RECAP: CA State Championships


In this file video, watch Mater Dei junior Domani Jackson run away with the CIF-Southern Section Division 2 title for 100m in 10.48. He was even faster this past weekend. 

After a delayed season full of uncertainties, with limited postseasons taking place long after most graduations along with the cancellation of the CIF-State Track and Field Championships, we found that there still some individuals that have much more to prove!

Leading that charge and providing the one last 'state meet' opportunity were our MileSplit partners from Finished Results and Chris Drescher. Also assisting were the folks from VS Athletics along with the leadership from Arcadia Invitational Meet Manager, Rich Gonzalez.

Sizzling Sprints Steal the Show!

Mater Dei's Domani Jackson erupted out of the blocks and rolled across the track to tie the long-time California State Record of 10.25 in the 100 meters! The record, held by Henry Thomas of Hawthorne goes back to 1985, will now have to share Jackson at the top of the all-time list! Coming into the day, the junior was 'only' ranked 16th in the nation and crossed with the second-best prep in the nation. For additional perspective, the current State Meet record sits at 10.30.  

But, aside from the complimentary +1.7 wind-legal push, Jackson had to earn every stride down the track as Serra sophomore Rodrick Pleasant was by his side up until the final ten meters.

With Pleasant's 10.32 clocking, he shattered the old sophomore-class California State record with the 12th fastest effort in state history!

But, he was not done!

Becoming the true star of the meet, Pleasant returned back to establish ANOTHER state class record in rolling to an overwhelming 20.59 victory in the 200 meters!  This pushed aside Vista Murrieta's Michael Norman's 20.82 sophomore class record established in 2014. 

Pleasant, who did not compete in 2021 until six weeks ago, came into high school with success at the club level and had previously shined with his CIF-SS Division 4 titles two weeks ago. Pleasant's two performances also serve as the single greatest day in California prep sprint history... regardless of grade!

Servite's Max Thomas also turned in two solid efforts with his 10.52 third-place finish in the 100 meters before coming back for a lifetime best of 21.35 in the 200 meters. 

With all three men being underclassmen, have your seatbelts buckled for the 2022 season!  

In the girls' sprints, state-leader in the 100 meters, Madison's Aysha Shaheed controlled both shorter sprints. Her 10.68 wind-legal came in holding off Carson's Reign Redmond (11.83) and Buchanan's Lauren Fowler (11.84).  Before heading off to UC-Berkeley this Fall, Shaheed also established a lifetime best of 24.07, finishing ahead of Fowler (24.37) in the 200 meters.   

Clovis North's Takiya Cenci brought home the victory in the 400 meters (54.71), placed fifth in the 200 (24.79) before anchoring her squad to the second-fastest time (3:48.03) in California for 2021 in the 4x400 relay. Also representing the Central Section, Central's Jeremiah Walker (47.64) held off fast-charging Michael Holland of Moorpark (47.98) for the victory. Walker's 47.43 from Friday's prelims is the fastest time in the state.

The girls' 800 provided the fireworks in the distance events. Whereas most of the distance talent in California shut it down for the season, the talent in this event did not follow suit with five of the top six in the state toeing the line.

After emerging onto the national scene on this same track in early May, Chino's Mia Chavez moved away for the victory in a lifetime best of 2:08.12 over Fountain Valley's Kaho Cichon and her school-record effort of 2:08.86. Mira Costa's Dalia Frias (2:09.43), La Canada's Ellaney Matarese and Mayfield's Audrey Suarez (2:10.85) all establishing lifetime bests.

More impressive with Stanford-bound Suarez is that she was returning from her 4:47.07 win in the 1600 meters. She was able to overcome the leg speed of La Canada freshman Arielle McKenzie, whose 4:48.96 has seen her improve in the event by over 14 seconds in the past month alone.

In the 3200 meters, Stormy Wallace of Sage Creek boldly moved away from the pack on the third lap. She continued to increase her lead from there with a wire-to-wire solo lifetime best of 10:31.65 performance as she also broke her older sister's school record in the process.

For the boys, the field remained in contact with one another all throughout. With his third major victory on this same track in the past three months, Laguna Beach's Mateo Bianchi (UCLA-bound) maintained form with a 60-second last lap to cross in a lifetime best of 9:02.03. With the lead switching between five different individuals over the last 600-meters, Davis' Zachary Ayers (9:02.46) pushed Bianchi to the end with Bella Vista's Sean Lacey (9:03.11) also battling those two all throughout the last lap.   

San Diego's Charlize James ran away from the field with a 14.10 lifetime best that elevates her to the third-fastest mark in San Diego Section history and the second-fastest in California for 2021. Her previous best had been 14.25, run on the same Arcadia track earlier last month. In the Girls 300 hurdles, Monrovia's Madeleine Conte came into the final three flights with a sizeable lead but Vacaville's Aspin Oliver exploded into that final straight, passing Conte for the 42.83 victory.

Poway's Maxwell Jefferson challenged Cathedral's Anthony Taylor all throughout before moving away over the last two hurdles to the 14.23 - 14.35 win in the 110 High Hurdles. Brea Olinda's Peyton Kilheffer (37.87) led for most of the 300 Hurdles before Fort Bragg's Russel Gordon passed him on the last hurdle for a solid lifetime best of 37.79.  Gordon's best was 38.39 coming into the day.

Kicking off the action on the track, the girls of Carson ran away with the victory in the 400-relay. Anchored by Redmond, the 46.56 seasonal best is the second-fastest in California.

On the boys' side, in a flurry of lead exchanges over the last 150 meters, Mission Hills' Kyle Smith held off Mater Dei's Jackson, Rancho Cucamonga's Tristyn Flores and Central's Walker to the 41.56 victory. With the camera earning its pay, Mater Dei was clocked at 41.57, with Rancho Cucamonga (41.67) and Central (41.68) within an arms reach as well. 

Highlighting the field events, Westlake's Paige Sommers ended her illustrious career with the 13-8 victory in the Pole Vault. Concluding a busy month where she set a new national prep record at 14-9, while also competing against some of the best in the world at the Olympic Trials earlier in the week, Sommers moves on to Duke this upcoming Fall.

Del Norte's Allison Leigh also cleared 13-8 and placed second on misses. She will have one more season as she joined Sommers two weeks ago as only one of five girls to clear 14-0 feet in California prep history.

Staying with the San Diego section, who boasted strong performances all throughout, heavy favorite and Stanford-bound, Garrett Brown of La Costa Canyon lived up to the expectations. Still competing after the action on the track had concluded along with several strong efforts at the 17-0 bar, Brown took the win with a clearance of 16-6.  

Liberty's Faith Bender measured out to a lifetime best of 173-9 to capture the Discus, moving her into the top 20 in California State history. This effort also moved her to the top of the national list while the two-time State Meet medalist is headed off to Arizona State this Fall.  In the girls Shot Put, Del Norte's Noelle Elkinton left the ring with the 42-11.75 victory.

On the boys' side, Downey's Ugonna Ikejiofor captured the title by almost 19 feet in his 192-0 performance. Just off his state-leading best of 193-10, the UCLA-bound graduate captured the CIF-SS Division 1 title two weeks ago. Murrieta Mesa junior Cade Moran took the win in the Shot Put with 60-2.5 effort. While also placing third in the Discus, Moran's lifetime best came on Friday night with his state-leading 63-1.75 performance.

The Central Coast Section champion, Will Denning of Junipero Serra bounded out to the 46-3.5w victory in the Triple Jump. Oaks Christian's Gabriel Martin came in the best performance in California and stay true to form with the 23-7 wind-legal victory in the Long Jump. Jailen Burrell of Upland, who had scratched his jumps at the Baseline League Finals, placed second with a 23-4 effort.

While Vista Murrieta's Darius Hill placed third in the Long Jump, he elevated up over the 6-8 bar for the easy victory in the High Jump. In a competition that witnessed eight girls clear the 5-3 bar, Maia Garcia of Pinewood earned the title on the girls' side with a 5-5 performance as it came down to misses against Carmel's Lauren Pritchard.  

Buchanan's Lauren Fowler was busier than most in not only claiming medals in the 100 and 200-meter affairs, but her wind-legal 19-2 performance won the Long Jump. The tight competition featured Golden Valley's Kylee Davis claiming the runner-up medal at 19-1.

Before heading off to join her brother at Texas A&M this Fall, Great Oak's Summer Stevenson earned the win in the Triple Jump with a solid 38-10 wind-aided effort.  

Mark Gardner is a regular contributor to MileSplitCA and serves as the Southern Section editor.

Cover file photo by Patrick Corsinita.