RECAP: Engelhardt, Pleasant, See Star at CIF-State Finals

Sadie Engelhardt and Rodrick Pleasant each win two events, set meet records, and defend titles; Brendon See defends in the discus as part of a sweep of the weight throws.

CLOVIS -- Sadie Engelhardt, Rodrick Pleasant, and Brendon See each won two events, Wilson-Long Beach (SS) and Granada Hills Charter (LA) won team titles, and a junior named Meagan Humphries won medals in four individual events on Saturday night at the 103rd CIF-State Track and Field Championships. 

GHC rode the brillance of senior Dijon Stanley to the program's first State title, while Wilson's duo of senior Aujane Luckey and sophomore Kaylin Edwards carried the Bruins to a fourth State title and first since 2006. 

On an perfect evening for high school track and field at Veterans Memorial Stadium, five athletes defended titles from 2022 but none were as impressive as Engelhardt in the 1600m and Pleasant in the 100m were as they won in State Meet record times. 

Engelhardt, a sophomore at Ventura (SS), defended her title in the 1600m, running a meet record time of 4:33.50, just off her CA record time of 4:33.29. She came back to avenge a runner-up finish in the 800m last spring with a furious final 100-meter sprint to win in 2:07.22, leaving returning champion MacKenzie Browne of J.W. North (SS) in second in 2:08.06 and Poway (SD) junior Tessa Buswell third in 2:08.53.

Engelhardt broke the 1600 meet record of 4:33.82 set by Christine Babcock (Woodbridge/SS) in 2008. Engelhardt is just the second girl in State Meet history to complete the 8-16 double at the same meet and the first since Kathy Costello of Pleasant Hill (NC) did it in 1975, the second year girls were included in the CIF-Championships.

Pleasant, a senior at Serra-Gardena (SS), defended both titles in the short sprints, beginning with a State Meet record time in the 100-meter dash of 10.20 (2.0). He broke the previous record of 10.30 shared by Riley Washington (Southwest/SD) in 1992 and Kenan Christon (Madison/SD) in 2019.

Jordan (SS) junior Jordan Washington placed second in 10.30 (which would have equalled that previous State Meet record), El Cerrito (NC) senior Robert Stitts was third in 10.31, and South Torrance (SS) senior Anthony Flowers, who survived a potential DQ in Friday's prelims, placed fourth in 10.44.  Three of the top five times EVER in state meet history were recorded in this year's 100 meters!

Pleasant followed that by fending off a strong challenge by Stanley to repeat as the 200m champion, running 20.95 (1.5) with Stanley next in 20.95. Clovis North (CS) senior Nickolas Miller placed third in 21.02. Jordan's Washington placed fourth in 21.06.

See defended his title in the discus throw with a best of 196-04, achieved on his first attempt followed by five consecutive fouls. Then the University of Oklahoma recruit went out and won the shot put title with a best of 62-09.50, achieved on his fifth of six attempts.

Clovis North (CS) sophomore McKay Madsen placed second in the discus throw at 188-01 and Buchanan junior Derek Smith was third in 184-04. Tulare Western (CS) senior Jose Soto was second in the shot put at 60-07 and Redondo (SS) senior Kai Deines was third at 60-03.25.

Clovis (CS) senior Sydnie Vanek defended her title in the long jump, as did Caruthers (CS) senior Nailea Fields in the discus throw. Vanek, a consistent 20-foot jumper all season, had her winning jump of 20-07.75 (1.2) on her fourth of six attempts. She had her long jump PR of 20-08.75 to win the title in '22. Fields, who threw her PR of 167-08 at the Central Section Masters, prevailed here at 167-06, taking the title on her final attempt. Fields won last year with a best of 157-01.

Humphries, a junior at Castaic (SS) won medals in the high jump, long jump, triple jump, and 200m dash. The high jump and long jump were contested at the same time early in the meet and her latter two events also overlapped. She placed second in the long jump (20-03.25), second in the triple jump (40-06.25/2.2), fourth in the high jump (5-08), fifth in the 200m (24.02/1.3)

Returning 3200m champion Hanne Thomsen, a sophomore at Montgomery (NC), injured a foot in the 1600m. She started the 3200m later but was unable to finish as Santiago-Corona (SS) sophomore Rylee Blade took control late with a huge final lap and a 19-second PR (10:02.19). 

Carson (LA) senior Reign Redmond, who begin the meet anchoring her team's winning 4x100m relay team, pulled up late in the 100m and was unable to defend her title as Oaks Christian (SS) junior Niya Clayton pulled the stunner with a blistering 11.45 (1.6) victory. St. Ignatius (CC) freshman Ellie McCuskey-Hay placed second in 11.52 and Serra-Gardena (SS) senior Brazil Neal was third in 11.55. Redmond got across the line but in last. 

Culver City (SS) sophomore Joelle Trepagnier surged ahead late to edge returning champion Neal in 23.62 (1.3). Neal crossed in 23.75 with La Jolla (SD) junior Payton Smith third in 23.78.

Trepagnier came back later to run an announced 52.11 anchor leg to help Culver City win the 4x400m relay and vault from deep in the pack of the team standings to second place.

That would be second place to the Wilson-Long Beach, which finished with a runner-up finish in the 4x400m relay to cap off a 44-point night. 


Granada Hills Charter began its charge to the boys team title with a 40.39 victory in the 4x100m relay, edging Acalanes (NC), which was second in 40.96, and Oaks Christian (SS), which place third in 41.02. Next, Stanley held off a strong push from Long Beach Poly (SS) junior Xai Ricks to win the 400m in 45.77. Ricks crossed in 46.06 with Lincoln (LA) senior Jaden Rattay third in 47.15.

Junior Jordan Coleman placed seventh in the 100m in 10.57 (2.0) giving GHC 22 points through eight of 17 events. 

Going into the final event, the 4x400 relay, GHC needed a fifth place finish to overcome JSerra's 33 points and win the team title. When Coleman, the third leg, got the baton, GHC was in eighth place. When he handed to Stanley, they were in sixth. When it was over, GHC crossed third in 3:15.14. Long Beach Poly won the title in 3:12.99 with Los Gatos (CC) breaking a three-plus-decades-old record in 3:13.97. 

JSerra's runner-up team total of. 33 came from See's 20 points in the throws, and senior Jake Stafford's 13 points from winning the high jump at 6-07, and placing sixth in the discus throw (182-02). 

Montgomery (NC) senior Nathan Fifer placed second in the high jump and St. Mary's (SJ) junior Legend Moore was third, both with clearances of 6-06. 

The host school placed third in the team competition led by its lone championship from senior Hilton Green in the pole vault. Green won with a clearance of 16-06, adding drama by passing on his first attempt, missing on his second, and then clearing on his third. He then moved the bar up to 17-02 but missed on his three attempts. Redondo (SS) senior Dylan Curtis and Turlock (SJ) junior Max McFarlane, Green's cousin, shared second place at 16-02.

De La Salle (NC) got a win from senior Chukwunonso Udeh with a 23-09.75 (2.4) long jump. Palma (CC) junior Logan Saldate was second in 23-05.50 (1.9) and Valhalla (SD) senior AJ Cornthwaite placed third with a best of 23-04.75 (0.1). Udeh went 23-00.75, 23-06.75 and then his winning jump before passing his final three attempts. 

Udeh's stellar State Meet final day also included fifth-place medals in the 4x100m relay (41.28), and the 110m hurdles (14.29/1.0), and a sixth-place medal in the high jump (6-04).

Providing their school's first State track title, Redlands East Valley (SS) senior Jeremiah Bolanos won the triple jump with a best of 48-03.25 (2.8). South Bakersfield (CS) senior Shane Carr was second in 47-08.25 and Lincoln-Stockton (SJ) senior Ethan Fong was third in 47-06.75 (0.3). 

Santa Barbara (SS) junior Andreas Dybdahl used a 56.88 final lap to hold off Torrey Pines (SD) senior Ryan Thomas  and Ventura (SS) junior Anthony Fast Horse to win the 1600m in 4:08.64. Thomas closed in 56.69 for second in 4:08.82, and Fast Horse went 56.52 for a 4:08.84 third-place finish. 

Upland (SS) senior Davis Davis-Lyric withstood a challenged from Mater Dei (SS) senior Logan Lyght to win the 110m hurdles in 13.83 (1.0), a sixth consecutive State Meet with an Upland athlete winning a State title in the hurdles. Lyght crossed in 13.95 with Pleasant Grove (SJ) senior Stephen Dahdouh placing third in 14.21. 

Upland's streak of four consecutive boys 300m hurdles champions fell when Davis-Lyric took a tumble late in the race and Jordan (SS) senior Darryll Stevens edged Monrovia (SS) senior Devin Paton at the line. Stevens won in 37.432 with Paton clocking 37.435. Roosevelt (SS) junior Cayden Roberson -- whose brother Caleb Lutalo Roberson was a two-time champion for Upland pre-COVID -- placed third in 37.437. 

Hughson (SJ) senior Joseph Lighthall took control of the 800m with a 55.218 first lap and then held off a pack on his heels to win in 1:52.06. Cathedral (SS) junior Ambodai Ligons ran a 56.70 last lap for second in 1:52.36 and Buchanan (CS) senior Noah Ray placed third in 1:52.72. 

This was the first year the CIF added a 4x800-meter relay as a 17th event. It was held only at Saturday's finals. San Clemente (SS) won the boys title in 7:38.59 with Menlo (CC) next in 7:39.10, and Buchanan (CS) third in 7:39.74. 

In the girls 4x800, Del Norte (SD) ran 8:55.99 to win the title with JSerra (SS) second in 9:01.10 and St. Francis (CC) third in 9:04.03.

Highland (SS) senior Matthew Donis and Millikan (SS) junior Jason Parra battled late into the 3200m until Parra made a surge with about 200 meters left. Donis countered, re-took the lead, and sped off to victory in 8:51.37. Parra was second in 8:53.69. Dana Hills (SS) sophomore Evan Noonan placed third in 8:56.63. 


In that 1600m win, Engelhardt, who had held back running conservative for most of the post season, including in Friday night's prelims, predictably went out fast and challenged the field to keep up. She opened at 65.60 and La Jolla (SD) freshman Chiara Dailey took the bait, opening at 65.96. Engelhardt then ran 68-69 and there went Dailey and the rest of the field. She closed in 70 to improve her U.S. No. 1 time in the event. Scotts Valley (CC) junior Ashlyn Boothby went 67, 71, 71, 70 for 4:39.45, U.S. No. 2. Del Norte (SD) senior Hannah Riggins placed third in 4:41.42. Dailey couldn't keep up the torrid pace set in the opening lap and eventually slipped to 11th (4:52.82).

Wilson's road to the team title began with a third-place finish in the 4x100m relay (46.66) behind Carson (45.61) and Serra (46.15). Then Luckey held off Culver City's Trepangier to win the 400m in 53.26. Trepagnier was second in 53.55 and La Jolla's Smith was third in 53.86. Four events in and Wilson had 16 points and the Bruins were well on their way. By the time the 4x400m relay rolled around, it was over. 

It was always clear girls in the Sac-Joaquin Section would make their mark in the hurdles. It just wasn't the girls you expected who shined brightest on Saturday night. In the 100m hurdles, it was St. Mary's senior Kori Fields taking the title in 13.79 (2.1) with Rocklin (SJ) junior Giselle Kirchner second in 13.85, and Orange Vista (SS) senior Kailah McKenzie third in 13.89. State leader, Y'Vette Harris of Lincoln-Stockton, placed fifth in 14.08. In the 300s, previous state leader, Keilee Hall of Christian Brothers (SJ) placed third with a 41.90 PR with Harris fifth in 42.33. But it was Wilson's Edwards taking the state lead and the title with a 41.57 clocking. San Diego (SD) sophomore Anisa Bowen-Fontenot was second in 41.88. 

In the 3200m, Eastlake (SD) freshman Jaelyn Williams went out fast in 73 but the pack eventually caught her. That pack was eventual winner Rylee Blade, Oaks Christian (SS) junior Payton Godsey, La Costa Canyon (SD) junior Gioana Lopizzo, and Laguna Hills (SS) sophomore Holly Barker. Blade held off Godsey for the title (10:02.19-10:02.63) with Lopizzo third in 10:08.32. Williams held on for fourth in 10:11.01. 

Whitney (SJ) senior Ashanti Elie won the high jump at 5-10, winning a jump-off with Maria Carrillo (NC) senior Alexis Hunt. Scripps Ranch (SD) senior Lizzy Tarczy was third at 5-09. 

State leader Iliana Downing, a junior at La Costa Canyon (SD) won the pole vault with a clearance of 13-05 to beat Buchanan senior Jordan Leveque and Poway (SD) senior Evangeline Thomson, who both cleared 13-01. Downing, who placed eighth here last year as a sophomorew, was clean through the first five heights including her winning clearance. She then moved the bar to 14-03 but missed her three attempts.

King (SS) senior Alyssa Hope, runner-up in the long jump here a year ago, placed third this time in 19-11.75 (2.2). 

Elsinore (SS) senior Dajeauna Williams saved her best for last to win the triple jump, hitting a PR 40-07.25 on her sixth and final attempt. That jump beat Humphries and Mission Viejo (SS) senior Jada Gatlin (40-03.25). 

Notre Dame-Sherman Oaks (SS) sophomore Aja Johnson won the shot put on her final attempt with throw of 44-00.75 to beat Etiwanda (SS) senior Camryn Alo (43-00.25) and Long Beach Poly (SS) junior Mai Ricks (42-08.25). Johnson's teammate, senior April Fontenette, placed second to Fields in the discus throw with a best of 161-05. Clovis North (CS) senior Loie Madsen was third in 156-05 with Johnson fourth at 154-03. 

Jeffrey Parenti is the California State Editor for MileSplit

Photos by DeAnna Turner and Raymond Tran