Freshman Demare Dezuern Dazzles At Winter Championships

Photo Credit: Raymond Tran/MileSplit

Familier faces and new names dominated the California Winter Championships

by Morgan Fierro - MileSplit California Correspondent

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ARCADIA, Ca. - California's winter track and field season concluded this weekend at Saturday's annual California Winter Championships.

The opening meet featured performances from multiple returning CIF state qualifiers, including standouts like Long Beach Poly's Xai Ricks, Van Nuys Birmingham Community Charter's Deshawn Banks, and Los Angeles Cathedral's Ambodai Ligons posting big early season marks.

Ricks, competing for Long Beach Poly Track Club, started the day with a win in the boys 600 meter run, clocking a time of 1:17.60. Ricks edged University of Washington commit Ligons by 0.21 seconds to take the win.

The University of Georgia commit later came back to win the boys 300m in 33.85.

"The 300m was kind of difficult for me after the 600m performance earlier ... I was hoping to shoot for sub 33," Ricks said. "I still felt kind of drained but I mean I had enough energy to try and give it my best." 

Despite wanting more out of his times, Ricks said he is still focused on preparing for the rest of the season.

"I know that I got to go back to the training lab, back at practice and put in more work," he said. "I mean just do my best and keep improving." 

Meanwhile, Mission Valley Alemany's Demare Dezuern, a high school freshman, burst on to the scene in the 60 meter dash, clocking a wind-legal 6.72 (+1.4), which is the fourth-fastest freshman performance outdoors in history. 

The mark also broke former Damien star Zach Shinnick's meet record of 6.76. Granada Hills Charter senior Jordan Coleman, a Harvard recruit, was second by the hundredth of a second.

Despite running a PR in 6.72, Coleman emphasized that he has a long way to go before reaching his best.

"I'm definitely still in training, definitely still working hard, this isn't my fastest at all," he said. "I still have to get to my peak." 

The Harvard signee also placed second in the boys 150m dash, posting a time of 15.93.

Banks took the victory in the boys high jump with a personal best mark of 6 feet, 9 inches. Banks is a two-sport athlete in basketball and track and field at Birmingham High School, but he said he is switching his focus away from the court and toward track going forward.

Entering his second season, Banks said he uses skills he knows from basketball to aid his performance on the track.

Before jumping Banks said, "Basketball definitely helps with jumping, of course... but I like track better. It is more independent."

Defending CIF Southern Section Champion Brandon Gorski of Mater Dei Track Club competed but did not mark a height.

Sophomore Maximo Zavaleta of Martin Luther King Track Club won the 1,500m with a time of 3:59.88, coming from behind to take the win.

The mark is a personal best for Zavaleta, though he said he treated the race more like a time trial. 

Other male track event winners from the California Winter Championships were: Shon Martin, Helix TC, 60m hurdles, 8.03; Oaks Christian TC, Distance Medley Relay, 10:47.77; Brandon Arrington, Helix TC, 150, 15.93; Oaks Christian TC, 4x200 Relay, 1:27.16; Fountain Valley TC, 4x800 Relay, 8:06.64; Liam Miller, South Torrance TC, 3000, 8:40.63; Santa Monica TC, Sprint Medley Relay, 1:33.72.

Other male field event winners from the California Winter Championships were: Jacob Lozano, Pleasant Grove TC, Weight Throw, 68-7; Koside Nwafor, Vista Murrieta TC, Triple Jump, 46-10; Zach Lewis, Pacifica TC, Shot Put, 60-3; Jacob Emerson, Sage Creek TC, Pole Vault, 15-11.