PREVIEW CA Stars Head East for Indoor National Meets

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A who's-who of Golden State high school track and field stars are scheduled to travel to Boston and New York this weekend for the New Balance Indoor Nationals and the Nike Indoor Nationals.

Who's headed to New Balance in Boston?

California elite boys among the entries include Newbury Park senior distance elites Aaron Sahlman, Brayden Seymour and Lex Young, Palo Alto (CC) junior distance standout Grant Morgenfeld, and Paloma Valley (SS) senior sprinter Jason Deal.

As always, these athletes are competing unattached or as part of a club. High school affiliations are included in this article for identification purposes.

Golden State elite girls scattered throughout the program include distance stars like Ventura (SS) sophomore Sadie Engelhardt, Montgomery (NC) sophomore Hanne Thomsen, Oaks Christian (SS) junior Payton Godsey, Castilleja (CC) senior Samira Kennedy, Dana Hills (SS) senior Allura Markow, Shadow Hills (SS) senior Marjourie Lopez, Newbury Park's Ailish Hawkins, Tiffany Sax, and Danielle Brotcke, La Costa Canyon (SD) junior Gioana Lopizzo, La Canada (SS) sophomore Maya de Brouwer, and JSerra (SS) sophomore Brynn Garcia.

Garcia also could figure in the mix with the JSerra relay teams in the 4x800 and DMR.

Other non-distance athletes from California among the entries include CIF-State sprint champion Reign Redmond (at center in photo) of Carson (LA) headed to Georgia; Lincoln-Stockton (SJ) senior YVette Harris in the 60m hurdles and indoor pentathlon; Rocklin (SJ) sophomore Gigi Kirchner, Oaks Christian (SS) junior sprinter/hurdler Niya Clayton, and La Costa Canyon (SD) junior pole vaulter Iliana Downing in the same event with 2022 CIF-State champion Jathiyah Muhammad, a high school junior now competing for the San Jose Track Club.

Non-distance boys also include JSerra (SS) senior Josh Jornadal in the long jump. 

In addition to Sahlman (pictured), Seymour and Young, Newbury Park's boys national championship cross country team is also scheduled to be represented by junior Dev Doshi and senior Aaron Cantu, both in the 2-mile race along with Morgenfeld (who is also scheduled in the mile). Sahlman, the Team Nationals cross country individual champion headed to NAU, is scheduled in the 800m and the mile. Seymour, a Furman University recruit, and Young, headed to Stanford, are slatted for the 5K, as is Foothill (SS) junior Joshua Chu.

The Loyola (SS) boys, running as the Loyola Cubs of Los Angeles, is scheduled in the 4 x mile with a quartet of junior Connor Bennett and seniors Harrison Lavery, Jake Ratkovich and Henry Payne.

Competing not too far from her future college - Harvard - Castilleja's Kennedy is scheduled to take the line in both the 800m and in the mile. That mile field also includes El Camino (SD) senior and BYU-signee McCall Dame, Brotcke, a junior, Engelhardt, the returning CIF-State 1600m champion outdoors, and Markow, a senior headed to Oregon. 

The Golden State field in the 2-mile is led by Thomsen, the returning CIF-State 3200m champion outdoors and a two-time CIF-State XC division champion. Godsey is coming off an XC season where she won Southern Section, State, and the RunningLane National title. Barker, a Champs National XC finalist, the UCLA-bound Hawkins, Garcia, Lopez and Lopizzo are also scheduled for this distance. 

Two more of the state's elite sophomore distance runners, de Brouwer and Sax, are scheduled for the 5K. 

Harris, a senior is looking to build off an exceptional winter where she won 60m hurdles and "indoor" pentathlon titles outdoors at the CA Winter Championships in early February, and was a recent indoor hurdles champion at the Simplot Games. Trinity Pacific Christian senior Giovana Pelascini, a CA Winter Championships "indoor" pentathlon winner in '21 and close runner-up to Harris this winter, is also scheduled here.

Who's headed to Nike in New York?

State sprint champions and future Oregon Ducks athletes Brazil Neal and Rodrick Pleasant of Serra (SS), competing for Southern California Elite, are each scheduled to take the line in the 60-meter dash and in the 200-meter dash.

Pleasant (at center in photo), a football defensive back signed last month with U of O, also is the returning CIF-State champion in both the 100 meters and 200 meters, as well as he California 100-meter dash record holder at 10.14. 

Neal won the CIF-State title in the 200 meters and placed second in the 100 meters, while helping Serra to the State Meet girls team title. 

Other CA standouts scheduled include in the girls sprints: Jayla Cigar-Dingle, Adonijah Currie, Meagan Humphries, Mia Flowers, Sienna Claiborne, Sadia Green, and Cate Peters. Everyone is competing for Southern California Elite except the Stanford-bound Peters from Monte Vista (NC), who is competing unattached.

Cigar-Dingle ran 24.50 for 200m at Simplot Games, a CA best for indoor and winter outdoor (Polar Bear) competition this winter. Peters went 56.70 for 400m indoors at Great Southwest, also a CA winter best. Humphries cleared 5-10.25 at the CA Winter Championships, U.S. No. 3 this winter.

Humphries is also scheduled in both the long jump and high jump. Angela Schykerynec of Orland (NS) representing Golden State Throwers, is among the favorites in the wight throw after going 61-8.50 at Simplot, U.S. No. 1 this winter.

There's a much deeper contingent of CA boys in the Nike meet than that are headed to Boston, led by Pleasant, who is scheduled to takeover the MileSplit Instagram account on Sunday.

In the sprints, Simi Valley senior Jaelon Barbarin and Sierra Canyon (SS) sophomore Devin Bragg in both representing Southern California Elite and scheduled in the 60m and the 200m, as well as the 4x200m "all-star" relay along with Pleasant and Quartz Hill's Adonyss Currie (who is also scheduled in the 200m). (Bragg is a transfer from Los Alamitos where last spring he emerged as one of the nation's top sprinters in the freshman class.)

In the distances, the boys from the Menlo School and Menlo iGreyhounds track club lead the Golden State reps with William Hauser, Justin Pretre (pictured) and Landon Pretre in the mile, and the 4x1 relay along with Aiden Deffner.

Others include Lincoln-Stockton (SJ) senior Ethan Fong (triple jump), and Santa Barbara San Marcos (SS) senior Lucas Chin (indoor pentathlon).

Photos by Josh Barber and Raymond Tran.