At the 2023 CIF-State Track and Field Championship meet that begins Friday at Buchanan HS, there are 14 individual events, now three relays, and a new scoring format that additionally awards 0.5 points for ninth place. These all add up to team scoring at Saturday's finals with some sweet iconic hardware making the trip back for boys and girls team champions and runners-up.
Our prolific associate editor Mark Gardner crunched the numbers and here's how we think the team battle will play out by the end of the night on Saturday.
GIRLS TEAM TITLE BREAKDOWN
1. Wilson-Long Beach (SS) - 34 points - Aujane Luckey is favored to win the 400 and score in the 200 meters. The Bruins also project for top-three finishes in the 400 and 1600-meter relays. Sophomore Kaylin Edwards is ranked fourth in the 300 hurdles while senior Ma'Nia Tidwell is projected to score there as well. Sophomore Loren Webster seeks a top-six finish in the long jump.
2. Notre Dame-Sherman Oaks (SS) - 32 points - Projected for 18 points, senior April Fontenette and sophomore Aja Johnson own the top two marks in the state for the shot put. In the discus, they own the second and third-best marks and are projected for 14 points there.
3. Carson (LA) - 29 points - Heavy favorites in the 400 relay, senior Reign Redmond is expected to defend her state title in the 100 meters with senior Ta'Ahjah Fann seeking a top-six finish in the event as well. The wildcard is Redmond in the 200 meters while the Colts could also sneak a point or two in at the shot-put ring.
4. Oaks Christian (SS) - 27 points - Junior Niya Clayton has emerged as a legit contender for the state title in the 100 meters while junior Payton Godsey will compete for the top spot in the 3200 meters. While freshman Rayah Rodriguez projects for a top-five finish in the 400, both short relays are also slated to advance to Saturday's finals. The Lions could also see Eleanor Borchard advance to Saturday in the 300 hurdles.
5. Castaic (SS) - 26 points - Junior Meagan Humphries looks to be the first in state meet history to earn medals in all four individual events! She is the favorite in the high jump and will look to conserve her jumps on Friday's qualifying session in the long and triple jumps. She is projected to advance in the 200 as well.
6. (tie) Buchanan (CS) - 23 points - Senior Jordan Leveque is second-best in the state for pole vault while the Bears go in as the favorites in the inaugural 4x800 relay. Senior Grace Hutchison looks for another top-five finish in the 1600 meters while sophomore Elle Lomeli projects to advance there as well. Hutchison and senior Caroline Mendyk also could score in the 3200 meters.
6. (tie) Serra (SS) - 23 points - Senior Brazil Neal looks to defend her state title in the 200 meters and score high in the 100 meters as she was runner-up in 2022. Serra is also ranked second in the state for the 400 meters and could a bonus point or two if Sadia Green advances in the 400 meters.
8. Culver City (SS) - 22 points - The Centaurs come in as the top team in the state for the 1600-relay while sophomore Joelle Trepagnier is ranked second in California for the 400 meters. While sophomore Morgan Maddox seeks to join her on the podium in the 400, Trepagnier also looks for a top-six finish in the 200 meters.
9. Ventura (SS) - 21 points - Sophomore Sadie Engelhardt is favored in the 1600 meters and looks to pull off the double, adding a state title in the 800 meters as well. In the high jump, junior Valentina Fakrogha is one of seven girls to clear the 5-8 bar while the Cougars also look to advance their 4x400 squad to Saturday's final.
10. Orange Vista (SS) - 20 points - Senior Kailah McKenzie looks to medal in three individual events as she projects for top-five finishes in the high jump, long jump, and 100 hurdles. Senior Mercy Ehiemere also looks to earn a spot on the podium in the 400 meters.
Other squads on the cusp: Chino Hills (SS), Del Norte (SD), JW North (SS), La Costa Canyon (SD), Lincoln (SJ), Long Beach Poly (SS), Montgomery (NC).
BOYS TEAM TITLE BREAKDOWN
1. Granada Hills (LA) - 43 points - Senior Dijon Stanley is heavily favored in the 400 meters while also looking for a top-three finish in the 200. The third-fastest team in California state history is heavily favored in the 400-relay while the Highlanders will also push for the win in the final 1600-relay. With all of that, junior Jordan Coleman is also primed to earn points and make the podium in the 100 and 200 meters. They could also sneak a point from the 4x800 relay as well.
2. Buchanan (CS) - 34 points - The top-ranked team in the state for the 4x800, they would love to capture the inaugural event on both sides for ten points. Senior Hilton Green is favored to capture the pole vault on his own runway while the Bears also look for big points in the triple jump from much improved senior Josh Dunu. Junior Derek Smith also projects to earn points in both throws. Seniors Noah Ray and Zach Weaver also seek podium-earning efforts in the 800 meters.
2. Long Beach Poly (SS) - 34 points - Junior Xai Ricks seeks a top-two finish in the 400 meters while the Jackrabbits look to also take home gold medals in both the 4x800 and 4x400 relays. They own the fastest time (3:13.86) for the 1600-relay. Senior Lamarr Kirk is also eyeing a top-three finish in the 800 meters while they look to advance their 4x100 relay to Saturday's final as well.
4. JSerra Catholic (SS) - 29 points - Brendon See looks to earn gold medals in both, the shot put and discus as he is the current state leader in both. The University of Oklahoma-bound senior is the defending state champ in the discus and vastly improved in the shot put. Senior Jake Stafford also looks to make the podium in both the high jump and discus as well.
5. Jordan (SS) - 24 points - Junior Jordan Washington will look to pull off the upsets in the 100 and 200 meters. He comes in with the second-fastest wind-legal performance in the 100 meters (10.24) in state history. Senior Darryll Stevens has stepped it up recently and is now projected for a top-three finish in the 300 hurdles.
6. (tie) Mater Dei (SS) - 21 points - Sophomore Brandon Gorski is the favorite and is the only boy to clear 6-9 in the high jump while senior Isley Gutierrez looks to earn some points there as well. Senior Logan Lyght looks for a top-three finish in the 110 hurdles while the Monarchs also seek points from senior Jared McDuffie in the triple jump.
6. (tie) Clovis North (CS) - 21 points - Senior Nickolas Miller looks to earn his way to the podium in the 100 and 200 meters, while also seeking to advance to Saturday in the long jump. Sophomore McKay Madsen moved up to second in the state for the discus last week while Brayden Bitter looks for a top-six podium performance in the shot put.
8. Serra-Gardena (SS) - 20 points - The University of Oregon-bound senior Rodrick Pleasant looks to close out his prep resume for two more state titles! He is the reigning state champ in the 100 and 200, owning the California state record for the 100 meters.
9. (tie) Cathedral (SS) - 19 points - Eyeing a top-three finish in the 1600-relay, junior Ambodai Ligons is one of the favorites in the 800 meters. With some upside here, fellow juniors Emmanuel Perez (3200) and Emmanuel Hernandez (1600) also look to get on the podium and earn the Phantoms additional points.
9. (tie) Redondo Union (SS) - 19 points - Senior Dylan Curtis comes in projected for the silver in pole vault while fellow senior and state meet veteran, Kai Deines is second in the state for the shot put. Meanwhile, he looks to match his third-place finish from 2022 in the discus.
Other squads on the cusp: Torrey Pines (SD), Upland (SS), Wilson-Long Beach (SS).
Mark Gardner is a teacher, former coach, popular announcer, and an associate editor for MileSplitCA
Photos by Kirby Lee/Image of Sport, and Jeffrey Parenti