CIF-SOUTHERN SECTION TRACK AND FIELD
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MOORPARK -- On a day longed for by so many, where for the first time since 2019, all four divisions would congregate at the same facility to crown champions spread across 128 events, it truly became an afternoon of celebration....and speed!
With the sun setting at the Moorpark High facility, eight new team champions were crowned with several of them coming down to the very last 4x400 relay!
Serra of Gardena was the only program that took home two championships plaques with their boys putting a halt to the five-year string of Oaks Christian with a 95-72 victory over those same Lions. This was their first divisional championship since 2013. On the girls' side, in a much closer affair, the Cavaliers outlasted Oaks Christian, 83-78 for their first title since 2014. Like their boys, they earned 48 points in the sprints, and bookended by victories in both relays, the Cavaliers had just enough to win the title.
In what we had pegged down as a three-team battle between Sherman Oaks Notre Dame, JSerra, and Calabasas for the Girls Division 3 title, it was defending champion that felt disrespected and crashed the party to take the lead going into the final 4x400 relay. But the Coyotes of Calabasas came through with the victory, to leapfrog Harvard-Westlake to the tune of an 80-79 score. After earning runner-up plaques from 2016 to 2019, this was their first title. JSerra had 75 with Notre Dame going home with 71 points.
With victories in both relays to begin and end the meet, everything else in between went as planned for the Phantoms of Cathedral. By a score of 74-62.5 over Servite, Cathedral earned its first team title while Servite was able to outlast St. John Bosco, which had gone in as co-favorites with Cathedral.
The girls from Golden Valley were the most heavily favored squad coming into the day and delivered with ease, the program's first team title. After earning the runner-up award in 2021, they scored 36 points in the jumps led by senior Kylee Davis, with an additional 33 points coming from the sprints to help comprise 86 combined points. The battle for second was intriguing, with Culver City coming in with the 4x400 relay win to earn 43 to beat out Thousand Oaks (41).
If one squad pushed all the right buttons on this day, it was the boys of Long Beach Jordan. Starting the meet with the 400 relay win, individual victories in the 100, 200 (both by sophomore Jordan Washington), and 300 hurdles set the stage for the final relay. In placing third in the 1600 relay, the Panthers leapfrogged Mater Dei, 60-58, for the championship.
Upland planned on earning its first title on the strength of the dynamic quartet of hurdlers. On this day, they did just that by earning 44 points combined between the two events. With an additional 18 in the sprints along with a runner-up finish in the 400 relay -- the Highlanders sat back with their 68 points and watched the final events unfold. Defending champions, Long Beach Wilson captured the 4x400 relay to move into second overall, just ahead of Great Oak 49-47. Upland did it despite losing senior Delaney Crawford, who fell in the 110m hurdles that was won by junior Kai Graves-Blanks with teammates Davis Davis Lyric and DeQuan January also landing on the awards stand. Crawford redeemed himself later with an emphatic victory in the 300m hurdles.
In what lived up to the pre-meet expectations of a close encounter, Roosevelt came up with the runner-up finish in the girls 4x400 to leap over Long Beach Poly and clinch the 61-60 victory. These two programs have switched over the past several years, with Roosevelt taking the title in 2019. LB Wilson's win on that last relay moved them to 57 points to finish third overall.
With the heat and favorable wind that tends to prevail at Moorpark this time of the year, we had an idea that the sprinters would take advantage, and did they ever!
On the same stage as some of California's best, Serra junior Rodrick Pleasant was truly THE star, scurrying to a 10.16 (+2.7) wind-aided performance which went down as the second-fastest time in California state history under all conditions. He later backed it up, shattering his own Division 4 meet record established last year, with a 20.40 national-leading effort that leaves him only behind the great Michael Norman on the all-time California state list! Combined, this was the single greatest day for any California sprinter in state history! And he still has two more weeks to go.... and oh - that's right! He's still only a junior!
But, with the distance stars battling the elements, it was truly the sprinters who stole the headlines.
Before Pleasant took over, his female Serra counterparts shined with their 1-2-3, highlighted by junior Jordan Washington's wind-legal 11.55 for the fastest time in California since 2019 and up to sixth in the nation! Teammate, Brazil Neal crossed in 11.71. Up next, Harvard-Westlake junior Alyssa Thompson scampered for a wind-legal 11.69. Redondo Union's Eve Divinity snagged the victory in the Division 1 affair at 11.74, albeit it was wind-aided (+3.1).
Serra's Washington later returned with a new state-leading wind-legal best of 23.68 to move up ninth in the nation. Golden Valley junior Adonijah Currie rolled to a 23.82 while the Division 1 girls had to manage a wind-aided race where Roosevelt's Naomi Johnson took the title in 23.69w (+2.4) while holding off LB Wilson's Aujane Luckey (23.82w).
Earlier, Roosevelt's Johnson brought home the victory in the 400 meters in 54.44, the top time of the day. (She also ran a breath-taking anchor split on that runner-up 4x4.) Wilson's Luckey closed well with a 54.83. In the Division 3 girls final, Ava McCumber Gandara of Notre Dame stepped up with a huge lifetime best of 54.66 to improve by almost a full second.
Of the boys that took the stage just after Pleasant's romp, Servite's Max Thomas defended his title in the 100 meters with a 10.35w (+3.8), just ahead of Chaminade's Patrick Ize-Iyamu's 10.38w while wind-legal state leader, Rayshon Luke (10.60) of St. John Bosco did not advance to the Masters Meet (which required a top-9 overall time in the laned races and top-12 overall in all other events, top-12 plus ties in field events). Behind Pleasant in the Division 4 final, Elijah Gipson of Oaks Christian rode the vapor to a 10.45w to advance.
Long Beach Jordan's Jordan Washington has been on fire as of late and brought home the 10.37w victory over Simi Valley's Jaelon Barbarin (10.57w) while the future is now in the image of Los Alamitos freshman Devin Bragg! Taking advantage of the +3.6 wind assistance, Bragg erupted for a 10.35w to out lean LB Poly's Jaelen Knox at 10.39w! Foothill's Austin Overn (10.45w) and Tesoro's Dominic Gates (10.49w) also brought in sub-10.50 efforts.
After Pleasant's fireworks kicked off the 200 meters, Servite's Thomas defended his title once again with a wind-legal 20.68, breaking his own Orange County record and breaking into the top 10 on the all-time California state list and fifth all-time in Southern Section history! Chaminade's Ize-Iyamu gave chase for a lifetime best of 21.05 while St. John Bosco's Jaden Smith rolled in at 21.18. Marshall's Logan Davis placed fourth at 21.33 making this one of the fastest, regardless of divisions, wind-legal 200-meter races in divisional finals history!
LB Jordan's Washington doubled up with the victory at 20.93w along with West Ranch's Chris Goode at 21.01w. Closing it out, LB Poly's Knox crossed at 20.77w with Upland's Christopher Coats advancing with his 21.21 runner-up performance.
Coming in with the state lead, West Ranch's Goode lived up to the billing by taking home the Division 2 title in a lifetime best of 46.94. Torrance's Isaiah Emerson used the brisk pace for a 48.37 runner-up effort. Beforehand in an epic 400-meter matchup in Division 3, Cathedral's William Mullins held on for the 47.62 victory, passing Marshall's Logan Davis (47.77) in the last 10 meters with Covina's Kerry Smith (47.80). Upland's Coats took home the title in Division 1 (47.82) with LB Wilson's Leroy Crook (48.39). Villanova Prep's Liam Gair claimed the Division 4 title with a 48.28 effort.
The hurdlers also took advantage of the early prevailing winds as evidenced by three riding wind-aided efforts under 14-seconds! In the Division 1 final, Upland junior Kai Graves-Blanks defended his title with a 13.91w (+2.8) victory over Cajon's Seth Johnson (13.94w). The Upland duo DeQuan January (14.09w) and Davis Davis-Lyric (14.11w) all advanced to next weekend's Masters Meet. Beforehand, Mater Dei junior Logan Lyght rode home a 13.94w title. St. Francis' Dario Rock (14.54w) captured the D-3 title while Crean Lutheran's Jack Fairchild (14.41w) earned the title in D-4.
Moving to the 300 hurdles, Upland's Delaney Crawford went down in the 110s earlier, but was determined to make up for it with the fastest time in California this season with his 37.44 effort. Teammate, Graves-Blanks crossed in 37.95, just ahead of LB Wilson's Isaac Lewis at 38.06. Jordan's Daryll Stevens (38.68) ran away with the title in the Division 2 final. In the Division 4 final, Maranatha's Finn Andrews (38.44) held off Oaks Christian's Elijah Gipson (38.61). Roman Mendoza of Santa Margarita ran away with the 38.99 Division 3 title.
Madeleine Conte of Monrovia was the top qualifier in both hurdles, using the wind to roll to a lifetime best of 14.12w to capture the Division 3 title. Second a year ago, Orange Vista's Kailah McKenzie (14.20w) out leaned Upland's London Davis (14.22w) while ML King's Sarah Ajayi (14.93w) also eclipsed the 15-second barrier. Running away for the pack halfway through the race, Lauren Thai of Thousand Oaks raced to a wind-legal 14.50 effort while Niya Clayton (14.78w) and Harvard Westlake's Adrienne Usher (14.81w) also advanced to next week.
With her 44.09 victory in the D-3 final, Conte earned lane five for the Masters Meet. South Pasadena's Mia Holden used her pace for a lifetime best of 45.37. In a surprise, Redondo Union sophomore Lela Divinity moved ahead in the last 20 meters for the 44.49 Division 1 title. Arcadia's Shriya Velichala (44.78), LB Wilson's Genesis Washington (44.83), and Kaylin Edwards (45.11) all advanced. Thousand Oaks' Lauren Thai (45.08) held off defending champion, JW North's Breija Stredic (45.31) to earn her second hurdling title on the day.
In the relays, the top girls' time on the day came from Serra, who moved up to third in California with their 46.33 winning performance. State leader, Golden Valley, brought home the 46.41 Division 2 title, but had to play catchup to outkick Culver City (47.12) and Mission Viejo (47.86). In the Division 1 final, Long Beach Poly closed in with their 46.60, with Roosevelt (46.74) and Long Beach Wilson (47.08) also advancing.
In the girl's 4x400 relays, state leader Long Beach Wilson (3:45.06) captured the win but a great anchor lap from Roosevelt's Johnson propelled them up to a 3:46.17 while Long Beach Poly crossed in 3:50.96. Chino Hills also advanced in that race with a 3:52.99 to place fourth. City captured the Division 2 title in 3:50.88 while Calabasas clinched the Division 3 team title with their 3:51.56 effort in the 1600 relay.
The boys also witnessed a great display of talent in the relays with Serra kicking off the meet with a 40.89 seasonal best. Cathedral came up with a seasonal best of 41.53 to win the Division 3 final while Servite advanced to the Masters Meet with their runner-up 42.09 effort. Jordan kicked off their team title day with a 41.77 win in the 400 relay, holding off Simi Valley (41.84) and Mater Dei (42.15). Jeyquan Smith anchored his Cajon squad to the 41.80 title in Division 1, with Los Alamitos and Upland finishing in a dead heat at 41.86.
Moving to the 1600 relay, Long Beach Wilson became the new California state leader with their 3:14.20 win in the Division 1 final. Several others used the Bruins' pace with Cajon shattering the school record with a 3:18.88. San Marcos (3:19.68) prevailed for the victory in the Div. 2 race, holding off Westlake (3:20.07). In the Div. 3 race, now second in the state, Cathedral romped for the victory in 3:16.12 with Monrovia keeping pace to advance with a 3:18.95.
In a day where the conditions did not pave the way for great distance marks, Ventura's Sadie Engelhardt did not seem phased whatsoever! The freshman seemed to back off on the final lap of her 1600 meters but yet just missed the divisional record with her 4:43.93. She seized the moment in the 800 meters and motored home with a 2:08.26 to establish a new Division 2 record!
While Chino senior Mia Chavez (2:11.80) and JW North junior Mackenzie Browne (2:15.22) used the pace of Engelhardt, Katella's Ashlynn Viramontes crossed with the Division 1 title (2:11.73). Second place a year ago, she switched places to Fountain Valley's Kaho Cichon (2:12.78) in 2022. Diamond Bar's L'Mio Edwards (2:13.47) closed well in that same race as did Peninsula's Aishling Callanan (2:14.05). La Canada Arielle McKenzie dropped the 1600 meters and it paid dividends as she brought in the D-3 title in 2:11.15. JSerra sophomore Georgia Jeanneret (2:13.59) easily advanced to next week with her runner-up effort.
Chino's Chavez also impressed in the earlier Division 2 final of the 1600, leaving the chase pack for a 4:49.10 runner-up performance. But, in what was a conservative first half of the Division 1 version of the 1600 meters, Mira Costa's Dalia Frias peeled away from Newbury Park's Samantha McDonnell for the win in 4:48.99. (2:27.1-2:21.9 splits). The NP senior came in at 4:50.35 while a strong finish from Vista Murrieta's Isabella Smith yielded her a 4:57.98. Newbury's Ailish Hawkins advanced with a 4:59.46 effort. JSerra junior Anastasia Snodgrass moved away on the last lap for the 4:59.24 victory in the Division 3 final. Meanwhile, moving back to that Engelhardt-driven Division 2 match-up, JW North's Mackenzie Browne placed third (4:53.75), Emma Hadley of Anaheim Canyon (4:53.92), and Dana Hills' Allura Markow (4:55.94) easily advanced onward.
A long warm day in the sun made it more challenging than ever for the 3200-meter finals. With that, we were more impressed with Newbury Park's McDonnell purred along to a lifetime best of 10:28.91 to capture the D-1 title. with a great last lap, her teammate Hawkins, placed second while Makenzie McRae of Huntington Beach battled for a 10:48.48 third-place finish. Mira Costa's Anna Chittenden (10:52.28) and Saugus' Isabella Duarte (10:53.95) also broke 10:55. West Ranch's Alexis Fernandez captured the D-2 title in 10:46.95, with Dana Hills' Markow crossing in 10:52.48. Canyon's Isabella Frisone returns back to the Masters Meet, as she did in 2019, with her 10:53.01 effort. Laguna Hills' freshman Holly Barker captured the D-3 title, crossing in under 10:47.60 (the official result for Div. 3 girls still needs to be corrected) while Payton Godsey of Oaks Christian won the D-4 gold medal at 10:42.45. Viewpoint's JiaLian Mackey came through to place second in 10:53.37.
Moving over to the boys' distances, Dana Hills' Jai Dawson pulled off the double in capturing the 800 and 1600-meter championships! Negative splitting his way to the 4:12.55 win (2:09.2-2:03.3), he held off Agoura's Ethan Godsey (4:13.31) and Royal's Jonah Bazerkanian (4:15.60) in the 1600 meters. In the Division 1 final, LB Wilson's Nico Colchico took a huge lead only to watch it evaporate with 150 meters to go. But, with one last surge, he outlasted the field to a 4:13.28 victory over Crescenta Valley's Rowan Fitzgerald (4:14.40), Loyola's Richard Moreno (4:14.88), and Santiago's Tyler Kaan (4:15.31).
Back to Dawson's 800-meter victory (1:52.73) in the Div. 2 final, he surged away from San Marcos' Jacob Snodgress (1:53.37). But, the Division 1 final was the most intriguing in that heavy favorite, Newbury Park's Aaron Sahlman, had to battle all throughout with most of the field on his shoulders with 200 meters to go. But the junior prevailed with a 1:52.54 title run, with fast-charging Jacob Robison of Foothill closing in a 1:53.44, just ahead of LB Wilson's Marcell Francis-Mitchell (1:53.91). Damien's Eric Martinez (1:54.99) was a surprise winner in the Div. 3 final while Thacher's Ellis Delvecchio has become accustomed to racing by himself as of late, motoring home to a 1:52.38 victory, over seven seconds ahead of second place.
The 3200 meters witnessed Millikan sophomore Jason Parra run away with the Division 1 title in 9:09.40, surging away from Highland junior Matthew Donis (9:10.60) and Aliso Niguel's Brennan Foody (9:11.30). In the same combined race, Harvard Westlake's Will Sheehy captured the Division 3 title in 9:12.20. The next race featured Big Bear's Max Sannes, who ran to the fastest time of the event and the Division 4 title in 9:07.17. West Ranch junior Bille Issa finished right behind, and with the Div. 2 title in 9:07.65. Hart's Jaden Wiley produced another seasonal best at 9:09.52.
FIELD EVENT RECAP
It took quite a while, but we finally got our champions crowned in the Girls Pole Vault. After every other event had concluded and the stadium all but empty, Vista Murrieta sophomore Aspen Fears captured the D-1 title with a 12-6 effort. She took three attempts at 13 feet. Trabuco Hills' Natalia Wilson and Ayala's Madeline Seifert both cleared the 12-0 bar. Earlier in an upset, South Torrance's Kayla Tassara earned the D-2 title with a 12-7 clearance over Murrieta Valley's Madisyn Negro (12-0). Harvard Westlake's Jessica Thompson had the top performance of the day with a 12-8 victory in D-3 while Oaks Christian's Tenly Kuhn earned a second consecutive gold medal in D-4 with 12-0 clearance. The deep girls pole vault field advanced 19 athletes to the Masters Meet with 11-6 clearances.
In the Boys Pole Vault, state-leader from Roosevelt, Hunter O'Brien won the D-1 title at 15-9 while Redondo Union junior Dylan Curtis cleared 15-3 to earn the silver. Ramona's Gavin Hanes earned the top mark of the day with his lifetime best 16-3 clearance to hold off Murrieta Valley's Tiger Bachmeier (15-9). In a great battle in the Boys Division 4, Foothill Tech's Aidan Hagerty prevailed with a 15-3 victory over Jake Reed of Oaks Christian, who also cleared 15-3. Altogether, 11 boys cleared 14-9.
Cajon's Seth Johnson earned the D-1 High Jump title with an effort of 6-6 and was clean up until the 6-8 bar, holding off San Clemente's Griffin Schwab (6-6). Only a freshman, Mater Dei's Brandon Gorski elevated up over the 6-6 bar to claim the D-2 gold medal. With Crossroads' Cole Hoegl (6-6) easily claiming the D-4 title, the Moorpark duo of Jordan Navarro and Victor Ezike battled on their home apron, both going up over 6-6 with the latter prevailing on misses.
For the girls, LB Poly freshman Jillene Wetteland cleared 5-8 on her second attempt to walk away with the Div. 1 title over Orange Vista's Kailah McKenzie and Poly's Zharia Taylor, both at 5-6. Playing a huge role in leading Golden Valley to the Div. 2 team title, Kylee Davis elevated up over the 5-8 bar to beat out her teammate, Meagan Humphries at 5-6. An upset ensued in the D-3 final with Katherine Porter of Los Altos clearing 5-5 for the title while earning its school its first CIF title of any kind, Castaic's Regan Thompson cleared 5-2 for the win. Only seven girls cleared 5-4 while 18 altogether cleared 5-2.
For the girls, the throws were dominated by the action from Division 3. On her final throw, April Fontenette of Notre Dame uncorked a 150-10 lifetime best to win. JSerra's Siena Lambert (134-7) earned the silver while Notre Dame's Hope Gordon came through with a 129-8 effort. Orange Lutheran's Pesi Tauaika (126-10) and Esperanza's Bailey Speakman (126-1) represented a very competitive D-3. Roosevelt's Karyssa Owens came through with a 130-5 effort to hold off Taylor Hofland of Los Alamitos (126-6). Hesperia's Jinelle Stiber won the D-2 title with a 123-7 effort. In Div. 4, Giszelle Hrehot took home the win with a 124-11 performance, just ahead of Muir's Brylan Carter at 124-9.
In the Shot Put, it was Notre Dame's Gordon with the win (41-3) in D-3, just ahead of freshman teammate, Aja Johnson (40-8.5). Burrough's Jocelyn Hoggard made the long drive worth it with her 40-4 bronze medal effort while Rebel Tuinuknafe of Orange Lutheran was fourth (40-1). Treasure Brown (39-6.5) of Archer earned the D-4 win, while Hart's Laura Brennan led all throughout to claim the D-2 title with a 40-6 effort. Meanwhile, Erica Collins of Chino Hills earned the D-1 title with a lifetime best of 40-6 as well.
Heavily favored in both throws, Murrieta Mesa's Cade Moran had to settle for second to league rival, Aiden Pastorian of Great Oak in the Shot Put. On this final attempt, the Great Oak senior unleashed a huge personal best of 66-7 to leapfrog Moran, who had a best of 63-0. Redondo Union junior Kai Deines settled for third at 55-5.75. Travis Zavala of Canyon, Anaheim won the Div. 2 competition (56-9.5), holding off Mater Dei's Jacob Kongaika (55-9.25). Earlier, Nikolas Iwankiw only got one legal throw in, but his 59-10 was more than able to win the D-3 gold. Meanwhile, St. Paul's Israel Gallardo stepped it up in Div. 4 with a lifetime best of 56-0 to win and pull off the upset over Ontario Christian's Christian Burroughs (55-11.5).
Moran held true to form in his 201-4 win in the D-1 Discus, while three others measured out over 180 feet - Redondo's Dienes (188-4) along with Elsinore's Elijah Ignacio (182-4). In one of the step-up performances on the day, Golden Valley's Terraine Wiggins uncorked a lifetime best of 196-1 to claim the D-2 title while Hesperia's Jordan Franco (180-6) and El Modena's Dylan Conner (180-3) also threw out lifetime bests. JSerra junior Brendon See prevailed with his 181-7 victory in Div. 3.
At times, the erratic winds hindered and also benefitted some of the top horizontal jumpers in the section. Great Oak's CJ Stevenson brought home the title in D-1 (23-5.25) while Bryson Williams (22-6) of Rancho Cucamonga earned the silver. Golden Valley's Elijha Ellis went in favored and performed up to expectations with his 24-2.5 victory in D-2 over Mater Dei's Brandon Gorski (22-10.5) while St. John Bosco's Camryn O'Bannon defended his title with a 23-10.75 performance.
In the Triple Jump, Great Oak's Stevenson defended his D-1 title from a year ago with 47-8.75 on his first attempt. Meanwhile, Elsinore's Elijah Yoshinaga made it interesting with his 47-4.5 effort on his second attempt to place second overall. In Div. 3, Kenechukwu Okonkwo of Grand Terrance pulled off the upset with his 45-10 measurement just over O'Bannon of St. John Bosco (45-8.25). In the D-4 final, Crean Lutheran's Jack Fairchild easily advanced onward with his 46-2 win. But, the top effort of the day came in D-2, where Golden Valley's Ellis doubled up with an outstanding 48-3.5 lifetime best after he had clinched the title.
Highlighting the girl's horizontal jumpers, ML King's Alyssa Hope took home two gold medals on the day with victories in both D-1 competitions. Her 19-8.25 first attempt was enough to hold off a talented group that included Orange Vista's McKenzie (19-7), Vista Murrieta's Alyssa Alumbres (19-6.5), Upland's Caelyn Harris (19-6.25) and Long Beach Poly's Lauren Reed (19-6.25). Only two inches separated the top five! But, beforehand, it was Golden Valley's Kylee Davis that had the top jump on the day with a 19-11.5 burst on her final attempt. Harvard Westlake's Adrienne Usher (18-11.5) earned the title in D-3.
In the Triple Jump, Hope bounded her way to the 40-2.5 title in Div. 1, while Long Beach Poly's Reed popped off a solid 39-7.5 effort on her final attempt to move ahead of Vista Murrieta's Alumbres at 39-6. Upland's Simone Smith also impressed at 39-4.25 on her final attempt. Defending her title from 2021, Mission Viejo's Jada Gatlin moved into the lead for good with her 40-2.25 wind-legal effort, while Glendora's Kennedy Johnson came through with a 39-10.25 on her final attempt. Also easily advancing to the Masters Meet is Mayfair's Chelsea Aninyei (39-6.5).
Mark Gardner is a regular contributor to MileSplit with a focus on the Southern Section.