Division 1 Prelims Coverage
Southern Section editor Mark Gardner takes an in-depth look at the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 championship meet scheduled for Saturday at Trabuco Hills HS. Field events begin at 11:30 a.m., track events at 1 p.m.
Girls Pole VaultThis is arguably the most talented group of girls to advance to a divisional final in CIF-SS history! With that, we do not want to ignore the talent that lies in the shadow of the best prep Pole Vaulter in United State history - Paige Sommers of Westlake! She established a new national prep record of 14-9 at the Miramonte League finals two weeks ago and on her opening attempt last weekend, cleared 13-10 to shatter the previous Division 1 divisional record of 12-10. She already earned the Division 2 titles in 2018 and 2019 and should easily earn another one this afternoon before heading off to Duke University. Roosevelt's Sophia Perez cleared 12-2 this season while Ayala's Madeline Siefert boasts a seasonal best of 12-0. Murrieta Valley sophomore Madisyn Negro has elevated up over 11-9 as has Claremont's Bella Sanvictores and Aliso Niguel's Dylan Beveridge. Vista Murrieta's Emily Westfall headlined with her lifetime best of 11-6 last weekend as did Trabuco Hills' Isabelle Teh.
Girls Long JumpIn regards to performances in qualifying at the divisional prelims, this is one of the deepest fields presented in recent history. Redondo Union's Eve Divinity claimed the top mark from last weekend and is the favorite as her 19-1 seasonal best ranks second in the Southern Section. But, with the extra motivation of seeking a team title, the Long Beach Poly duo of Lauren Reed and Jade McDonald will push the Redondo junior. Keep in mind that McDonald placed fourth at the California State Meet in this event after taking runner-up at the Division 2 final. With the Southwestern League advancing four to the Division 1 final, Vista Murrieta freshman Alyssa Alumbres walked away with an 18-3.25 effort last weekend, despite jumping into a headwind. Orange Vista sophomore Kailah McKenzie also shined (18-3.25) in advancing while ML King's Alyssa Hope had her best series of 2021, advancing with a wind-legal 18-foot performance. McKenzie owns a wind-aided best of 19-8.5. The postseason experience of Great Oak's Summer Stevenson and Sami Bollinger will also come into play in an event relatively left wide open for earning medals!
Boys Long JumpVista Murrieta's Darius Hill is atop the Southern Section list with a 23-0.5 performance at the Inland Empire Championships to go along with his 23-1.5 (nwi) effort to capture the Southwestern League title. With the longest resume of any boy in the meet, Hill was third in 2019 and sixth in 2018 as a freshman in this event. LB Poly's Miguel Orozco jumps last by way of earning the top seed last week while he looks to improve upon his sixth-place finish from the 2019 final. As Orozco has measured out to a 23-1.75 (nwi) best, he and his sophomore teammate, Javon Hampton, look to earn valuable points for their Poly squad. Ayala's Marcus Monroe and Cajon junior Seth Johnson, along with Hill, will utilize both sides of the track as they also compete in High Jump at the same time. As projected last week, Loyola's Noah Bustos and ML King's Brandon Benson advanced to their first final as seniors. Finally, watch for Rancho Cucamonga junior Bryson Williams as his consistency was evident last week in his qualifying wind-legal effort of 21-11.
Girls Shot PutThree finalists from the 2019 finals all return. Lakewood's Cherish Washington launched a 42-5 lifetime best to capture the Moore League title and comfortably advanced last weekend. She is the true veteran of ALL qualifiers, regardless of event, as she is the ONLY athlete in Division 1 to advance to each final since 2018. Washington placed second in the Division One final for this event and qualified for the SS Masters Meet in 2019. She is ranked seventh in California and third in the Southern Section. Julia Richey of Newbury Park had the top effort last weekend as her 41-3 seasonal best is sixth in the section. She placed third in 2019 and qualified to the Masters Meet as well. In qualifying once again like she did in 2019, Centennial's Katherine Davis unleashed a lifetime best of 39-8 to advance and move up to eighth in the section. Washington's teammate, Samaria Usher of Lakewood also improved out to a 39-5 last week. Carlita Coleman of Vista Murrieta owns a seasonal best of 39-2 as the only other girl to measure out over 38 feet in 2021.
Boys DiscusDowney's Ugonna Ikejiofor launched a 193-10 rocket, taking over as the California state leader in his earning the San Gabriel Valley League title two weeks ago. At last weekend's prelims, Ikejiofor placed himself into the top ten all-time Division 1 list. 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. Westlake's Adam Laycock launched his seasonal best of 169-2 as he is the top sophomore in California. While the underrated Elsinore throwing program featuring junior Elijah Ignacio was expected to qualify (162-10 seasonal best), his fellow junior teammate of Matthew Hodges unleashed a huge personal best of 155-2 to also easily advance. Redondo Union sophomore Kai Dienes (160-5 best in 2021) joined Laycock in advancing in both throws. Finally, watch for Pacifica's Christian Alejandre is posted his best effort yet in measuring out to 154-1 last weekend. Five of the top six in the field are underclassmen!
Boys High JumpWith this event, we are seeing most come into form over this last month with eight of the nine all hailing from the Inland Empire! Vista Murrieta's Darius Hill is the heavy favorite to defend the 2019 title from his sophomore season. In establishing a new lifetime best of 6-10 at the Southwestern League finals, he became the first boy in California to do so in 2021! Cajon's Seth Johnson also easily advanced as he has elevated up over 2 meters (6-6.75) this Spring. Ayala's Marcus Monroe has also cleared 6-6 in 2021 and will manage competing in the Long Jump alongside Hill and Johnson. Heritage's Kevin Orona cleared 6-5 earlier this season. Noah Dunker of Beaumont, Redondo Union's Tyler Doiron, 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 meanwhile, Santiago's Isaiah Norales was the one boy that posted his lifetime best in advancing with a 6-2 performance.
Girls 400 RelayThree of the top four teams in California take to the stage to kick off the track events! Established at the Arcadia Invite last month, Long Beach Poly comes in with the best seasonal mark at 47.06. Roosevelt has been consistently in the sub-47.50 range with a best of 47.12 while Long Beach Wilson is coming off a seasonal best of 47.18 at last week's prelims. Yucaipa established a new school record of 47.60 at their league late last month while Upland's 47.74 came at Arcadia. Also in the hunt for a top spot is Redondo Union, who established their 2021 best of 47.84 on this track last weekend. Six of the top eleven squads in the Southern Section headline this affair.
Boys 400 RelayThe two top squads, both hailing from the Baseline League, grace the middle of the track. Rancho Cucamonga's 41.20 from earlier in the season continues to be atop of the California State list, but Upland got the better end of the deal with their 41.38 victory at their league finals. Long Beach Poly (41.95) also eclipsed the 42-second watermark but Moore League-foe, Wilson of Long Beach, has won their last two matchups in winning the league title and their prelims heat last weekend. Wilson's 42.17 from last week was a 2021 best while Murrieta Valley captured their heat to advance and looks to improve upon their school-record effort of 42.40 from the Southwestern League Finals. Meanwhile, Roosevelt (42.47), Loyola (42.50) and Knight (42.52) all look to improve upon their seasonal best that they established at the prelims.
Girls 1600 MetersCrescenta Valley's Mia Barnett has arguably put together the single greatest season of any girl in California history as her league finals performance of 4:37.58 moved her up to third on the all-time State Meet list! She cruised to a 4:53.09 at last week's prelims and looks to add a third CIF Divisional title to her stunning resume as she earned the Division 4 titles for this event in 2018 and 2019 while attending Village Christian. Saugus' Hannah Fredericks looks equally as impressive in moving to a 4:52.52 effort, just off her best of 4:51.32. Mira Costa junior Dalia Frias also looked comfortable in prelims. Her 4:48.75 best in 2021 currently ranks her fourth in California while Fredericks is currently fifth in the Southern Section. Valencia's Sydney Makar (4:57.89), Saugus' Isabella Duarte (4:58.16), and Claremont freshman, Jie Yi Denise Chen (4:58.28) all crossed with new lifetime best last weekend in qualifying for the final.
Boys 1600 MetersTaking into account that a good number of the division's best have focused elsewhere is an added testament to the incredible depth in this event as a 4:16.78 was the last qualifier at last week's prelims. Great Oak's Austin Montez motored home over the last 200 meters to cross in a lifetime best of 4:12.23. He will face off against Temecula Valley's Alejandro Kalmar for the third week in a row, who also ran a seasonal best of 4:13.01. Beckman's Joshua Schuld ran a controlled a 4:13.23 while he steps to the line with the top time in 2021 with a 4:12.18 (converts to a sub-4:11) for the full mile. Loyola's Arjun Vadgama (4:12.84) became the program's eighth boy to break 4:13, while Crescenta Valley junior Rowan Fitzgerald (4:13.53) looked equally sharp in last week's prelims. Chaparral's Jacob Bustamante gives the Southwestern League three finalists as his best in 2021 was a 4:13.48 for the full mile last month.
Girls 100 HurdlesThe Upland trio of Cieanna Norman-Thomas (14.42), Jordyn Grady (14.42), and Ajah Anderson came in as the top three seeds and impressed at last weekend's prelims in easily qualifying. As they all crossed with wind-legal sub-14:80 performances, they were also reminded of the veteran talent of Long Beach Poly's Jade McDonald. The senior will line up in lane five as the top seed after her wind-aided 14.58 effort at prelims. Her lifetime best is 14.29 as she was a State Meet finalist in the event in 2019. Seemingly off the radar her first two seasons, Orange Vista sophomore Kailah McKenzie won her heat in a wind-legal lifetime best of 14.60. A qualifier in 2019, Ayala's Arianna Gonzalez advanced back looks to improve upon her sixth-place finish. Five of the top seven in the Southern Section advanced while this event will also provide huge team title implications.
Boys 110 HurdlesThe 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 provided us with more fireworks last weekend. Second in California with a wind-legal best of 13.95, Upland sophomore Kai Graves-Blanks motored onto the Division 1 all-time Top Ten list in qualifying at 14.12. Cajon junior Seth Johnson also impressed with a best of 14.32 while Long Beach Poly's Keylen Dickens threw out a huge personal best of 14.38. But, Upland junior DeQuan January will be right there as well as his 14.20 seasonal best captured the Baseline League title two weeks ago. Four of the top six in California will line up in the middle of the track while Saugus' John Riley also shined with his lifetime best of 14.88 in the preliminary round. Like the girl's version of this event, team title implications could come into play as Upland boasts three finalists here.
Girls 400 MetersFive of the top eight in California lineup for this one! Long Beach Wilson's Aujane Luckey comes in as the top seed with her 55.18 performance last week. Her 54.87 from two weeks ago places her just off Jocelyn Niemiec's 54.85 from the Arcadia Invite. The Beckman senior brought home a 55.19 last week in running down Roosevelt junior Naomi Johnson. Johnson was a State Meet qualifier in the event in 2019 and comes in with a seasonal best of 55.20. Meanwhile, Millikan's Samarra Monrroy continues to look more like the California State Meet runner-up from 2019 as she posted her season's best of 55.63. Meanwhile, San Clemente's Caroline Hawkes is fifth in the section with her 55.74 best while Long Beach Wilson's Sadia Green (56.18) and Yucaipa's Eryn Burke (56.48) crossed with lifetime bests in advancing to the final. The Southern Section's best are here with seven of the top ten toeing the line.
Boys 400 MetersAfter dominating the Moore League finals, Long Beach Wilson stepped it up even more so last weekend. The University of Iowa-bound Phillip Jefferson earned the fifth lane in just missing his lifetime best of 48.27. As the favorite, he may be his own teammate, Leroy Crook that poses the greatest threat as he continues to improve, as evidenced by his 48.73 effort in qualifying. Downey's Alessandro Ferreira posted a personal best of 49.21 last weekend as did Tyler Nevala (49.38) of Tesoro and Long Beach Wilson sophomore Isaac Lewis (49.39). El Toro's Camden Patterson looks to replicate his South Coast League title effort of 49.01 from two weeks ago. Saugus' Brandon Cruz also advanced and lines up with a seasonal best of 49.35. Wilson can put themselves in position for the team title in this event!
Girls 100 MetersEtiwanda's Kennedi Porter comes in with the momentum from her wind-legal 11.89 victory at the Baseline League Finals and dominated her qualifying heat last week. The senior placed third in the event in 2019 and advanced to the Masters Meet. But, it's the freshman from Ayala, Kayla McBride who looked equally sharp in prelims with a wind-aided 11.98. Not much separates the field here as Long Beach Poly's Anayah Wyche ran the fastest wind-legal time (12.15) in qualifying while she also brings the experience of being a Division 3 finalist in 2019 while attending Leuzinger. Redondo Union's Eve Divinity (12.13w) continues to improve while Beckman's Yasamin Zand (12.15w) ran her sharpest race of 2021. Stevie Wu of Murrieta Mesa (12.19w) also looks to break into the top five.
Boys 100 MetersRancho Cucamonga senior Tristyn Flores reminded us why he is one the best in the Southern Section in rolling to an overwhelming 10.73 wind-legal win in his qualifying heat. But, Cajon sophomore Jeyquan Smith responded with his 10.75 win in holding off a talent group. Smith is the top sophomore in this event in California! Also throwing their talent out for display, Orange Vista's Lovewyn Don-Willies, San Jacinto's Davon Banks, and Roosevelt junior Aiden Stalnecker represent Riverside County in advancing. Meanwhile, two that had been off the radar this season and from the high desert, Travis Calloway of Knight and Highland sophomore Saheed Free crashed the party to also advance. Flores is the favorite but not by much as several newcomers will pose strong challenges.
Girls 800 MetersThree of the top five in California take to the stage in this one. Crescenta Valley's Mia Barnett garnered most of the headlines 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. Barnett ran to a solo 2:11.99 win in the qualifying round last weekend. Meanwhile, the junior Frias is having one of the best track seasons in recent memory as well. But, also coming into her own as one of California's best is Fountain Valley's Kaho Cichon. She held off a competitive field to win the Orange County Championships in 2:11.46. Katella's Ashlyn Viramontes prefers to sit back in the early going but watch for her strong kick as she looked comfortable in her 2:16.01 performance last week. She ran 2:13.18 behind Cichon last month at the OCC. Foothill freshman Shavonne McHugh rolled to a two-second best (2:16.89) last weekend. Watch for Diamond Bar freshman L'Mio Edwards. She may have qualified ninth with a 2:17.77 but for context, had run a 58.53 not too much earlier in just missing qualifying in the 400 meters.
Boys 800 MetersView the hope of competing for the 2021 Team Title, Great Oak is leaning heavily on Kyle Reden and Mateo Joseph in this one. As Joseph (1:53.63 seasonal best) controlled the pace in his heat victory, Reden (1:54.26) sat back and unleashed his patented kick over the last 300 meters to win his. Both go in as the top two seeds and have run the top two times of those in the field. Tesoro's Graham Breiter raced to a 1:55.82 lifetime best last weekend as did Oxnard's Ryan Fabian (1:56.69). Fabian had not run under 2:06 as a month ago! Cory Hatchel of Tesoro ran his 2021 best of 1:56.75 several weeks ago while Nathan England, the only boy coming back from competing in the 1600 meters, brings 1:56.76 seasonal best to the track. Long Beach Wilson sophomore Marcel Francis-Michell (1:57.55) and La Quinta's Patrick Henderson (1:57.62) both advanced with personal bests last weekend.
Girls 300 HurdlesIn what is now one of the more competitive events on the schedule, the top three in the Southern Section and four of the top five all get into the blocks here. In a great matchup, Long Beach Poly's Jade McDonald moved past Upland's Cieanna Norman-Thomas over the final 50 meters to roll to a 43.57 lifetime best. This being an event she has not always focused on, McDonald moved up to the top of the section and fourth in California. As a Division 2 finalist in 2019, Woodbridge's Emily Waller had been chasing her lifetime best of 44.57 - until last weekend. She came up with her best of 44.06 to move up to second in the section. Norman-Thomas (44.14) and teammate, Ajah Anderson (44.29) are not too far behind while Yucaipa's Jordyn Burke (45.06 seasonal best) just missed breaking 45-seconds for the first time. Ayala's Ariana Gonzalez advanced with her lifetime best of 46.19 while Burbank's Emma Cusumano will have fewer events this weekend and will attempt to improve upon her 46.22 best.
Boys 300 HurdlesThis event is now wide open with Long Beach Wilson's Patrick Jefferson looking to pull off rare double victories in the 400 and 300 Hurdles. The last boy to accomplish that feat was Reggie Wyatt of La Sierra in 2009 (who also won the 200 that same season!!). Jefferson's 38.33 is the fourth-fastest mark in California for 2021. Meanwhile, Trabuco Hills' Carson Kaminski improved to a 38.60, matching the seasonal best of Upland sophomore Kai Graves-Blanks. Lincoln Marschall of Los Alamitos checks in with a 39.51 best in 2021 while Long Beach Poly will look for valuable points from Je'Cory Harris. He looks to improve upon his best of 39.60 while Upland's Davis Davis-Lyric may also play a critical role in garnering points for this squad.
Girls 200 MetersNaomi Johnson of Roosevelt rolled to a lifetime wind-legal best of 24.38. This being the second-fastest in California, she moves in as the slight favorite. But, she has company as Long Beach Wilson sophomore Sadia Green also ran a 24.38 (+3.0 wind) will get into the blocks next to Johnson. After a late start to the season, Millikan junior Samarra Monrroy is coming into her own and looked sharp in her 24.65 effort, placing behind Johnson in her heat. Redondo Union's Eve Divinity will compete in four events this weekend as she placed behind Green (24.89w) while Yucaipa's Eryn Burke (24.41 wind-legal best) held off Ayala's Kayla McBride. With the Ayala freshman establishing a new school record, Etiwanda's Kennedi Porter also advanced as she had in 2019.
Boys 200 MetersAfter Malik Harness of Long Beach Poly exploded to a 21.72 wind-legal performance at the Moore League finals, he backed it up with a wind-aided 21.64 heat victory to automatically advance. But, Cajon sophomore JeyQuan Smith remains the favorite in motoring to a 21.55 performance, just off his 21.39 from a dual meet several weeks ago. While Smith gets into the blocks ranked second in California with that effort, Tristyn Flores of Rancho Cucamonga is seeking the upset. Flores captured the Baseline League title in 21.81 and held off a solid field in qualifying. Right behind Flores, Lovewyn Don-Willies of Orange Vista (21.95) rolled to new lifetime best while Aliso Niguel junior Charlie Jarvis won his heat to also automatically advance. Jarvis ran a 21.85 on this same track two weeks ago. Sophomore upstart from Highland, Saheed Free returns back from the 100 meters as he qualified with a 22.11.
Girls 3200 MetersWith this year's being so condensed, Crescenta Valley's Mia Barnett will drop the 3200 meters. Her 9:52.23 performance from April is the fourth fastest in California prep history but with her eyes set on going after the California prep record for the 1600 meters lying ahead in three weeks in Washington, she is choosing to sit this one out. Now in the driver's seat sits Saugus' Hannah Fredericks as her 10:21.54 seasonal best is fourth in California. The senior looked as sharp as ever in qualifying last week as she created a 50-meter lead over the field on the sixth lap in the matter of 300 meters. Claremont's Jie Yi Denise Chen also impressed, just missing her seasonal best of 10:46.56. Aliso Niguel's Emily Richards (10:28.74 best in 2021 and fourth in the Southern Section) held back with the goal of simply qualifying while Rancho Cucamonga senior Allie Scimia continued her breakout season with a lifetime best of 11:01.74. Also advancing, the Mira Costa duo of Anna Chittenden and Ella Parsley have broke dipped under 10:55 this season.
Boys 3200 MetersIf there is one event with more uncertainty of who will emerge as the champion, it is this one! Beckman senior Zeid Hussain has dropped the 1600 meters to focus solely on the 3200 as he steps onto the track with a 9:01.53 in that epic all-California only 3200 meters at Arcadia last month (he was 17th place!!). The only other boy to break 9:15 this season is ML King's Francisco Zavaleta who confidently won his heat last weekend. Newbury Park's Aaron Cantu will have, perhaps, the most talented prep cheering section that we've ever witnessed as he came home with a strong last lap to win his heat in a lifetime best of 9:19.87. Claremont junior Chris Coles was the surprise in the field, crossing with a 17-second personal best in advancing in 9:20.95. As of a month ago, his lifetime best was 9:46! Vista Murrieta's Noah Murasmith and owns a seasonal best of 9:15.96. Loyola junior Richard Moreno delivered his best a week ago with a 9:21.31 as did Santa Monica's Tristan Amell (9:21.45), Owen Kobett of Westlake (9:22.20) and Mira Costa's Colin Beale (9:22.20).
Girls 1600 RelayWith everything panning out, Long Beach Poly looks to have already solidified the team title coming into the last event. Five of the top eight squads in the Southern Section are all set to go with Yucaipa coming in as the slight favorite. The Thunderbirds brought home a new school record of 3:52.14 in winning their heat last weekend. But, more impressive was the quartet from Long Beach Wilson as they rolled to a seasonal best of 3:52.26 in capturing their heat by almost 14 seconds! Behind those two, Roosevelt (3:57.09) checked in with the best in 2021 with Vista Murrieta improving by three seconds in their 3:57.88 showing. Long Beach Poly pushed them to the finish in crossing in 3:58.13 while El Toro followed Roosevelt in their heat with a 4:01.01 best for 2021.
Boys 1600 RelayLong Beach Wilson comes in as the heavy favorite as their 3:17.74 time from the Arcadia is the best in California. As impressive as their 3:18.69 was in last week's qualifying eight-second victory, it was evident that they have much more in them. Saugus closed strong to catch Long Beach Poly at the line in both crossing in identical 3:21.68. Poly holds the edge with their 3:20.86 clocking at Arcadia last month but Saugus moved up to fifth on the season for the Southern Section. Great Oak seemingly has another gear in them as they moved away with their 3:23.64 qualifying effort. Meanwhile, Murrieta Mesa came from behind to earn the automatic bid in their 3:24.43 effort. This event could very well determine the 2021 Boys Team Champion!
Girls DiscusThe top five all advanced with lifetime bests at last weekend's prelims! Cherish Washington of Lakewood is back as a three-time Division 1 finalist in this event as well! She uncorked a 151-11 lifetime best last weekend moved her into the top 10 on the All-Time Division 1 list. 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 142-10 performance from prelims 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 thrived last weekend in improving to 131-11 effort. Vista Murrieta's Carlita Coleman put out her lifetime best of 128-1 last weekend as well. Celeste Aguilar of Saugus captured the Foothill League title and checks in with a 125-10 seasonal best while Long Beach Poly's Destiny Okoh (124-4 best in 2021) looks to assist in the team title cause.
Girls High JumpZharia Taylor of Long Beach Poly is only one of three girls in the Southern Section with a 5-6 clearance. She is seeking valuable points to help her squad earn their first title since 2017. Mariah Stensby of Aliso Niguel, Santiago's Kathryn Rust, and Ayala's Ariana Gonzalez all came into last weekend with 5-4 bests and elevated over 5-2 to advance. Orange Vista sophomore Kailah Mackenzie checked in with a 5-3 best when she outlasted Valley View freshman Amara Thomas (also at 5-3) at the Inland Empire Championships as both also levitated over the 5-2 bar to advance. Mackenzie Kirk of Los Alamitos has also cleared 5-3 this season. We referred to San Clemente's Natalie Vissman as a 'sleeper' last weekend and she lived up to the billing in advancing once again. She also owns a lifetime best of 5-3. As fickle an event can be, Taylor is the favorite based on her 5-6 clearance this season.
Girls Triple JumpThis event features three athletes that have earned State Meet medals in the event! Jade McDonald of Long Beach Poly steps to the runway again with the top mark (38-11.5) in last weekend's prelims. She placed sixth at the 2018 California State Meet and came back to place seventh in 2019 for this event. With a seasonal wind-aided best of 39-10, she will clash with Great Oak's Summer Stevenson. The senior is the only girl in the stadium looking to defend their title from 2019 and she became the third in her family to earn a title in this event over a four-year span. Burbank's Jayla Flowers placed third at the 2019 Division 1 final en route to eventually earned the fifth-place medal at the State Meet! Great Oak's Sami Bollinger bounded out to a 38-7 wind-legal effort last month at Arcadia while she just missed advancing to the State Meet in 2019. ML King sophomore Alyssa Hope improved out to a 37-00.75 lifetime best last weekend while Los Alamitos' Mackenzie Kirk also easily advanced. Like the Long Jump, the Southwestern League advanced four as Temecula Valley's Ahnyx Bush and Vista Murrieta's Arlanna Flower earned one more week of competition.
Boys Pole VaultWith five of the top ten boys in California advancing, most projected to advance last week did so. Those five are amongst the top six in the Southern Section 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 PR in 2019, Gault-Crabb was a finalist two years ago. In a great battle for the Big VIII League title two weeks ago, Roosevelt junior Hunter Obrien cleared the 15-4 bar for the first time. ML King's Jared Beasley placed second at 15-0, but checks in with a seasonal best of 15-3. With his PR of 15-1 coming two weeks ago in capturing the Sea View League title, Josh Kato of San Juan Hills easily advanced in clearing 14-6. Jack Wright of Great Oak is looking to get back to his 15-2 lifetime best he set back in 2019. Wright has cleared 14-9 in 2021 and looking to add points to help his team compete for the team title.
Boys Shot PutOn 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, Jordan's Xavier Heard continues to improve! Heard captured the Moore League title (51-9) two weeks ago but stepped it up another notch at last week's prelims with a 53-4 lifetime best, elevating him to ninth in the Southern Section. Alex Probolsky of Aliso Niguel brings a 53-9.25 seasonal best, recorded in this same ring two weeks, and is the eighth-best mark in the Southern Section. Great Oak's James Wright (52-5) seeks valuable team points. The top two sophomores in California also advanced in the form of Westlake's Adam Laycock (52-9) and Redondo Union's Kai Deines (50-11.25 seasonal best).
Boys Triple JumpLike his sister, Great Oak junior JC Stevenson enters the action as the top seed. He looks to be the fourth Stevenson to earn the Division One title in the Triple Jump over the past six seasons! Coming off his 48-10.5 performance to capture the Southwestern League title two weeks ago, 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 includes 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 is the top sophomore in California as he bounded out to the top mark in qualifying at a wind-legal 45-2. ML King's Brandon Benson advanced as projected as well. Six finalists are underclassmen here!
Mark Gardner is a teacher, former coach, in-demand announcer, and a regular contributor to MileSplitCA, serving as the Southern Section editor.
Photos by Zoe Medranda.