinity (12.16w) expect to vie for the automatic bid to next week's finals in capturing their respective heats. Murrieta Mesa's Stevie Wu has been consistent and qualified as the Southwestern league title in a wind-aided 12.08 effort. While representing Leuzinger in 2019 and placing third at the Division 3 finals, Long Beach Poly's Aniyah Wyche ran to a lifetime best of 12.16 last week. Watch for Roosevelt's Jessica Boyd. Coming from behind, she earned the Big VIII title last week in a wind-legal 12.24 victory over Santiago's Samantha Bartz (12.30).

Boys 100 Meters

The Baseline League is well represented once again. Rancho Cucamonga's Tristyn Flores (10.46w) held off fast charging Delaney Crawford (10.55w) last week in one of the fastest matchups in California this season. This moved the two up into the top five, under all conditions, in California. Cajon sophomore JeyQuan Smith burst onto the scene and now a big reason for Cajon being in the team title hunt. He will go head to head with Upland's DeQuan January. Tesoro's Dominic Gates shined in his 10.75 (+2.1w) victory at the Sea View league finals and will be the top seed in his heat. Off the grid for most of the season, Davon Banks of San Jacinto looks to crash the party, coming in off his 10.78 wind-legal Mountain Pass League title. With a lot of new faces on the scene, the veteran of the group is Isaiah Marecheau, who placed fifth at the 2019 Division 1 finals. As a sophomore, he advanced to the California State Meet with his fifth-place finish at the Masters Meet. His wind-legal best of 10.79 was into a wind earlier this season. He faces off with Crawford in his heat. A sleeper here could very well be Orange Vista's Lovewyn Don-Willies, who rolled to a wind-legal 10.85 victory at the Inland Empire Championships.

Girls 800 Meters
Three of the top five in California take to the stage in this one. Those three will be in separate heats and also coming back from the 1600 meters. Crescenta Valley's Mia Barnett has been THE story in 2021 and adding her 2:07.31 victory over Mira Costa's Dalia Frias (2:10.44) at the Meet of Champions two months ago solidified her as one of the greatest all-around distance girls in California prep history. Meanwhile, Frias' season is also one for the ages as she had not eclipsed the 2:20 barrier until that race. But, also coming into her own as one of California's best if Fountain Valley's Kaho Cichon. She held off a competitive field to win the Orange County Championships in 2:11.46. In that same race, Katella's Ashlynn Viramontes crossed in a lifetime best of 2:13.18. While these four are heavy favorites to advance, Westlake's Ruby Sirota-Foster (2:16.67) and Valencia's Angelina Teymouri (2:18.15) are also primed to advance to next week's final.    

Boys 800 Meters

With the top five boys in the Southern Section not advancing to the postseason and others opting to focus on other events, this event has been thrown wide open! Great Oak's Kyle Reden is coming in off his 1:54.26, upset victory at the Southwestern League finals. With an incredible last 200 meters, he motored past teammate Mateo Joseph (who still comes in with the fastest seasonal best of 1:53.63). The Bay league champ, Mira Costa's Cormac Carew boasts a 1:54.52 best in 2021 while junior Jacob Robison of Foothill opened up his season with a 1:54.78.  Long Beach Wilson's Nico Colchico has also impressed this Spring with a best of 1:55.61. Behind those five, you have four others that have all run in the 1:56-range, headlined by Nathan England of Rancho Cucamonga. The senior returned from his breakout effort in the 1600 meters to win the Baseline title in 1:56.76. Also keep an eye out for Tesoro's Grahm Breiter, who is hidden down in the heat sheets, as he produced a 1:56.17 performance at the Orange County Championships.     

Girls 300 Hurdles

The top two and five of the top eight in the Southern Section take to the track for this one. Upland teammates Ajah Anderson and Cienna Norman-Thomas have been switching off this season. Anderson earned the nod at the Baseline League finals 44.29-44.43 title run. Norman-Thomas, who focused more on the 400 meters while at Citrus Valley owns the top time in the section at 44.12 (fifth in California). Yucaipa's Jordyn Burke (45.06) and Emily Waller of Woodbridge (45.66) will match in their heat, with the winner automatically qualifying. Waller is looking to get back to her lifetime best of 44.47 from 2019 when she placed fourth in the Division Two final. Meanwhile, in a bit of a surprise and impressive coaching craftmanship, Long Beach Poly counters with all-star Jade McDonald. With Poly the favorites for the team title, McDonald is enrolled in four individual events and ran the event for the first time this season in 45.92 last week! She owns a lifetime best of 44.10. Burbank's Emma Cusumano captured the Pacific League title in 46.22 and is also favored to advance to next week's final. Also, watch for Roosevelt's Jessica Boyd as she comes back from the 100 meters, and lines up with a seasonal best of 46.46.

Boys 300 Hurdles
Upland's Delaney Crawford created mass headlines with his 36.64 debut in this event in a dual meet in April. That time continues to lead the state and is fourth in the nation. As the top underclassmen in the nation, Crawford is a heavy favorite to capture the title next weekend, but first needs to advance. Long Beach Poly's Phillip Jefferson completes one of the toughest doubles out there, coming back from the 400 meters. He motored to a lifetime best of 38.60, tying him with Upland's Kai Graves-Blanks for fourth in the Southern Section. Meanwhile, Carson Kaminski will defend his home track here at Trabuco Hills and lane five as the top seed in his heat. His seasonal best of 38.61. He will have Cajon's Seth Johnson to his inside, with Johnson having the goal of adding this event to the three others that he advances in. Johnson rolled to a seasonal best of 39.08 to capture the Citrus Belt League title. Based on 2021 bests, also expect Lincoln Marschall (39.51) of Los Alamitos, Long Beach Poly's Je'Cory Harris (39.60) and Julius Cheek of Roosevelt (39.69) to be there to earn lane assignments for next weekend. Four of the top six in the Southern Section are featured here.

Girls 200 Meters

When glancing at the wind-legal best marks in California, five of the top ten get into the blocks here. Yucaipa's Eryn Burke owns the fastest legal mark in a dual meet this season with her 24.41 two weeks ago, currently placing third in California. But, Roosevelt's Naomi Johnson earned the top seed with her 24.53 performance from the Big VIII league finals. While those two come back from the 400 meters, Etiwanda's Kennedi Porter comes in after the 100 meters and after earning herself the Baseline league title in a wind-aided 24.62 effort. Along with Long Beach Wilson's Aujane Luckey, the newcomer of the group is Ayala freshman Kayla McBride. She is coming into form at just the right time with her 24.68 wind-legal Palomares league title effort last week. Six of the top eight in the Southern Section highlight this one! Long Beach Wilson sophomore Sadia Green displayed marked improvement last week with her 24.91 wind-legal runner-up finish to Luckey. Along the lines of improvement, Eve Divinity now adds to this event to her talented resume, as she is now one of the best in the section after her 24.95 wind-legal Bay league title effort! Do not count out Millikan junior Samarra Monrroy, who was a finalist in this event in 2019 as a freshman, or Beckman's Jocelyn Niemiec, who owns a seasonal best of 24.88.

Boys 200 Meters

Malik Harness of Long Beach Poly exploded to a 21.72 wind-legal performance last week to earn the top seed here. Moving him up to seventh in the Southern Section with that effort, Cajon sophomore JeyQuan Smith continues to own the second-best mark in the section with his 21.39 from a dual meet two weeks ago. That time ranks him fifth in the nation amongst all sophomores. Tristyn Flores of Rancho Cucamonga took advantage of a generous breeze in rolling to a 21.85 effort, holding off Upland's Christopher Coats (21.94) and earning the top seed in his heat. One of the top sprinters in the section, Charlie Jarvis of Aliso Niguel used the disqualification in the prelims for the 100 meters as fuel in his capturing the South Coast League title in a lifetime wind-legal best of 21.85, earning himself lane five for this one. Do not count out Pacifica's Isaiah Marecheau, who looks to get back to his lifetime best of 21.83, established during the 2019 season. Keep track of Orange Vista's Lovewyn Don-Willies, who raced to a wind-legal 22.11 to claim the Ivy League title.

Girls 3200 Meters
Yes,...we are profiling Mia Barnett of Crescenta Valley once again! Your national leader at 9:52.23, Barnett owns the fourth-fastest time in California state history with that performance. As mentioned earlier, no girl has ever qualified for all three distances races for the Division One finals. As she used the Pacific League finals as more of a threshold run, Mira Costa's Ella Parsley, and her 10:53.46 lifetime best, checks in as the top seed. Without much of a track background until the last several months, Parsley had not gone under 11:40 until six weeks ago! She will line up with Saugus' Hannah Fredericks, who owns the second-fastest seasonal mark (10:21.54) of the field here. Aliso Niguel's Emily Richards has been a roll in 2021, rolling to a seasonal best of 10:28.37 last month. Also the Orange County Champion for the 1600 meters, she dropped that event to focus solely on the 3200. Mira Costa sophomore Anna Chittenden became the third underclass Mustang to break 10:55 (Dalia Frias' 10:15.61 but has opted to focus on the 800/1600) in finishing right behind Parsley at the Bay League finals with a 10:54.36. Freshman Jie Yi Denise Chen controlled the pace in capturing the Palomares League title and comes in with 10:46.56 seasonal best. Hidden way down in the meet entries, Quartz Hill sophomore Brianne Smith jogged to earn herself the Golden league title but comes in with an 11:08.28 seasonal best from a dual meet last month.  

Boys 3200 Meters

With the uncertainty of long-term scheduling prevailing over the past four months, the top boys at Newbury Park scheduled a previous engagement during this same weekend. With that, do not think that the cupboard was left bare as sophomore Aaron Cantu will represent those Panthers as the top seed at 9:20.50! But coming in with the two fastest times this season are Beckman's Joshua Schuld and Zeid Hussain. They paced their teammate at last week's Pacific Coast league finals and as all three crossed in unison, the league title actually went to junior Christopher Keyler (9:36.61). Last month, Schuld roared to an 8:56.34 at the Arcadia Invitation (THE single greatest 3200-meter race of California boys ever). Hussain did not disappoint in crossing in 9:01.53! Also hiding way down on the list, ML King's Francisco Zavaleta is coming off two league titles last week, while his 9:14.65 at the Arcadia Invite is on his resume. In that same 'seeded' section, Vista Murrieta's Noah Murasmith ran a 9:15.61 along with Loyola junior Dylan Bissell (9:16.65). La Quinta's Raen Reyes crossed in 9:18.16 just behind those two. In late April, Crescenta Valley's Max Burton used a huge burst on the last lap to record a 9:18.55. Gritty as ever, Great Oak's Austin Montez (9:22.23) held off Chaparral's Jacob Bustamante (9:23.70) and Murasmith to capture the Southwestern league title last week. But, do not overlook Aliso Niguel's Brennan Foody. Despite placing second at the South Coast League finals, on this same track, Foody rolled to a 9:21.71 lifetime best. Mira Costa's Colin Beale also possesses sub-9:20 talent.  Finally, from the endless tenacity we've witnessed with the program, do not discount Newbury Park sophomore Hector Martinez as he improved down to a 9:23.84 last week.

Girls 1600 Relay
Three of the top five squads in the Southern Section represent the division in this one. Yucaipa has been a model of consistency all season long with their 3:54.51 seasonal best ranking third in the section. Long Beach Wilson claimed their league title last week with a best of 3:56.08 (fourth in the section) while Roosevelt rolled to an easy victory as their 3:58.00 was a 2021 best. Vista Murrieta (4:00.58) has flirted with the 4-minute threshold twice in the last three weeks while Ayala (4:01.71) posted their best at the Arcadia Invitational last month. El Toro improved their 2021 best with their 4:03.82 runner-up finish on this same track last week while Long Beach Poly tried to stay with Wilson in their 4:03.55 effort. Murrieta Mesa used the pace of the Southwestern League finals to cross in 4:04.61. In capturing the Sea View League title, San Clemente rolled to a season's best of 4:06.07. It should not take a sub-3:58 time to qualify this year, as was the case in past seasons but most of these squads did run their 'A' teams for the first time to advance to the postseason.  

Boys 1600 Relay

Seven of the top nine squads in the Southern Section are ready to go here! A longtime presence in this event, Long Beach Wilson is the California state leader with a 2021 best of 3:17.74. In that same race, they held off Upland (3:19.72) and league rival, Long Beach Poly (3:20.86). Now, those two squads cruised at their respective league finals and are down the list in your program. The men of Saugus have put together a strong crew in 2021 and motored to a 3:22.67 Foothill League title, moving them up to eighth in California! Also moving into the statewide top-ten list, Great Oak ran away with the Southwestern League title (3:22.87) over Murrieta Mesa (3:23.62). Great Oak was third until Kyle Reden took over on the third leg. Westlake (3:24.46) prevailed with the Marmonte League title. But on this same track last week, the South Coast league featured a great showdown where El Toro emerged with the title at 3:24.64 over Trabuco Hills (3:25.60) and Aliso Niguel (3:26.50). We do not foresee a sub-3:21 being needed to qualify, like in past seasons, but would not be too surprised that these squads all rolling under 3:24 in pushing one another.


Girls Shot Put
Four finalists from the 2019 finals all return. Cherish Washington launched a 42-5 lifetime best to capture the Moore League title! She is the true veteran of ALL qualifiers, regardless of event, as she was a finalist in both 2018 and 2019. As a sophomore in 2019, she placed second in the Division One finals for this event and qualified for the SS Masters Meet. She is ranked sixth in California and third in the Southern Section. Julia Richey of Newbury Park may be done the list, but her 41-3 seasonal best is sixth in the section. She placed third in 2019 and qualified to the Masters Meet as well. Newport Harbor's Ariana Grum is coming in off a 40-4 seasonal best in capturing the Sunset Wave title while Washington's teammate, Samaria Usher improved out to a 38-9 last week. Carlita Coleman captured the Southwestern league title with a 38-0 foot effort but owns a seasonal best of 39-2. Destiny Okoh of Long Beach Poly is looking to qualify as she did in 2019 as she boasts a seasonal best of 38-11.5 after placing fifth in 2019. Also looking to return back to the finals, Centennial's Katherine Davis stepped up big with her 38-4 effort to capture the Big VIII title last week.  

Girls Discus
Cherish Washington of Lakewood is back with the experience of being a two-time divisional finalist in this event. Her 150-4 lifetime best from this past April has her currently ranked seventh in California and second in the Southern Section. She placed sixth in the division in 2019 and eventually ended with a tenth-place finish at the California State Meet. Someone all too familiar with the ring, Trabuco Hills' Abby Klinge continues to improve as her 141-6 seasonal best ranks her third in the section. From a 75-foot discus athlete in the shortened 2020 season to an accomplished 131-0 thrower in 2021 - Roosevelt's Karyssa Owens is coming in off her Big VIII league title and looking for valuable points in the team title chase. Celeste Aguilar of Saugus captured the Foothill League title and checks in with a 125-10 best. Like the Shot Put, not much separates the talents of Vista Murrieta's Carlita Coleman (124-5) and Long Beach Poly's Destiny Okoh (124-4). Kathleen Nelson may be down the list, but the Pacifica junior boasts a 124-2 best in 2021. Also, watch for Warren's Dayanara Cendejas as she enters with a new seasonal best of 122-5 to capture the San Gabriel League title.  

Girls Pole Vault

Two-time CIF-SS Division 2 champion and NOW, the new National Record Holder in the event, Paige Sommers of Westlake moves into Division One for the 2021 postseason. Headed off to Duke University this Fall, her 14-9 clearance at last week's Marmonte League Finals would be tied for second on the current NCAA Division One collegiate list. While she placed third at the California State Meet in 2018 and runner-up in 2019, the divisional record currently sits at 12-10...for now. The rest of the field is highlighted by Vista Murrieta's Aspen Fears. Capturing the title in the most competitive league in the Southern Section, her 12-0 clearance led four others to qualify for the postseason out of the Southwestern League. Meanwhile, Roosevelt's Sophia Perez currently owns the second-best mark in the division at 12-2 while Ayala's Madeline Seifert has also soared over the 12-foot bar. The trio of Murrieta Valley's Madisyn Negro, Aliso Niguel's Dylan Beveridge and Claremont's Bella Sanvictores have all elevated up over 11-9 this season. Also projected to advance is Avery Karner of Dana Hills as she brings in a seasonal best of 11-6. Sommers tends to open up at 12-feet, but may need to come down to the 11-0 bar for advancement purposes.

Girls High Jump
Zharia Taylor of Long Beach Poly is only one of three girls in the Southern Section with a 5-6 clearance. As she earned her league title with a 5-3 effort, we witnessed two breakthrough efforts to actually top the lists of qualifiers. As Mariah Stensby had seemingly been stuck at 5-2 all season, she cleared 5-4 to capture the South Coast League title. Meanwhile, Kathryn Rust of Santiago entered the Big VIII league finals with a seasonal best of 4-10 but exploded for a 5-4 effort! Ayala's Ariana Gonzalez also comes in with a best of 5-4. Also coming over from the hurdles, Orange Vista sophomore Kailah Mckenzie checks in with a 5-3 best when she outlasted Valley View freshman Amara Thomas (also at 5-3) at the Inland Empire Championships. Jenna Walsh of Trabuco Hills finished right behind Stensby last week at a seasonal best of 5-2. Meanwhile, the trio of Mackenzie Kirk of Los Alamitos, Ontario's Mira Juncaj, and Kylie Degener of Cypress have also matched that same mark. A sleeper here could be San Clemente's Natalie Vissman as this is the third postseason she has qualified for and owns a lifetime best of 5-3.

Girls Long Jump
With few meets measuring wind readings on the horizontal jumps, projecting those qualifiers becomes much more of a challenge. Eve Divinity of Redondo Union takes to the runway with the top wind-legal effort of 19-1, which currently places her second in California and first in the Southern Section. Long Beach Poly's Lauren Reed launched out to an 18-6.25 effort at the Arcadia Invite, placing her sixth in the state. The only other three with wind-legal effort over 17 feet are Kailah Mckenzie (19-8.5w best) of Orange Vista, Zharia Taylor of Long Beach Poly, and Vista Murrieta freshman Kaila Robinson. Jade McDonald of Long Beach Poly comes in the longest resume as she placed second in the event at the 2018 Division 2 finals, advancing to the CIF-SS Masters Meet but jumped into the national spotlight with her fourth-place finish at the 2019 California State Meet after claiming the Division 2 title. Great Oak's Summer Stevenson is looking to qualify to the finals after just missing in two previous postseasons while Vista Murrieta freshman Alyssa Alumbres comes in as the top seed with her 18-4.75 victory at the Southwestern League finals. Upland's Simone Smith is projected to qualify as well after her 18-3w Baseline league victory.

Girls Triple Jump
No single event at the Division One prelims brings more experience than this one. Great Oak's Summer Stevenson continues to carry the family legacy in the event, especially after her 40-7 (nwi) performance last week. As a State Meet finalist in 2019, she is the only girl in the stadium to defend their Division title from 2019. The three-time Southwestern League champ owns a lifetime wind-legal best of 40-5. But, add Jade McDonald of Long Beach Poly into the division. Her resume goes onto the second page so to speak as she placed sixth in this event at the 2018 California State Meet and seventh in 2019. Her seasonal best is 39-10w. Seasoned veteran and teammate of Stevenson, Sami Bollinger bounded out to a wind-legal effort of 38-7 last month but needed to meet the at-large standard for qualifying as her league advanced five of the top ten! But, watch for Burbank's Jayla Flowers as placed third at the 2019 divisional finals en route to a surprising fifth-place finish at the State Meet where she emerged with her 39-6 wind-legal lifetime best. Upland's Simone Smith (37-4 wind-legal best), Claremont's Selah Eum, Temecula Valley's Ahnyx Bush, and Vista Murrieta's Alyssa Alumbres are also projected to advance onto next week's finals.

Boys High Jump

With this event, we are seeing most come into form over this last month! Vista Murrieta's Darius Hill is the heavy favorite to defend the 2019 title that he earned as a sophomore. In establishing a new lifetime best of 6-10, he became the first boy in California to do so in 2021! Cajon's Seth Johnson should also easily move on with one qualifying jump as he has elevated up over 2 meters (6-6.75) this Spring (and needs to focus on two others events at the same time). Davon Banks of San Jacinto came WAY off the grid in his 6-6 clearance last week as his previous best had only been 6-1 coming into the Mountain Pass league finals. With the opening height starting at 5-10, Ayala's Marcus Monroe has also cleared 6-6 in 2021 while Heritage's Kevin Orona cleared 6-5 earlier this season. With nine spots available for next week's final, four others are coming in with their best performances of the season. Noah Dunker of Beaumont, Redondo Union's Tyler Dorien, Owen Pennington of Riverside Poly, and Dean Connors of Murrieta Valley all levitated over the 6-4 bar and earn titles in their respective leagues.

Boys Pole Vault
Five of the top ten boys in California take to the runway here! Those five are amongst the top six in the Southern Section as well while Eli Gault-Crabb of Burroughs and Los Alamitos junior David Brok both come in with seasonal bests of 15-9. While Brok has dramatically improved from his 12-foot best in 2019, Gault-Crabb was a finalist two years ago. In a great battle for the Big VIII League title, Roosevelt junior Hunter O'Brien cleared the 15-4 bar for the first time. ML King's Jered Beasley placed second at 15-0, but does have a seasonal best of 15-3. With his best of 15-1 coming last week in capturing the Sea View League title, Josh Kato of San Juan Hills is also projected to advance to next week. Jack Wright of Great Oak is looking to get back to his 15-2 lifetime best he set back in 2019. As he has cleared 14-9 this season, he held off Murrieta Valley sophomore Tiger Bachmeier for the Southwestern league title with both clearing 14-3.

Boys Shot Put
 On top of the California state leader list and the fourth-best underclassmen in the United States, Murrieta Mesa's
Cade Moran has consistently improved as his 62-10.5 is now the fourth-best effort in Riverside County history. He is heavily favored to claim the title next weekend but Alex Probolsky of Aliso Niguel is peaking at the right time. His 53-9.25 lifetime best was in this same ring last week, as it was almost two feet further than his previous best and moved him to eighth in the Southern Section. Tenth in the section, Downey's Ugonna Ikejiofor captured the San Gabriel Valley League title with a seasonal best of 52-11.25. The Great Oak duo of James Wright (52-5) and Aiden Pastorian (52-3) are favored to advance as well. The top two sophomores in California also enter the ring in the form of Westlake's Adam Laycock (52-6) and Redondo Union's Kai Deines (50-11.25). Finally, Jordan's Xavier Heard checks in off a two-foot personal best in capturing the Moore League title at 51-9.  

Boys Discus
Many of the same names take the journey to the upper fields to also qualify in this event. Downey's Ugonna Ikejiofor launched a 193-10 rocket, taking over as the California state leader in his earning the San Gabriel Valley League title. Murrieta Mesa junior Cade Moran comes forth with a 177-7 seasonal best as he is the top underclassmen in the state and fifth overall. Two of the top three sophomores in California are favorites to advance as well. Westlake's Adam Laycock owns a best of 169-1 while Redondo Union's Kai Deines comes in with a 160-5 best in 2021. Elsinore junior Elijah Ignacio captured the Ivy League title and enrolls with a 162-10 seasonal best. The only other boy that has measured out beyond the 150-foot standard is Christian Alejandre of Pacifica (152-9). Four of the top five marks for the division have been turned in by underclassmen.

Boys Long Jump
With VERY limited wind-legal marks to draw upon, Vista Murrieta's Darius Hill is atop the Southern Section list with his 23-0.5 performance at the Inland Empire Championships to go along with a 23-1.5 (nwi) effort to capture the Southwestern League title. With the longest resume of any boy in the meet, Hill was third at the 2019 and sixth in 2018 as a freshman in this event. Ayala's Marcus Monroe captured the Palomares league title with a wind-legal 22-0 effort, while also owning a wind-aided 22-5 best. Miguel Orozco was a finalist here, placing sixth, for Long Beach Poly in 2019 and has produced some of the best jumps (23-1.75 nwi best) in the section. But, his sophomore teammate, Javon Hampton captured the league title and has soared out to 22-10 (nwi) best this season. Cajon junior Seth Johnson is also heavily favored to advance as he owns a 21-10.5 wind-legal best and measured to a 22-1.5 (nwi) to capture the Citrus Belt title while his sophomore teammate, JeyQuan Smith looks to use his top-end speed to advance here as well. The Williams' duo, Bryson and Jordan (not related), represent Rancho Cucamonga and also have the credentials to advance to next week. Keep your eyes on Loyola's Noah Bustos (who looks to also qualify in the 100 meters) while ML King's Brandon Benson has been consistently strong this season.

Boys Triple Jump
Like his sister, Great Oak junior JC Stevenson enters the action as the top seed. He looks to be the fourth Stevenson sibling to earn the Division 1 title in the triple jump over the past six seasons! Coming off his 48-10.5 performance to capture the Southwestern League title last week, he became the first boy in California to measure out over 48 feet under all conditions in 2021. In that same competition, Vista Murrieta's Darius Hill bounded out to a 45-11 in his runner-up role. The relatively young field that are expected to advance include Valley View's Kyan Thomas (45-5), Rancho Cucamonga's Bryson Williams (45-3.5), and Jonathan Yu of Fountain Valley, with all of them capturing their respective league titles. Yu has a seasonal best of 45-5 (nwi) and a wind-legal best of 42-11 and is the top sophomore in California! ML King's Brandon Benson captured the Big VIII League title is looks to get back to his early-season 46-1 (nwi) best. Seven of the top ten seeds are underclassmen, providing a glimpse of the talent we will also see in 2022.


Photos by Raymond Tran and Jeffrey Parenti


Mark Gardner, is a high school teacher and former track and cross country coach who is a regular contributor to MileSplitCA and serves as the Southern Section editor.