PREVIEW: The CIF-Southern Section Masters Meet

Upland senior Davis-Davis Lyric is a favorite in both the 110m and 300m hurdle races at Southern Section Masters.

Southern Section Masters

at Moorpark HS


Field at 11:30 a.m., Track at 1 p.m.

Advancement into the May 26-27 State Meet at Buchanan HS, Clovis:

Top six (6) finishers in each event, plus anyone hitting the at-large standard will advance to the State Meet.

The CIF-Southern Section Masters Meet always served as a platform for California's top talent as it serves as the qualifying meet to decide which individuals and relay squads will represent the section at next week's California State Championships.   

It is a true grind to get to this process of 'The Road to the State Meet' as this looks to be one of the most competitive meets of the 2023 season.

The top six in each automatically advance while those outside that group can also qualify in out-performing the State-Meet at-large standard.


4x100 relay (47.90)

All nine squads all well below the at-large standard with D-4 champs, Serra-Gardena, earning lane 5 (45.68) as they are No. 2 in California. D-1 champs, Wilson-Long Beach, moved up to No. 3 in California (46.16) with ML King  (46.42) now fourth.  Seven squads advanced out of that D-1 race, including Chino Hills (46.79).  Eight of the top nine squads in CA get into the blocks as the section looks to monopolize the action at next week's State Meet.  

1600 meters (4:52.85)

Defending State Meet champion, Ventura sophomore Sadie Engelhardt looks to lead the charge in what may be a threshold-paced effort considering that she has run 4:34.50 and under 4:40 on three different occasions this season. Dana Hills senior Allura Markow (4:42.79) should advance for a second year in a row while Santiago sophomore Rylee Blade (4:46.96) will also help drive the pace and advance as many as possible under that standard. Only five have eclipsed the standard so proper pacing will be crucial.

100 Hurdles (14.56)

Last weekend, eight girls crossed the line below 14:45 with Orange Vista senior and two-time D-1 champion, Kailah McKenzie leading the charge at 14.03 and now No. 2 in California. That D-4 championship race where Marlborough junior Fallyn Gowans (14.12) won was the fastest with La Salle senior Mia Reid (14.14), St. Bernard junior London Davis (14.25), and Oaks Christian junior Niya Clayton (14.30) all in the middle of the track.  Long Beach Wilson sophomore Kaylin Edwards (14.31) also looks to punch her ticket forward.    

400 meters (55.84)

The top seven went under the standard at last week's finals with D-1 champ, Long Beach Wilson senior Aujane Luckey (53.23) who ascended to the top of the state leaderboard last week. Now ranked No. 2, Culver City junior Joelle Trepagnier (53.56) won the D-2 title with both leading their squads to divisional titles as well. Oaks Christian freshman Rayah Rodriguez improved down to 54.41 while Orange Vista senior Mercy Ehiemere (54.48) broke the 55-second watermark for the first time. Ayala junior Kayla McBride checks in off a 54.79 lifetime best from last week as well.

100 meters (11.96)

Oaks Christian junior Niya Clayton (11.56) will renew her battle with Serra senior Brazil Neal (11.67), with the former taking home the D-4 title last week. Much improved over this past month, D-1 champ Murrieta Valley sophomore Taylor Anyansi motored to an 11.83 while D-2 champ, Golden Valley freshman Marley Scoggins improved down to 11.89. The entire field is within striking range of that at-large standard.

800 meters (2:13.20)

Defending State champ JW North senior Mackenzie Browne (2:03.07) is the national leader, but last week, Ventura sophomore Sadie Engelhardt (2:06.71) defended her D-2 title on a late-race surge. In that same race, Newport Harbor sophomore Keaton Robar (2:09.13) is having a breakout season as is the D-1 champ, Claremont junior L'Mio Edwards who motored home a 2:09.45 lifetime best last week. JSerra junior Georgia Jeanneret (2:09.55) looks to drive the pace through this one. Of those still competing, the top five girls in California are featured in this one while eight altogether ran faster than the standard last week.

300 Hurdles (43.92)

One of the more competitive events in the section, all nine qualifiers ran under the standard last week. D-1 champion, Long Beach Wilson sophomore Kaylin Edwards (42.52) moved up to fourth in the CA, just ahead of D-1 runner-up, Long Beach Poly senior Kennadi Reed (42.96). With a Moore League 1-2-3 sweep, Long Beach Poly junior Anise Becker (43.23) also excelled with Quartz Hill sophomore Sanaiya Watkins (43.26) in tow. In one of the step-up performances last week, Edison senior Lindy Tarvin captured the D-2 title in 43.26.

200 meters (24.50)

As explained in detail in our recap from the divisional finals, the section knocked it out of the park with 14 girls running faster than the at-large standard. But, with only nine spots and the entire field projected to advance, Quartz Hill senior and CA leader Adonijah Currie (23.58) dropped the 400 to solely focus here. Defending State Meet champ and D-4 champ, Serra senior Brazil Neal (23.67) will line next to her as will D-1 runner-up, Ayala junior Kayla McBride (23.79). D-3 champ, Castaic junior Meagan Humphries (23.85) and Long Beach Wilson senior Aujane Luckey (23.89) also crossed well under the standard.

4x800 relay

The top four squads will automatically qualify for this inaugural version of this event for next week's State Meet!  JSerra comes in with the top time in the section at 9:03.27, ranking third in the CA. Oaks Christian (9:17.13), Chino Hills (9:18.24), and Claremont (9:25.51) own the next three best times. Meanwhile, Great Oak (9:25.86) will have four fresh legs as will Santa Monica (9:26.10) to vie for those four spots. 

3200 meters (10:29.56)

That at-large standard will loom large on this one, with only four girls matching it a week ago. Oaks Christian junior Payton Godsey comes with the top resume as she owns a 9:57.70 from last month. Laguna Hills sophomore and D-3 champ, Holly Barker, dazzled last week with a lifetime best of 10:20.90 while Santiago sophomore Rylee Blade still looks like she has more in here as won the D-1 title (10:23.71) last week. Huntington Beach junior Makenzie McRae (10:26.47) was the D-1 runner-up while on paper, it will come down to six spots advancing.

4x400 relay (3:53.17)

Culver City (3:44.70) captured the D-2 title and moved to the top of the state-wide lists only to see Long Beach Wilson bump them down when they won the D-1 title in 3:43.82. J.W. North (3:46.57) pushed Culver City in the D-2 race while Chino Hills (3:48.12) used the Wilson vapor in the D-1 race. All nine squads entered eclipsed the at-large standard.

High Jump (5-05)

Clear the bar at 5-5 and punch your ticket!  Leading the way, Castaic junior Meagan Humphries won the D-3 title at 5-8. With a seasonal best of 5-9, Orange Vista junior Kailah McKenzie is next in line along with Chaminade junior Amia Witt. Chino Hills junior Makena Bailey, Castaic junior Regan Thompson, and Ventura junior Valentina Fakrogha all cleared 5-6 last week. Sixteen girls get a crack at it!  

Pole Vault (12-03)

With nine girls matching or eclipsing the standard last week, two-time D-3 champ, Harvard Westlake senior Jessica Thompson headlined with her 13-1 lifetime best. Vista Murrieta junior Aspen Fears (12-9) defended her D-1 title, holding off Murrieta Valley senior Madisyn Negro while Trabuco Hills senior Jessica Davis and Great Oak senior Shayna Hinds both had lifetime best efforts at 12-9 as well.  Depth-wise, this is the most talented group in section history with nine girls clearing the 12-3 bar!

Long Jump (18-07)

Eight girls exceeded the at-large standard but in an event where you might see an athlete make one attempt, meet the standard, and go home is common. ML King senior Alyssa Hope (20-1) earned the D-1 title and joining her in the 20+ foot (wind-legal) club was D-3 champ, Castaic junior Meagan Humphries at 20-0.25. D-1 runner-up Long Beach Wilson sophomore Loren Webster (19-4), out-measured Orange Vista senior Kailah McKenzie (19-2) while Vista Murrieta junior Alyssa Alumbres (19-0.75) looks to return back to the State Meet.

Triple Jump (38-06)

Elsinore senior Dajeauna Williams Elsinore dropped her other two jumps for the postseason and it paid dividends with her 40-1.25 wind-legal lifetime best to win the D-1 title. The D-4 champ, United Christian Academy senior Tamara Aimufia (39-11.75) has been one of the great stories of 2023 while the D-3 champ, Castaic junior Meagan Humphries (39-10.75) will simply try to match the standard and save her energy elsewhere.  Mission Viejo senior Jada Gatlin (39-8.75) and Upland senior Simone Smith (39-2) also look to advance.  

Shot Put (41-05)

The Notre Dame (SO) duo of senior April Fontenette (45-2) and sophomore Aja Johnson (44-3.5) are currently the top two in California. Seven girls matched or exceeded the standard in this ring with West Covina senior Devin Jackson with a lifetime best of 43-8 to capture the D-2 title. D-1 champ, Etiwanda senior Camryn Alo improved with her 43-6.5 while Hart senior and D-2 runner- up, Hart senior Laura Brennan is projected to also advance.

Discus (139-06)

Only four girls met the standard a week ago while Notre Dame (SO) senior April Fontenette launched a lifetime best (162-8) in this same ring to defend her D-3 title. Teammate sophomore Aja Johnson measured out to 149-7 while that loaded D-3 battle also profiled JSerra senior Siena Lambert (147-1). The D-4 champion, Archer School for Girls senior Treasure Brown while Camarillo sophomore Trinity Tipton won the D-1 title at 138-5 are also projected to advance.


4x100 relay (41.85)

Six teams eclipsed the at-large standard while D-4 led the action with Oaks Christian's come-from-behind (41.28) over Sierra Canyon (41.40). Our D-2 champs, Simi Valley (41.51) raced home with a seasonal best while Orange Lutheran claimed the D-3 title at 41.56. Long Beach Poly (41.64) claimed the D-1 title, holding off fast-charging Rancho Cucamonga (41.68) in that one.

1600 meters (4:13.89)

Eight boys crossed in under the standard a week ago, while on paper, ten have seasonal bests of under 4:13! Confident as ever in his last lap kicks, Dana Hills sophomore Evan Noonan (4:10.69) ran the fastest time last week to pull a slight upset over the Ventura junior duo of Anthony Fast Horse and Micah Grossman with Santa Barbara junior Andreas Dybdahl (4:13.23) earning the D-2 runner-up silver. A new star was born as D-4 champ, Cate junior Sebastian Sutch emerged with a six-second improvement (4:13.24) while the Great Oak junior duo of Gabriel Rodriguez (4:13.24) once again, outkicked teammate Westin Brown (4:13.24) to claim the D-1 title.

110 Hurdles (14.56)

Eight boys eclipsed the standard a week ago with D-1 champ, Upland senior and CA leader Davis Davis-Lyric crossing in 13.87.  Overcoming an early-season injury, Mater Dei senior Logan Lyght (13.95w) defended his D-2 title. Thousand Oaks senior Pyrce Edwards (14.27w) claimed the silver in the D-2 race with Culver City senior Kaiden Whitt (14.37w) taking third. The unfortunate news is that D-3 champ and third-ranked in the state, Santa Margarita senior Roman Mendoza had to drop due to calf strain. This moves up Murrieta Mesa senior Elijah Green (14.34) as the next highest prospect to advance.

400 meters (48.53)

Moving into yet another gear, Long Beach Poly junior Xai Ricks (46.57) moved to No. 2 in the state with his D-1 title run.  Oaks Christian sophomore Chase Hansen (47.89) distanced the field in his D-4 title romp, while we witnessed a step-up performance from D-3 champ, Northview junior Dylan Ochoa. Long Beach Wilson junior JT Kraemer improved down to a 48.15 in the D-1 final while Chaminade sophomore Seth Shigg impressed with his lifetime best of 48.23 as runner-up in the D-3 final.

100 meters (10.66)

With some wind-aided, but not all, marks - an incredible 15 boys met or eclipsed the standard while a 10.60 did not advance!  In what is looking more like a golden age of speed in the section, Serra senior Rodrick Pleasant dazzled to a 10.09 (+3.3w) to cement his third D-4 title. Meanwhile, to claim the D-1 title, Jordan junior Jordan Washington rolled to the second fastest wind-legal time in state history (10.24) to create his own chapter. D-2 champ, D-2 champ South Torrance senior Anthony Flowers rolled to a 10.35w, Cajon senior Jeyquan Smith (10.39) earned the silver in D-1, while D-4 runner-up Oaks Christian freshman Deshonne Redeaux rolled to a 10.42w. Chino Hills junior Donnie Parish (10.45) and D-2 runner-up, Simi Valley senior Jaelon Barbarin (10.45w) also should advance.

800 meters (1:53.96)

Do not be fooled by seeing at the seed marks as most of the field has exceeded the at-large standard this season and tactical racing prevailed last week. Referencing their seasonal bests, Long Beach Poly's Lamarr Kirk Jr. (1:51.37) out leaned Vista Murrieta senior Tarron Johnson (1:50.93) for the D-1 title while Long Beach Wilson senior Marcel Francis-Mitchell (1:51.75) was right in the rearview mirror. D-3 champ, Cathedral junior Ambodai Ligons (1:51.15) should also advance while San Clemente junior Taj Clark (1:52.60) has been consistent the past three weeks.

300 Hurdles (38.66)

We witnessed some great improvement across the board with Loyola senior John Mueller moving up to become a State Meet favorite with his 37.76 D-1 title run last week. In that same race, Upland senior Davis Davis-Lyric (37.91) and Jordan senior Darryll Stevens excelled with his 38.04. D-2 champ, Thousand Oaks senior Pyrce Edwards (38.05) earned a lane while D-3 champ, Damien's Nick Nocero ran to a 38.04 two weeks ago.

200 meters (21.66)

With 21.45 being the last qualifier, three-time D-4 champ, Serra senior Rodrick Pleasant leads the charge, albeit not satisfied with his wind-legal 20.53. D-1 champ, Jordan junior Jordan Washington (20.76w), D-2 champ South Torrance senior Anthony Flowers (20.95) also look to cruise under the standard. D-1 runner-up, Cajon senior Jeyquan Smith (21.15w) and Paloma Valley senior Jason Deal (21.21w) should hit the standard if they repeat what they did a week ago. D-4 runner-up, Oaks Christian freshman Deshonne Redeaux (21.32) should also advance.

4x800 relay

The top four squads automatically qualify for the State Meet with Long Beach Poly (7:44.90) seeking huge points and coming in as the top seed.  Moore League foe Long Beach Wilson has run 7:45.51 this season while San Clemente (7:48.34) also projects to advance. Loyola (7:49.83) will counter with three fresh legs while ML King (7:51.84) will have four of their legs racing on fresh legs.  Do not discount Great Oak (7:52.56) as well.  

3200 meters (9:05.52)

With an inclusive where the boys will work as a team, we could very well see some exceeding the at-large standard. State leader with a season-best of 8:46.50, Millikan junior Jason Parra defended his D-1 title, holding off Highland senior Matthew Donis and Crescenta Valley senior Parker Simmons, both of which have crossed in under 8:55 this season. D-2 champ, Dana Hills sophomore Evan Noonan employed some serious negative-split racing where he blasted a 2:04 over the last 800-meters, outlasting West Ranch senior Bille Issa and D-3 champ, Emmanuel Hernandez both of whom have dipped below the 9:00-minute watermark this season.  

4x400 relay (3:19.48)

Relatively down in depth this season, only three squads surpassed the at-large standard last week. CA leader Long Beach Poly (3:14.26) headlines this one but it was Long Beach Wilson (3:14.77) that won last week's battle for the D-1 title. Both will be tested as their top legs will be coming off the 4x800 relay. D-3 champs, Cathedral, rolled to a season's best of 3:17.74. Meanwhile, the D-2 champs, Westlake, come in with a seasonal best of 3:18.15. Northwood and Thousand Oaks have both crossed in under 3:21 this season and are projected for those next two automatic spots.

High Jump (6-05)

Seven went over the at-large standard but most in the group would have hit the 6-5 mark last week (the bar was set at 6-6). State leader at 6-9, Mater Dei sophomore Brandon Gorski claimed the D-2 title. Three of the biggest step-up performances came in this event last week with JSerra senior Jake Stafford improving from 6-2 up to 6-8 and capturing the D-3 title. Northwood senior Dominic Cotton took home the D-1 title, moving from 6-4 to a 6-7 lifetime best. Runner-up in D-3, Chaminade sophomore Matthew Browner improved from 6-0 up over the 6-6 bar! San Clemente senior Griffin Schwab went 6-6 last week.  

Pole Vault (15-00)

Only three cleared 15-3 last week, but the at-large standard is three inches lower, bringing the rest of the group into play to advance. Redondo Union senior Dylan Curtis (16-3 seasonal best) claimed the D-1 title ahead of ML King junior Jaden McKee (15-10). Great Oak senior Austin Pepito owns a best of 15-7 while Newport Harbor senior and D-2 champ, Leo Davis looks to advance back to the State Meet. D-2 runner-up, Westlake junior Cade Sommers has also elevated over the 15-3 bar this season.

Long Jump (22-07)

Only two met the standard a week ago. Sultana senior Elijah Crook measured out the furthest a week ago in earning the D-2 title at 22-7.75.  Walnut senior Phil Cotton earned the silver at 22-7, while D-3 champ Monrovia senior Devin Paton took home the D-3 gold medal. Mater Dei sophomore Brandon Gorski (22-5.25) placed third in D-2 while Rancho Cucamonga junior Rahim Wright (22-4) claimed the D-1 title. Overall, JSerra senior Josh Jornadal owns the top wind-legal seasonal mark in the group (23-0.5).

Triple Jump (45-11)

Five met the standard last week with Vista Murrieta senior Obi Nwafor (46-11.5) winning the D-1 title. D-2 champ, Mater Dei senior Jared McDuffie (46-4.5) owns the top wind-legal mark of the group this season. One of the most improved to advance is Great Oak junior Andrew Robinson (46-4) while Ayala senior Isaiah Baca bounded out to a 46-2. D-4 champion, Bishop Alemany senior Collin Joyce also impressed with his 46-0.5 effort.  

Shot Put (56-05)

State leader and D-3 champ, JSerra senior Brendon See (65-10) along with D-1 champ, Redondo Union senior Kai Deines (61-4.5) are the only two to measure out over 61 feet in the CA. Warren senior Jaylon Wells is coming off a lifetime best of 59-6.5 in his runner-up effort in the D-1 final, while D-2 champ, Ventura senior Wyatt Schrader owns a seasonal best of 58-2.75. Pacifica-Garden Grove junior Zach Lewis looks to also advance with his best of 56-10.

Discus (171-00)

The upset of the week came in the D-3 final, where Glenn senior Mikel Udengwu (193-0) improved by over 20 feet to defeat defending State Meet champion and CA leader, JSerra senior Brendon See. D-1 champ, Redondo Union senior Kai Deines (180-8) projected to advance back to the State Meet. D-2 champ, JW North senior Justice Mephors (175-4) stepped it up last week while JSerra senior Jake Stafford looks to get back out near his seasonal best of 183-3.

Mark Gardner is a teacher, former coach, popular announcer, and an associate editor for MileSplitCA

Photos by Raymond Tran