CIF-STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS - Boys and Girls Hurdles Preview

Next in a series previewing the 2023 CIF-State Track and Field Championships by event group. Here we focus on the hurdles races. Heat winners and the next fastest times to total nine (9) at Friday's prelims will advance to Saturday's finals. 


110-meter Hurdles

State Meet Record -  13.33 Joseph Anderson (Upland/SS) 2017

2023 State Leader - 13.85 Davis Davis-Lyric (Upland/SS)

If there is one boys event where there is a prohibitive favorite, this is the one. The uniquely-named Davis Davis-Lyric of Upland (SS)  improved in six straight meets and then dominated at Arcadia with his yearly-best 13.85. He had four more sub-14s, some wind-aided, with 18 straight wins after suffering his only loss, this one to Santa Ana Mater Dei's Logan Lyght in the Trabuco Hills Mustang Roundup way back on March 4.  He'll try to make it two straight Upland gold medalists after finishing second to teammate Kai Graves-Blanks a year ago. Leland (CC) senior Miles Roberts was fourth in 2022 with a windy (4.5 mph) 14.05 and comes in with a wind-legal best of 14.11, while Lyght (14.22 in fifth last year) is also an experienced vet. San Jose Independence's Ben Kin Ho Tsang (sixth in 14.24 ) is injured. Pleasant Grove (SJ) senior Stephen Dahdouh (13.94) and Lyght (13.95) have taken advantage of the wind to come on strong at the end of the year. As a junior, Graves-Blanks won gold in the 110s and silver in the 300s last May but transferred to a prep school in Florida last summer. 


300-meter Hurdles

State Meet Record - 35.02 Reggie Wyatt (La Sierra/SS) 2009

2023 State Leader - 37.39 Roman Mendoza (Santa Margarita/SS)

Southern Section champion Cayden Roberson, a junior out of Eastvale Roosevelt (SS), became the favorite here by winning the Southern Section Masters meet over Long Beach Jordan senior Darryll Stevens, improving by more than a full second to 37.59. Stevens also dipped into the 37s for the first time, running 37.72. Mendoza, who led the state ever since Arcadia, was unable to advance out of the Southern Section Division finals with a strained calf muscle. This event had a lot of last year's finalists who are not around as Graves-Blanks is out of state (second in 37.33), Wilson's Isaac Lewis (fourth in 37.44) didn't run this event and Independence (CC) senior Ben Kin Ho Tsang (fifth in 38.07) was unable to run in the Central Coast Section finals. The southern part of the state is clearly more impressive heading into the State Meet but someone always seems to come out of the woods to make an impact so watch out for Loyola (SS) junior John Mueller (37.76), Tracy West (SJ) junior Cameron Williams (37.91) or San Diego Cathedral Catholic junior Vincent Atilano (37.94) to take advantage of the competition.

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100-meter Hurdles

State Meet Record - 13.03 Vashti Thomas (Mt. Pleasant/CC) 2007

2023 State Leader - 13.83 Y'vette Harris (Lincoln-Stockton/SJ)


Unbeaten against state competition this season with a 17-0 record, Harris is the prohibitive favorite here. Not only does she have seven races under 14-seconds in all conditions, she's the leader both without wind (13.83) and with a breeze as she rode a 2.5-meter per second breeze to her PR of 13.53 in the Sac-Joaquin Masters meet.. Oh yes, she'll have a chip on her shoulder after finishing second in the state last year at 14.12. Like any State Meet final, though, nothing is certain, and if Harris were to falter at any point, the competition is ready to take advantage. Actually, Harris will be familiar with her closest rival as St. Mary's Kori Fields finished second in the Sac-Joaquin meet at  13.75 and right behind her was Rocklin (SJ) junior Giselle Kirchner at 13.89. Looking outside that section, Kailah McKenzie of Orange Vista in the Southern Section has gone 13.85 (3.1 wind) and sophomore Anisa Bowen-Fontenot from San Diego High sped to a wind-legal 13.92 just last week, the third best non-windy time. Bowen-Fontenot's teammate last year, Charlize James (now at San Diego State), was the only one to beat Harris.


300-meter Hurdles

State Meet Record - 40.10 Ebony Collins (Wilson-Long Beach/SS) 2005

2023 State Leader - 42.02 Keilee Hall (Christian Brothers/SJ)

If there is one event that has a hex, is completely jinxed, this is it. Defending champion Kapiolani Coleman of Cathedral Catholic (SD) suffered a broken ankle bone kidding around at home with her brother before the prelims. The next highest-returnee, Karina Janik of Torrey Pines, slammed into the fifth hurdle and finished a non-qualifying sixth in the San Diego Section meet. The next runner up from a year ago would have been sophomore Kaylin Edwards of Long Beach Wilson (SS), who did not advance. That leaves it up to runners like Hall, who rolled to new state-leading 42.02 in the Sac-Joaquin Section championships, edging Lincoln's Harris, who had held the state lead. Also bearing close watching are San Diego sophomore Bowen-Fontenot, who got a big PR at 42.12 in the San Diego Championships, and Harris, who finished second in the Sac-Joaquin meet but has a best of 42.15 from the Sacramento Meet of Champions, and was fifth in this meet a year ago. She's the speedster. The Southern Section champion was Lela Divinity of Redondo (42.82) while another Southern Section runner, MaNia Tidwell (43.55) from Long Beach Wilson, is coming on with big team points available.

Steve Brand is a freelance writer and a regular contributor to MileSplitCA

Photos by Josh Barber, James Leash, Dan Tyree