MEETS ON TAP: CA Winter Track And Field Championships


It's back!  After a one-year layoff, the CA Winter Championships is back!  Originating 10 years ago and looking to replicate the Indoor Track Season that many in the East and Northern portions of the nation, the meet will once again be hosted at Arcadia High School. 

Let's jump to it as the top-tiered talent assembled this weekend looks to be a preview of what we will see this upcoming 2022 outdoor track and field season! 

All athletes will compete 'unattached' but for general reference, we will provide their high school affiliation.  Check out your event-by-event breakdown below. 



Girls 60 meters
The top qualifier is James Madison sophomore, Amirah Shaheed.  As a freshman, she placed second at the San Diego Section-CIF meet last June for the 100 meters in a lifetime best of 12.04.  Golden Valley junior Ta'Ahjah Fann and Thousand Oaks' Shelby Richmond also rolled under 7.75 in qualifying.  Both were CIF-SS Division 2 finalists in 2021, with Fann qualifying in the 100 and 200 and Richmond in the 200 and 400 (runner-up at 55.94).  Also watch for a strong contingent from Long Beach Poly, headlined by the 2021 Division 1 runner-up for the 100 meters in Aniyah Wyche.  Patrick Henry's Daniella Smith and Agoura's Lauren Thai were also among the group to break 7.80 in qualifying.  

Girls 150 meters
An accomplished long jumper as well, Redondo Union's Eve Divinity enters as the top seed with her qualifying time of 18.07.  She was a CIF-SS Division 1 finalist in the 100 and 200 in 2021 but she will have to hold off JW North's Raykiyat Olukaju, who ran an 18.18 to qualify. In leading her squad to the team title in Division 2 a year ago and one of the state's top sprint talents, she shined with titles in the 100 (11.67w) and 200 meters (23.89).  Mission Hills' Deja Thomas,  Roosevelt's Dakota Minor, and Helix' Laraigh Allen qualified in under 18.70 but keep your eyes wide open for Golden Valley's Adonijah Currie and Madison's Shaheed.  

Girls 300 meters
One of the top returners in the nation with a 54.25 lifetime best for the 400 meters, Roosevelt's Naomi Johnson enters as the favorite.  But Glendora's Maya Shinnick and JW North's Olukaju will push her.  Watch for Ayala's Kayla McBride, who as a freshman, was a D-1 finalist in the 100 and 200 in 2021.  GV's Currie was the 2021 D-2 champion in the 400 meters (55.64).  Thomas of Mission Hills, Fann of Golden Valley, and LB Poly's Kennadi Reed all qualified with sub-41 second efforts.   

Girls 600 meters
La Canada's Arielle McKenzie checks in with the top qualifying time of 1:35.06 as the sophomore was one of the top freshman 800/1600 specialists in 2021.  As the defending CIF-SS Division 3 champion in both events, her greatest challenge should come from Aliyah Williams of Edison (Stockton) who shined in her 1:36.46 effort. The defending CIF-SS Division 1 champion, Kaho Cichon of Fountain Valley is also one to watch but hidden down on the heat sheets, do not overlook Chino's Mia Chavez. She captured titles in the 800 and 1600 meters at the 2021 Division 2 final.    

Girls 1500 meters
Already displaying a vast improvement from 2021, Branson's Adeline Johnson enters with the top qualifying effort of 4:43.94.  But she will have some of the Southern Section's top talents pushing her, led by the JSerra trio of Ashlee Gallegos, Brynn Garcia, and Georgia Jeanneret.  La Canada's McKenzie comes in with the top lifetime best in the 1600 meters (4:48.96) while Claremont's Denise Chen and Chino's Chavez also own sub-5:00 minute lifetime bests for 1600 meters.    

Girls 3000 meters
Chen of Claremont qualified with the top time (10:32.52) after coming off a 2021 season that saw her as one of the top freshmen in California.  Her lifetime best for the 3200 is 10:46.56. The top challengers would come from the much-improved Danielle Hollander of Beverly Hills.  Allura Markow of Dana Hills is the defending Division 2 champion for the 3200 meters and comes in with a lifetime best of 11:00.86 for the event.  

Girls 60-meter Hurdles

San Diego High's Charlize James, runner-up at the 2020 Winter Champs as a sophomore and the SDS-CIF Open champion meet last June, comes in as one of the best in the nation with a 14.14w lifetime best for the 100-meter hurdles. Emerging onto the scene last June, Kailah McKenzie of Orange Vista was the Southern Section D-1 runner-up in 2021 for the 100 hurdles (14.25w). Perhaps the favorite, making the trip down from Stockton, Lincoln High's Yvette Harris brings her 14.27 wind-legal best back to the same Arcadia track where she placed second in the all-CA invitational last May. Monrovia's Madeleine Conte is the state's top 300-meter hurdler returning and will also lace it up.  

Girls 4x200 Relay
Orange Vista, from Riverside, comes in as the top seed with a qualifying time of 1:47.26.  Buena (1:49.83), Mission Hills (1:50.10) are LB Jordan (1:50.86) will also occupy those middle lanes of the track.  

Girls Sprint Medley Relay (1-1-2-4)
Carson enters with the top qualifying time of 1:50.93, just ahead of Arcadia's 1:51.08.  The same quartet from Orange Vista in the 4x200 return for this relay as they enter the meet with a 1:52.56 qualifying mark.  

Girls 4x800 Relay
The top two powerhouses in California last year look to continue the rivalry in 2022!  La Canada ran a 9:01.95 last year to place fourth in the nation and return three of those legs.  Meanwhile, JSerra's 9:15.12 was second in the state and they return all four legs.  This should be a great preview of what we will see on this same track in early April!  

Girls Distance Medley Relay
This will be a battle between the distance powers of Great Oak, and Claremont, as over the past decade, these two programs tend to find themselves towards the top of the list for California. Two of the state's top underclassmen look to anchor their squads with Kelli Gaffney from Great Oak and Denise Chen representing Claremont. 


Girls High Jump
Golden Valley comes in looking to put on a show in the jumps and it all starts with Meagan Humphries.  Her 5-6 best in 2021 vaulted her as one of the top freshmen in the nation as she placed third in Southern Section Division 2 last year. Her teammate, Kylee Davis also cleared 5-6 a year ago and had a 5-5 performance just three weeks ago.  Valley View's Amara Thomas and Los Alamitos' Mackenzie Kirk join in with 5-4 lifetime bests. 

Girls Pole Vault
The North San Diego County juggernaut of pole vault talent will take to the runway as the top four girls in California headline.  Del Norte's Allison Leigh comes in with a 14-0 lifetime best while Poway's Avery Hilliard qualified in matching her lifetime best of 13-0.  Leigh's teammate, Nicole Loy, cleared 13-0 in this same stadium last June while Lexi Evans of Scripps Ranch also comes in with 13-foot credentials. While Evans is coming off a 12-10 performance last weekend, Poway's Evangeline Thomson (12-6) and Fallbrook's Rose Wagner (12-2) highlight what very well may be the deepest and most competitive event of the day! 

Girls Long Jump
Some of the Southern Section's best convene here as Redondo Union's Eve Divinity and Golden Valley's Meagan Humphries come in with the top qualifying marks. Along with Divinity, Long Beach Poly's Lauren Reed was also a Division 1 finalist in the event in 2021. But Kylee Davis of Golden Valley (pictured) enters with the top wind-aided lifetime best of 19-2.25 when she captured the Division 2 title last year.  

Girls Triple Jump
Golden Valley's Olivia Dowd bounded her way into the headlines two weeks ago with a huge 39-9 performance.  Unheralded before that effort, she now places herself amongst one of the best in the nation.  Also smashing any previous bests from 2021, Zoe Tibbo of South Pasadena qualified with a 36-6 effort while Long Beach Poly's Reed and Golden Valley's Humphries have added the event to their already impressive resumes.  Do not overlook Muir's Kelaiyah Johnston as her 37-8.5 wind-legal best came in the same Arcadia pit last June.  

Girls Shot Put
Etiwanda junior Sinaiah Pointer already improved by over two feet from her best in qualifying with a 40-1 effort.  She was a Division 1 finalist in 2021.  Carson sophomore Lauryn Williams qualified with a 38-6 effort, a vast improvement over her 35-8 best from last season.  The only other athlete that has 37-foot-plus credentials is Taylor Hofland of Los Alamitos, and like Pointer, who was a D-1 finalist in 2021.   

Girls Weight Throw
A gateway to adding the hammer throw to resumes for college. Making the trip from up north, look for Sonora's Erica Walker, who comes in off a lifetime best of 43-11.25.  South Torrance sophomore Mackenzie Monson was one of the top freshman hammer throwers in 2021.  


Girls Indoor Pentathlon

Five ladies are scheduled to take on this challenge with Tierra Crockrell's meet standard of 3622 likely beyond anyone's reach here and for years to come. Participants scheduled are Lincoln (SJ) junior Yvette Harris, Elsinore senior Jalyn Guglielmana, Ayala senior Madeline Seifert, Pleasant Grove senior Katie Knowles, and Trinity Pacific Christian junior Giovana Pelascini


Boys 60 meters
We begin with the top seed, in Marshall's Logan Davis' 6.90 effort.  Davis' quick-twitch speed is impressive, considering how he shines most in the 200 and 400 meters, where he was a CIF-SS Division 3 finalist in 2021.  Others to qualify under 7.00 include Simi Valley's Jaelon Barbarin (6.97) and Servite's Max Thomas.  (More on Thomas below.) Barbarin transferred from Crespi.  Also watch for the fastest freshman in the nation in 2021, Oaks Christian's Chase Ferrell.  His 10.61 wind-legal effort from last May put him on everybody's radar.  Jordan's Jordan Washington also qualified in under 7.00.  With 12 heats slated for the prelims, it will be a tight fit to qualify into the last and fastest heat of nine!

Boys 150 meters
Max Thomas of Servite is the fourth-fastest returner in California for the 200 meters and enters as the top qualifier here with a 15.78.  Thomas is the defending CIF-SS Division 3 champion for the 100 and 200 meters. He will be pushed by Long Beach Poly's Jaelen Knox, who rolled on this same track last weekend to a 16.05.  Roosevelt's Tony Smith (16.09) will be seeded in lane six, outside Thomas while Oaks Christian's Chase Ferrell (16.20) looks to pull the upset.  Roosevelt's Aiden Stalnecker was a Division 1 finalist for the 100 meters last year. Also keep an eye on Villanova Prep's Liam Gair and Anthony Flowers of South Torrance.  

Boys 300 meters
Servite's Thomas steps in with the top qualifying mark in 33.67.  With the meet record of 32.90, the USC-bound senior will have to hold off Villanova Prep's Liam Gair.  Gair has already run a 48.31 for the full 400 meters last month and is one of the top returners in the state, transferring down from Exeter High in the Central Valley. Watch for Jaden Smith of St. John Bosco who comes in placing second to Thomas at the 2021 D-3 finals in the 200 after winning the 400 meters earlier that day.  The Long Beach Jordan duo of Washington and Darryll Stevens have already shown tremendous improvement. And do not overlook Cathedral's William Mullins.  

Boys 600 meters
In one of the marquee events on the day, the meet record (1:18.91) of Isaac Cortes is looking over its shoulder in this one.  One of California's top returners in Yutaka Roberts of El Camino (San Francisco) was the Central Coast Section champion in 2021 with a 1:53.32.  As he qualified in 1:20.33, Ellis Delvecchio of Thacher may be the favorite with his 1:19.33 qualifying mark. The senior was runner-up in the 800 meters in D-4 last year.  As the top freshman in the state in 2021, Long Beach Poly's Xai Ricks shined with a 1:21.04, but right behind was the fast-charging Jai Dawson of Dana Hills.  Dawson's range is one the best in the state and his aerobic strength is unmatched in this field.   

Boys 1500 meters
An event that is wide open in regard to favorites, Palo Alto sophomore Grant Morgenfeld is the top seed at 4:04.98.  Cypress senior Justin Singer, Vista Murrieta senior Lance Denhalter, Great Oak senior Carson Smith, and Menlo School junior Justin Pretre all come in with sub-4:08 qualifying times.

Boys 3000 meters
From the San Diego Section, Jimmy Byland of Hilltop qualified with a stellar 8:48.00 solo effort. Arcadia senior Will Kelley, Palo Alto's Morgenfeld, Menlo School freshman Landon Pretre, and Singer from Cypress all posted sub-9 qualifying times. Pretre's older brother Justin is next at 9:03.13 before a drop-off to the remainder of the 20-runner field.

Boys 60-meter Hurdles
UC-Berkely bound, Seth Johnson of Cajon, comes in with top credentials with a wind-legal best of 14.10 for the 110 hurdles.  He placed second in Southern Section Division 1 in 2021. Dario Rock of St. Francis (SS) qualified with the fastest time here (8.33) and placed third in D-3 a year ago.  A finalist in D-2 last year and headed off to Cal Poly Pomona this fall, Ramona's Gavin Hanes has shown great improvement with an 8.40 qualifying time. Finishing just behind Hanes in 2021 as a sophomore in the high hurdles, Jeremy Frank will look to play spoiler and upset the senior-laden field.  

Boys 4x200 Relay
The top team in California a year ago was Cathedral and the Mullins-led crew enters with the fastest qualifying time (1:29.85). Only four schools in the state for 2021 broke the 1:30.00 barrier so they are off to a great start!  LB Jordan will look to pull an upset while Mission Hills also impressed in qualifying.  

Boys Sprint Medley Relay (1-1-2-4) 
The meet record of 1:31.63 will be under assault as St. John Bosco qualified at 1:32.45. To put this in perspective, only five schools in the nation last year broke 1:32.00. The Braves look to open with one of the nation's top football talents in Rayshon Luke (California state freshman record for the 100 meters in 2019) out of the blocks. The state's best in 2021 and winners of the Outdoor Nationals (1:31.82) in this event, Cathedral will have its hands full!   

Boys 4x800 Relay
This will a two-team battle between Great Oak and its all-underclass quartet against Golden Valley.  With Great Oak countering with two sets of twins, they easily cruised to an 8:32.47 mark to qualify.  

Boys Distance Medley Relay
This battle will come down to three squads.  The group from Menlo makes the trip down from the Central Coast Section and will be led by Justin Pretre on the anchor for that 1600 meters.  Rancho Cucamonga, with Glenn Bell on anchor and Noah Pagaran leads the crew from Stockton Lincoln (SJ).    


Boys High Jump
Three boys cleared 6-2 in qualifying in San Clemente's Griffin Schwab, Tamalpais' Drake Miller, and Tyler Gonos of Clovis North. Schwab went 6-2.75 three weeks ago at LEAP Fest.  But the one to watch is Leland Lieberg of St. Francis. His 6-4 performance yielded him the CIF-SS Division 3 title in 2021.  

Boys Pole Vault
A great battle between three of California's best will be on display as Hunter Obrien of Roosevelt takes to the runway with a lifetime best of 16-0.25 from last July.  Los Alamitos' David Brok enters with a best of 15-9, achieved when he placed second at the CIF-SS Division 1 final, one place ahead of Obrien.  Ramona's Gavin Hanes owns a best of 15-4 and was the Div. 2 runner-up in 2021.  Foothill Tech's Aidan Hagerty recently posted his best of 14-7 and placed second in Div. 4 last year. 

Boys Long Jump
St. John Bosco's Camryn O'Bannon (pictured) comes in as the class of the field, coming off his Division 3 CIF title in 2021 with a wind-legal effort of 23-10, which ranks as the top returning mark in CA.  Corona del Mar's Jason Plumb qualified with a 22-5 and with a lifetime best of a wind-legal 22-9.  Golden Valley's Elijha Ellis owns several 23+ foot jumps (no wind readings) from 2021 while Javon Hampton of Long Beach Poly placed third at the CIF-SS Division 1 final a year ago.  Also, watch for Collin Harris of Dorsey who brought home the LA City Section title in 2021.  

Boys Triple Jump
O'Bannon of St. John Bosco is also the favorite here with a qualifying best of 46-3.50. He is CA's top returner with a wind-legal best of 46-1.75 achieved in winning the CIF-SS D-3 title last June. His windy 46-9 for second place at the Arcadia Invitational ranks as the No. 3 returning mark in CA. Brandon Buu of Eastlake (SD) is the only other qualifier over 45 feet. He is the returning San Diego Section D-1 champion.

Boys Shot Put
Off to the University of Michigan, Murrieta Mesa's Cade Moran, the top returning dual thrower in the state and one of the nation's top shot put returners, went 63-3.50 last week at the Vista Murrieta Winter Qualifier and has an outdoor career best of 63-6. Nikolas Iwankiw of South Pasadena qualified at 57-00.50. Others to watch include Great Oak's Aiden Pastorian, and Kai Deines of Redondo Union.

Boys Weight Throw

While Moran figures to dominate in the shot, the thower to beat here appears to be Christian Burroughs of Ontario Christian. He has a qualifying best of 58-6. Moran checks in at 51-5 with Xavier College Prep's Bryan Chang at 49-11 and Pastorian at 48-3.


Indoor Pentathlon

Cajon's Seth Johnson (pictured) will be shooting for the 3632 meet record set by Josh Farmer in 2018 with Elsinore's Elijah Yoshinaga, Ramona (SS) senior Gavin Hanes, Royal's Dustin Ritcheson, Sean Rowing of Pleasant Grove (SJ), and Milo Orona of St. Francis (SS) also scheduled to compete.   

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Mark Gardner is the Southern Section editor for MileSplitCA

Photos by Josh Barber, Daniel Hernandez, and Raymond Tran