AOTY BOYS SPRINTS Fast Times for Serra's Rodrick Pleasant


Rodrick Pleasant (right) reacts after winning the 100-meter dash title at the CIF-State Championships on May 29 at Buchanan High School in Clovis. (DeAnna Turner photo)

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One in a series of articles profiling 2022 track and field athletes of the year by event grouping as selected by MileSplitCA editors.

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After running California sophomore class record sprint times of 10.32 for 100 meters and 20.59 for 200 meters, Rodrick Pleasant said his goals heading into his junior track season were unlimited.

Longstanding legendary California records in those short sprints would be the unspoken target. 

But the challenges the junior dual-sport athlete at Gardena Serra (SS) High faced along the way threatened those dreams. 

Patience and perseverance paid huge dividends as a healthy Pleasant closed out his high school season with Southern Section Divisional, SS Masters, and CIF-State titles in both sprints, a state record in the 100m, and the No. 2 mark all-time in the 200m. 

Pleasant also ran the anchor leg on the 4x100-meter relay team that would post the fastest time at Southern Section Divisionals (40.89 CA No. 3), SS Masters (41.14), and place second at State (41.50). 

As he was on the track, Pleasant is the unchallenged choice for MileSplit CA Boys Sprints/Hurdles Athlete of the Year. 

"It's very rare to double," Pleasant told Aaron and Josh Potts during an interview on MileSplit's Track-ish podcast. "I know how hard it is to double. It's a dream come true to be able to do that."

CIF-State - Boys 100m Final

Pleasant is a four-star football recruit as one of the top defensive backs in the country who, in various interviews over the past couple of months, has said he appreciates contributing to the overall team objective on the gridiron as much as competing at an extremely high level on the track. 

Serra has produced name dual football/track athletes like Adoree Jackson, a former CIF-State triple jump champion and current NFL defensive back, and Robert Woods, who excelled on the track in the sprints and is currently on the football field as a receiver.

"You know if you're a football player, you run track," Pleasant told the Potts Brothers of the tradition at Serra. " ... You just have to run track. It's a thing and you have to excel at it. ... You have to excel. It's a standard you have to uphold."

Grinding through two ankle sprains during the football season and a quad strain just when his track season was heating up, left Pleasant wondering if physical limitations would be the undoing of his unlimited goals. 

He suffered the quad injury at the Arcadia Invitational on April 9. He was able to run in a couple of relays and placed fourth the 100m with a modest (for him) time of 10.51. But then he had to shut it down. 

"I didn't know how I was going to get back," he told MileSplit's Ryan Blystone after running at the State Meet Prelims. "God blessed me. Just being able to do this I'm super excited."

Pleasant opened his 2022 outdoor season in Texas at the Clyde Littlefield Relays where he won the 100m dash in a national-leading 10.39 (3.7). Arcadia was two weeks later. And then there was a pause to heal before a slow ramp up running 100s and 200s just to qualify at league prelims of 10.57 and 21.61. 

Pleasant was still not all the way back at Southern Section Division 4 Prelims the first week of May where his times were the fastest of the event - 10.58 and 21.16 - but not yet up to his standards. 

Then came the section division finals on May 14 at Moorpark HS. He dropped 10.16 (2.7) and 20.40 (2.0). 

That clocking in the 200 meters - only the fourth he'd run at that distance all season - is the second-fastest in state history behind only the 20.14 run by Vista Murrieta's Michael Norman at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials. 

His 100m result was at the time the second-fastest all-conditions clocking in the event in state history behind only the 10.13 (3.8) dropped by Vista Murrieta's Javelin Guidry to win the 2017 State title. (Guidry, like Jackson, is a current defensive back in the NFL.)

"I've been fighting and trying to get that together," Pleasant told MileSplit's Daniel Hernandez. "It showed today how good I felt."

Asked about his goals for the Masters Meet the following Saturday back at Moorpark: "Hopefully that is the fastest Masters you guys are going to ever see."

Turning visualization into reality, Pleasant got out so fast that two of the nine boys in the field trying to keep up instead had to pull up. 

Pleasant left the stellar field behind, accelerating through the finish in 10.14! 

Jaws dropped. What? The roar of the crowd settled for a moment waiting for the wind-reading. 

There it was, 1.7 meters per second, comfortably below the allowable of 2.0 for record purposes. 

He had done it! He had obliterated the previous record of 10.25, held jointly by Henry Thomas of Hawthorne (SS) in 1985 and Domani Jackson of Mater Dei (SS) run last June. 

"(I was) running handicapped until Division Finals," Pleasant said on Track-ish. " ... Finally felt good and BOOM, 10.16! Do it again,10.14!"

"I'm so blessed to be in this situation," said after the race. " Everything that happens is for a reason.

"That was the aim, to get that record."

Pleasant said he had a bad start at the Division meet, and "everything has been trying to perfect it."

-- State 100m record. Check!

-- CA No. 2 all-time for 200m. Check!

Southern Section Masters - Boys 100m Final

Next up would be the CIF-State Meet at Buchanan HS in Clovis where the grueling CIF post-season of six qualifier meets in five weeks would continue with consecutive days of prelims and finals. 

In interviews during the post-season, Pleasant would reference his older brothers. They were fast, he said, but they did not get the chance to do what he was doing. 

Feeling good on Day 1 at State, Pleasant went 10.38 (2.1) as the No. 2 qualifier into the 100m final, and 20.83 (1.5) as the Lane 5 qualifier in the deuce. 

"Survive and advance. Just make it to the finals," he said. "I'm excited to be able to show what I can do against a really great field."

Despite his dominant success, Pleasant often mentioned his respect for the stellar competition in both events. 

The 100m field included Long Beach Jordan (SS) sophomore Jordan Washington, who had gone 10.31 (3.2) at State Prelims, Servite (SS) senior Max Thomas, who won the SS D-2 title at 10.35 (2.8), Clovis (CS) senior Nathan Johnson, the Central Section champion with a best of 10.36 (2.0), and Stevenson (CC) senior Evan Johnson, the Central Coast Section champion, Evan Johnson who had run 10.41 (2.4). 

Pleasant left them all behind, winning in 10.30 (2.5) with Washington and Thomas crossing next in a photo-finish of 10.437 and 10.440. 

Results were similar in the 200m, where his winning time of 20.56 (2.4) was more than half a second faster than the field. And in the 4x1, there was no catching Central (CS), which won by 0.14 seconds, team but Pleasant made sure to secure silver for Serra by 0.19 seconds over McClymonds (OK).

"The biggest thing was being able to compete on a high level," Pleasant said of his State Finals experience. "That was my favorite thing about this and I'm happy."

  • Rodrick Pleasant - 2022 Track and Field Resume

    • - Obliterated the state record in the 100m dash at 10.14 (1.7) at CIF-Southern Section Masters. (Previous was 10.25 from 1985 and equaled last summer by Domani Jackson of Mater Dei.)
    • - 100m mark equals U.S. No. 8 all-time
    • - CA No. 3 all-time for all conditions 100m at 10.16 (2.7) from CIF-Southern Section Division 4 Finals.
    • - Now holds Junior Class and Sophomore Class (10.32) state records for 100m.
    • - 100m time ranks No. 3 in the country this season for wind-legal marks.
    • - CA No. 2 AT for 200m at 20.40 (2.0) from CIF-SS D-4 Finals - CA No. 2 AT.
    • - 200m time is the fastest in the U.S. this season and ranks No. 17 all time.
    • - CIF-State champion for 100m, 10.30 (2.5), 200m, 20.56 (2.4), and anchored the 4x100m relay team to second place (41.50).


State Meet - 200m Final

State Meet - 4x100m Relay Final

Southern Section Masters - 200m Final

Southern Section Masters - 4x100m Relay Final

Southern Section Division 4 - 100m Final

Southern Section Division 4 - 200m Final

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Photos by DeAnna Turner, Pat Rhames, and Raymond Tran.