CIF-State Closer Look at Vaulters, Hurdlers, High Jumpers

La Costa Canyon (SD) junior Iliana Downing soared to the CIF-State Meet title in the pole vault.

CLOVIS -- Past history made it so Stockton St. Mary's Kori Fields simply couldn't imagine winning the California State Track girls 100-meter hurdles.

Sorry, not possible since Lincoln's Y'Vette Harris had been her nemesis all season with 100 percent predictable results.

"I don't know how many times I raced her, but I never beat her," said Fields, who had it finally settle in that her 13.79 time not only beat Harris on a comfortably warm afternoon at Buchanan High's Memorial Stadium in the biggest race of the year, but allowed her to wear the CIF-State champion crown.

It turned out that Harris struggled, finishing fifth overall in 14.08, the first time all season she'd not only lost to Fields, but to any California runner.

Rocklin's Giselle Kirchner (13.85), Orange Vista's Kailah McKenzie (13.89) and San Diego High sophomore Anisa Bowen-Fontenot (13.89) all ran sub-14-second times behind Fields with a slightly aiding 2.1 meter-per-second tailwind.

Form held much better in the boys 110-meter hurdles where Davis Davis-Lyric became the latest and it would seem possibly the last in a long line of champions from Upland High as he won in 13.83, a slight .02 improvement but well ahead of Santa Ana Mater Dei's Logan Lyght's 13.95.

In the 300-meter event, Long Beach Jordan's Darryll Stevens, Monrovia's Devin Paton and Eastvale Roosevelt's Cayden Roberson were involved in the closest race of the day for any event as each of them were clocked in a photo deciding 37.44 seconds.

The girls were headlined in what figures to be a heated rivalry the next two years as Long Beach Wilson sophomore Kaylin Edwards edged Bowen-Fontenot, another 10th-grader, 41.57 to 41.88. Christian Brothers' Keilee Hall was also under 42 seconds at 41.90 in third place.

It turned out to be a "Fields Day," though.

"I thought if I focused, I could beat her (Harris)," said Fields, who is headed to Long Island University, "but then I saw runners on the left and right when I hit the finish line, so I thought I finished second. If I'd been second, it wouldn't have bothered me. I'd gone 13.99 and then 13.79, so I'm happy with 13.73.

"But, of course, I feel I could have done better."

Another reason she was so pleased is this was not only her last high school meet, it might have been her last track meet period as she'll play rugby at LIU.

"I've been playing rugby for seven years," she said. "It's fun but so is track. I'll probably run with a club track team to stay in shape in case I decide to come back."

It was actually quite a day for Fields as she started off by walking through her high school graduation before moving on to the state meet.

As for Davis-Lyric, there is really nothing that fazes him.

"This was very special because I finished second a year ago," said Davis-Lyric, who is headed to UCLA. "I've been working on all the little things that go into hurdling to get faster. I worked on getting to the first hurdle fast and then improving every hurdle. I wanted a 13.53 but I'm not disappointed."

"Although I'll be running in the nationals this summer, it was special because it was my last high school race."

Although Davis-Lyric looked forward to running the 300 hurdles, he was disappointed when he was called for a lane violation.

As it was, it's good thing there are cameras at the finish line as the top three runners-who were having a rematch of the Southern Section Masters meet-crowded the finish line ahead of fast-charging Vincent Atilano of Cathedral Catholic in San Diego, who placed fourth in 37.73. He and Roberson will be back to battle next year.

As for the girls' 300 hurdles, Edwards opened an early gap on Bowen-Fontenot who charged the final four hurdles before coming up just short.

Elsewhere, the pole vaults were way more predictable.

Hilton Green kept the home town Buchanan fans on the edge of their seats as he played a strategic game. After clearing 15-6 on his second try, he soared over 15-10 on his first attempt to take the lead.

He, Redondo's Dylan Curtis and Turlock's Max McFarlane moved to 16-2 where Curtis and McFarlane cleared, so Green moved on to 16-6 with only two vaults remaining. He then proceeded to miss his first try to heighted the drama. Knick the bar down one more time and he'd slip to third.

But Green was gold on his final attempt before taking three tries at 17-2.

On the girls' side, La Costa Canyon's Iliana Downing, who came in as the state leader at 14-feet, cleared five straight heights before attempting, but missing, a State Meet record 14-3.

"I ran out of gas at 14-3," said the junior. "Yesterday I opened earlier, but I felt comfortable at 11-11 because I usually start at 12 feet. Making all those heights on my first attempt gave me a lot of confidence, so I never really felt any pressure.

"I got on my big pole and stayed in the zone."

Buchanan fans also had an opportunity to cheer on Jordan Leveque who finished second when she cleared 13-1 and edged Poway's Evangeline Thomson, who had more misses after also scaling 13-1.

The high jumps were also quality events, keeping with the recent theme of being riveting.

San Juan Capistrano JSerra's Jake Stafford got his money's worth, taking the long route to victory at 6-7.

Stafford missed twice at the opening height of 6-4, needed all three jumps at both 6-6 and finally 6-7 before finally running out of gas at 6-09.25.

Santa Rosa Montgomery senior Nathan Fifer grabbed the silver medal in just the opposite manner, clearing 6-4 and 6-6 on his first attempts before being stymied at 6-7. That clean slate gave him the edge over St. Mary's Legend Moore who had a miss at 6-6, handing him third.

Only Venture Academy's Aiydan Bague made a height beyond the opener at 6-4.

On the girls' front, Whitney's Ashanti Elie cleared a state-leading 5-10 on her first try to edge Santa Rosa Maria Carrillo's Alexis Hunt, who needed all three of her attempts to scale that height. Previous state leader Lizzie Tarczy of Scripps Ranch led for about a minute when she matched her season-best of 5-9, grabbing third place.

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

Photos by DeAnna Turner and Raymond Tran