Keep An Eye On These Seven Californians At CIF State Outdoor

* Mt. Miguel's Brandon Arrington is vying for a sprint double this weekend in California

Photo Credit: Raymond Tran/MileSplit

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FRESNO -- The final meet on the CIF calendar arrives on Friday at Veteran's Memorial Stadium. 

Athletes will face two plain objectives across two days.

Qualify. Perform. 

Once athletes reach that state final on Saturday, everything will be out the window.

With some of the state's top all-time athletes set to perform, we could see a variety of exceptional moments and maybe even a national or state record.

Check below to read about seven athletes and two relays that we have our eyes on as we look toward the CIF State Outdoor Championships



For more, check out the CIF State Outdoor Track and Field Championship meet page.

Sadie Engelhardt, Ventura (CA)

Event: 1,600m


So begins Engelhardt's long postseason road.

First up are the CIF State Outdoor Championships this weekend at Veteran's Memorial Stadium in Clovis. 

This will only be the beginning of what Engelhardt, 17, hopes will be a fortuitous path to the U.S. Olympic Trials culminating in a June date in Eugene, Oregon. 

But to start, she will have her eyes set on her third straight 1,600m crown, this one potentially running up against her meet record of 4:33.45 from last year. She'll also likely anchor the Ventura girls in the 4x800 on Saturday. 

Engelhardt has since improved at the distance, clocking an 1,600m en route best of 4:29.86 and a national record mile time of 4:31.72 at Mt. SAC while also logging a time of 4:09.70 for 1,500m at The TEN. 

The latter performance currently sits on the fence of the U.S. women's 1,500m qualifying -- No. 35 on the U.S. list right now, in fact. The former is just three seconds away from an outright 1,600m national record which is still currently owned by Addy Wiley (4:26.16). 

First up Friday is qualifying, followed by a Saturday final. An array of talented athletes could make it difficult, including Santiago Corona's Braelyn Combe

From here, Engelhardt's season will follow with race plans in Nashville, St. Louis, Portland, Seattle and Philadelphia. She's still searching for a 4:06 automatic qualifier to the Trials.

This is the most ambitious path yet for Engelhardt, but who better else to tackle it? 

Demare Dezeurn, Bishop Alemny (CA)

Event: 100m


Freshman usually aren't in positions to win state titles. No less in a state like California. 

But perhaps Dezeurn is built different. The 15-year-old has been rocking things all year long, and maybe this momentum all began in February when he won a winter championship title in the 60m. 

From there, Dezeurn has just kept winning, nabbing five victories over his last six competitions. If Dezeurn is healthy and on the line, he'll have a chance to earn the first California state 100m title by a freshman in history. 

Recently, he clocked a wind-aided best and U.S. No. 43 time of 10.36 at the CIF Southern Section Masters meet. Interestingly enough, another freshman was right beside him -- Long Beach Poly's Benjamin Harris. Los Alamitos' Devin Bragg is also in contention here, as is San Diego Section winner Brandon Arrington. But more on him later. 

Brandon Arrington, Mt. Miguel (CA)

Event: 200m


Few could have expected the next-Rodrick Pleasant just a season after the California great graduated.

But here we are. 

Arrington, a sophomore from Mt. Miguel, is staring down the sprint double on Saturday.

His outlook might vary, depending on how you look at it. The 100m race feels wide open (see previous brief). But in the 200m, it's a different story. 

Arrington's wind-legal and U.S. No. 4 best of 20.64, secured at the San Diego Division 2 Championships on May 11, is three-tenths faster than the next best athlete at the distance in the state. That's the difference of a meter or two at the finish. 

In fact, Arrington has recorded seven performances under 21 seconds in the 200m this season along, including a wind-legal best of 20.40w last week at his section championships. 

The sprint double may be a tall task. But Arrington is the man to beat in the 200m.

Aja Johnson, Sherman Oaks Notre Dame 



The reigning California state shot put champion has been on an incredible tear across 2024, claiming 15 wins in the discipline and another 16 wins in the discus, giving her 31 across the spring. 

But her last PR in the discus? That came last year at this very moment ...albeit in a loss. Johnson finished fourth in the state discus final with a throw of 154-3. 

How's that for motivation? 

Neither the shot put or discus will be signed-sealed-and-delivered for Johnson, but she does enter this weekend as the prohibitive favorite in both. She's coming off a personal best mark of 46-10 in the shot put from the CIF Southern Section Masters meet.

How Johnson navigates her final regular season meet of the season could go on to define her junior season. 

Trevor Rogers, Acalanes 

Event: Long jump


The nation's seventh-best long jumper is the top seed in the event and arriving off a superb showing at the CIF North Coast Section Championships, where he dialed it up for a 24 foot, 2 inch mark. That was just two inches off his best from the Arcadia Invitational in April. 

That being said, his personal best is still outside California's top 50 performances of all-time, with his career mark standing at No. 88.

The number to enter into esteemed company? Rogers would have to leap 24-8 to enter his name into California's best 50 long jumpers of all-time. 

No better time than the state championships.

Mia Flowers, Gardena Serra (CA)

Event: 100m


Nothing is what it seems in the 100m, because at this point anything can happen.

If we were to go solely based on momentum, Flowers has the inside edge on the state. 

The high school senior from Gardena Serra leaned past Chaparral's Keelan Wright at the CIF Southern Section Masters meet to win in 11.46w last week. But to others, Wright is still the athlete to beat; she still owns a California No. 3 time of 11.54. 

Then there's Mikaela Warr. While she finished third to Flowers and Wright at that same meet, she owns the state's top time of 11.49 (+1.7) from the Southern Section Finals. 

Neither of those three, however, is the reigning champion.

That honor belongs to Oaks Christian's Niya Clayton. Her season best time is ranked No. 4 in the state at 11.61. 

All four of those athletes, along with San Diego Section's Amirah Shaheed, will be in line to contend for a state title at the distance. Shaheed owns a California No. 2 wind-legal best of 11.51. 

Jaelyn Williams, Eastlake (CA)

Event: 3,200m


Jordan Hasay was a junior when she captured a championship record in the 3,200m, clocking a time of 9:52.13 in 2008. While that performance wasn't a state record, it was among the best performances in California history. 

Sixteen years later, we very well could be on pace to break it. 

That's because Eastlake sophomore Jaelyn Williams seems every bit inclined to go after it. The sophomore from the San Diego Section has won eight times over the 3,200m distance in 2024, clocking a best of 10:00.30 on April 13. 

Need higher stakes? Williams went 10:02 at Arcadia, finishing third in a national-class race in April.

Now, Williams won't walk to the line. Depending on how the tactics play out, she could have her hand's full with the likes of La Jolla's Chiara Dailey. But it would be safe to say that the 10-minute threshold is within reach here. 

Girls Relay Team To Watch: Long Beach Poly, 4x100

What's the saying? You may have won the battle, but you haven't won the war? Long Beach Poly is thinking that very point right now. While they were bested last week by a nearly-perfect relay by Calabasas at the CIF Southern Section Masters meet, the state championships is where the line is drawn. These two times will get a few more bites at each other on Friday during qualifying and then again on Saturday. Watch out. 

Boys Relay Team To Watch: Los Angeles Cathedral (CA), 4x800

Ambition sometimes begins away from home. And with Cathedral, that genesis may have been in March when the team traveled to New York to compete at Nike Indoor Nationals. It was there, inside the Armory, where this team went toe-to-toe against the best in the country and finished third in the distance medley relay. Fast forward to today. Cathedral is a top 10 performer on the national stage in the 4x800, which is an event that California only added to its rotation last year. Can Cathedral finish things off with a state title? All indications are pointing in that direction. 

Related Links: 

CIF State Outdoor Championship meet page

Watch the CIF State Outdoor Championships live on MileSplit/FloTrack