JW North and Thousand Oaks Earn CIF-SS Division 2 Titles!


As was the case with each division, the traditional host of the Division 2 prelims, Moorpark High, also played host to the 2021 finals.  

Starting the meet with Golden Valley's Kylee Davis capturing the long jump title in a wind-legal best of 19-2.25, followed up by their California state leading 4x100 relay dropping the baton, the girls of JW North found themselves in an auspicious 22-point deficit despite being favored to win the meet by nine points.

But after that 400 relay snafu ...?

According to legendary coach and Division 2 public announcer, Ken Reeves, the JW North girls "were taking no prisoners after that, making a statement with each event."

McKenzie and Makayla Browne got the action rolling back into the right direction by earning 14 points, combined in the 800 and 1600 meters. But, it was the sprint trio of Raykiyat Olukoju, Idara Ibekwe, and Rhe Nae Leach that dominated the action in the 100 and 200 meters. With Olukoju, who was a Division 1 CIF Finalist for ML King in 2019, capturing titles in both short sprints and Ibekwe right behind her, those three garnered a head-turning 45 points in those two events! Olukoju's wind-aided 11.67 is the fastest in California under all conditions while her 23.89 vaults her up to the top of the California State leaders list as well.

Not projected to advance to the finals, Breija Stredic's marked improvement in the 300 hurdles earned the squad ten more points as she entered the postseason with a 49.00, and crossed with the divisional title in 45.07. Entering the final event with the top 1600-relay team in the state, all the Huskies had to do was secure the baton in this one 

In motoring to the 3:48.90 victory to secure their first title since 2007 and 10th in the program's illustrious history, they outlasted Golden Valley 78.5 to 71, with Mission Viejo coming up for third with 48 points. 

Another squad working to end the drought on earning a team title accomplished just that! As a prep, head coach Marlene Harmon was the catalyst behind the Thousand Oaks girl's squads earning the runner-up plaques in 1978 and 1980. She even qualified for the 1980 Olympic squad in the Heptathlon!  Coming back to her alma mater this year, she orchestrated the first boy's first team title since 1991!

Led by Daniel Sarisky's 18 points in the short sprints, while bookending the meet with victories in both relays, the Lancers lived up to our pre-meet projections.  A well-balanced attack on their part had us slated to score 67 points and with a 28-point advantage. They scored 66 but did match that exact 28-point spread!  

Supported by Ryan Tischhauser and Jeremy Frank's 12 points in both hurdles, to go along with Atticus Hall and Michael Cooper combining for seven in the 1600 meters, Thousand Oaks had the title clinched well the last event. For added measure, Shane Gray secured the fourth-place finish in the Pole Vault.

The event of the day came in the boys' 1600 meters. In the fastest edition of this event in divisional history, Royal's Angus Fitzgerald moved to the outside with 20 meters to go to cross with the 4:08.38 title. This is the third-fastest in Division 2 history while Dana Hills junior Jai Dawson also crossed in a lifetime best of 4:09.26, securing the fourth-fastest time in the division's championship history. 

The historical race did not go without controversy though as Redlands East Valley's Simon Opsahl, who had been leading with 20 meters to go, impeded the progress of Dawson from the inside lane. Opsahl who had also crossed under 4:09 was disqualified.

Chino's Mia Chavez proved that the breakout we experienced at the Arcadia Invitational last month was not a one-hit-wonder. In slowing down the pace and turning the 1600 meters in a sit-and-kick affair, she led the pack through a pedestrian 2:43 at the midway point but then unleashed with a sub-2:22 second half to secure the 5:05.01 title. In the 800, she took it out straight from the gun and rolled away to the 2:12.12 victory.

As referenced earlier with Kylee Davis launching for the victory in the long jump, she returned to earn the title in the High Jump, matching her state-leading 5-6 mark. Apple Valley's Calista Apostol matched her in a lifetime best as the title was earned by Davis with no misses until the 5-8 bar.

Another double-winner went in heavily favored and delivered as advertised - Mission Viejo's Sara Pettinger! In a lifetime best of 159-0, she captured the Discus by over 25 feet over teammate Lauren Preston (123-5). In the Shot Put, her 42-6 was also never challenged with Silverado's Isis Snowden placing second (38-2).

Peninsula's Gabrielle Pack earned the title in the Pole Vault with her lifetime best of 13-6. She had secured the title early on after her 12-8 clearance and remains second in the Southern Section.

Mission Viejo's Jada Gatlin made her father-coach proud in bounding out to a new lifetime wind-legal best of 39-0.25 in taking home the title in the Triple Jump. She had the victory secured before her final winning effort in the fourth round of jumps. Also impressing were the runner-up efforts of Mater Dei freshman Madison Forbes in both horizontal jumps. Her 18-6.75 and 37-10.75 were both wind-legal seasonal bests.    

Individual highlights on the boys' side were headlined by Mater Dei's Domani Jackson. The junior exploded out of the blocks and left no doubt in his 10.48 wind-legal showcase in the 100 meters, moving him up to the third-fastest ever in Orange County history!  His performance was also the second-fastest in Division 2 championship history behind Canyon Springs Bryan Howard's 10.43 in 1994.  

Culver City's Zaire Waring (48.36) held off Moorpark's Mike Holland (48.41) in the 400 meters with Holland returning to also earn the silver in the 200 meters (21.67w).

Royal's Matthew Russell attempted to pull off the rare 800-3200 double. In a lifetime best of 1:53.21, he achieved his first goal. In the warm after temperatures, he and Liam Mapes of Redlands East Valley shadowed one another through six laps. But, Russell was unable to match the strong surge of Mapes in the first 200 of the last lap, crossing with a second-place finish in 9:17.61. Mapes earned the title in 9:12.53.

Like his female counterpart from Mission Viejo, Golden Valley's Kienan Donovan graduates with two throwing titles! It came down to the final round where he was second to West Ranch's Matthew Krogh, but he pulled it out with a 58-6 launch in the Shot Put. In the Discus, things did not come easy as well. After fouls in the first two rounds, he measured out a 159-10 that ended up being just enough to counter Ventura's Victor MuroMurillo's 158-2 from the first round.

Austin Hernandez of Canyon Country Canyon went into the day seeking to pull off three individual titles. The challenge of navigating between the long and high jumps at the same time paid its toll and he placed second in the long jump to make up for his surprising seventh-place finish in the High Jump.  But, he ended the day on a positive in earning the Division 2 title in the 110 Hurdles (14.73w).

The Pacific Coast League was well represented in the horizontal jumps with Irvine's Dylan Fox measuring out to the 22-8.5 victory despite jumping into a good headwind. Meanwhile, Northwood's Myles Carter turned the trick in the triple jump (46-9.5).

Mark Gardner is a teacher, former coach, in-demand announcer, and a regular contributor to MileSplitCA, serving as the Southern Section editor.


Photos by Josh Barber.