102nd CIF-STATE TRACK AND FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS
CLOVIS -- There's just something about winning a CIF-State title that leaves an athlete feeling really fulfilled.
Murrieta Mesa senior Cade Moran was one of those excited and celebrating his first "official" state individual championship on Saturday. A strong effort of 64 feet, 3.25 inches was enough to claim the CIF shot put title by just under four feet ahead of his championship season rival, Great Oak's Aiden Pastorian.
Last June at Arcadia High, Moran was among many athletes who chose to compete in what was billed as a California State Championships meet, created in lieu of the usual CIF State Meet. It had been cancelled for two years due to Covid-19 and continuing health protocols. That extra meet, organized in good faith and done to give all state athletes the option and one more chance to showcase their talents, had Moran on board. he won the shot put title with a top effort of 60-2.50.
"I know last year wasn't a real CIF State meet, but I ended up winning there and ever since then, I've been wanting to come here to the real state meet," said Moran of the one at Veterans Memorial Stadium at Buchanan High.
With only one shot left, Moran, heading to Michigan this fall, has now accomplished his goal.
"It means everything."
Starting the competition with a 61-6.50 throw established himself and set the tone for the rest of the field. When he uncorked a 64-0.50 on the second attempt, it was only a matter of time. After a foul on his third one, he went 62-8.25 and then launched his best throw of the event on his fifth attempt.
By that time, only Pastorian had even eclipsed the 60-foot mark with what proved to be his best, a 60-4 on his fourth throw to finish as the state runner-up.
"Everything for me has been about state," Moran said. "I came here and did it."
Girls Shot put
The satisfaction of winning a state championship was also a thrilling conclusion for Clovis East senior Feyi Olukanni.
The UC San Diego-bound competitor won the shot put title with a top throw of 44 feet, accomplished on her third attempt.
"It feels so great, I feel so accomplished," she said while sporting two medals around her neck. One was for finishing third in the discus earlier in the day. The other now was draped in front as a shot put state champion.
"I did get some motivation from the discus," she admitted. "Keeping a clear mind for the the shot put was important. I knew I had to put my best foot forward because I really wanted to win at state."
Once she hit 44, which was 5.50 inches shy of her career best, she had to work through her final throws and stave off the competition, including Sherman Oaks Notre Dame's Aja Johnson who was runner-up.
But her state title win, coming two days after her high school graduation, made it a great week.
"I feel fantastic," she said.
Let's hear it for the juniors!
The discus competitions at the CIF-State meet gave us a good feeling about talented student-athletes who experience success now and will still carry that desire to work hard and seek a return trip back in hopes of chasing another championship.
Fields, the lone athlete at state representing the Fresno County's small community with only a few thousand population, made a big splash.
A run of four consecutive throws of 153 feet or more won with a top mark of 157-1 on her fourth attempt. She had taken the lead on her third attempt to surpass Friday's preliminary leader, April Fontenette, who wound up as the state runner-up with a 155-8.
"Discus is one of those sports that's individual, but you are competing within yourself. You're always chasing how much farther you can get because you know you can push it. For me, I know I can push extra no matter what," Fields said.
Her personal best mark did not come at state -- her 162-7 PR was at the May 13 CIF-Central Section Division 4 Finals -- but Fields was the one to beat with the consistently strong throws in the 150s.
"To be in a zone felt really good," she said. "I love the consistency of it and you realize all of the work you've put into it."
JSerra's Brandon See won the boys discus title by overcoming the veteran competition around him and, like Fields, by finding that inner strength to do more when it counts.
In See's case, his title-winning throw was a personal best mark of 203 feet, 10 inches on his third attempt.
See was the only one to break the 200 barrier and it was his breakthrough, too.
"I've been doing well in practice and a good teller was the 191-3 I had Friday (in the state preliminary)," he said. "Today, I came out and showed up. Getting 200 has been my goal and I'm so excited. It's an honor, a big accomplishment for me."
His closest competition was Murrieta Mesa senior Cade Moran, who topped out at 199-6 and was one of five who finished with top marks in the 190s.
See took to discus as his event of choice right away -- "My length gives me an advantage and I just clung to discus after the first time I did it."
His top throw Saturday put an exclamation point on his enjoyment now and for the future.
"I want to continue working hard and hopefully I'll be back here next year."
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Ryan Blystone is a freelance writer and a regular contributor to MileSplit
Photos by DeAnna Turner and Daniel Hernandez