Los Angeles Preps: Beejay Lee

Cabral, McClain looking to double up at boys' state track finals

June, 3, 2011
The CIF-State boys’ track and field track championships Friday and Saturday at Clovis Buchanan High School should provide some memorable moments. Jonathan Cabral of Agoura and Remontay McClain of Covina are each defending champions in two events and both could take down some long-standing records. As far the distance races, they might be as close at the finish line as the sprints. Here’s a rundown of the 16 events.

  • The story of this race isn’t so much who’s in, but who’s out. Long Beach Poly, the defending state champion and a regular state finalist in the one-lap relay over the years, was disqualified at the Masters Meet last weekend, and 2009 winner Gardena Serra dropped the baton a week earlier at the section finals. That leaves top qualifier Eastvale Roosevelt as the team to beat, with Westlake Village Oaks Christian a distant second.
1,600 METERS
  • It will be difficult to top the excitement as this race unfolded at the Masters Meet. Jantzen Oshier of Mission Viejo Trabuco Hills and Elias Gedyon of Los Angeles Loyola locked up in a dead sprint to the finish line with Oshier holding on to win in 4:09.06, one one-hundredth of a second faster than Gedyon. Oshier has run about five seconds faster this season at the Orange County Championships but Gedyon is the defending state champion
  • Buckle your seat belts for this one. Cabral comes in with a blazing qualifying time of 13.27. Though it was wind aided, Cabral proved at the Masters Meet that he has a legitimate shot of breaking the national high school record of 13.30, set 21 years ago by Chris Nelloms of Dunbar High in Dayton, Ohio. It’s likely he’ll be racing against the clock as the next-fastest qualifier, Jacob Hare of San Diego Scripps Ranch (13.99), will likely be a hurdle behind.
  • This event could go a long way toward determining the team title. Shaquille Howard of Long Beach Poly was the top qualifier out of Masters (47.15) but six others qualified in under 48 seconds. Bernard Quinn of Vista Murrieta will need a top finish to give the Broncos a shot at the team title, so will the Serra pair of Pete Lauderdale (47.74) and Francisco Olliquii (47.98).
  • McClain is a no-namer no more. A year after a surprising sweep in the sprint events, the Covina senior is not only a favorite to defend his titles, but he has a decent shot at toppling the state meet record in the 100. McClain is coming off a victory in the 100 in 10.34, but has gone as low as a wind-aided 10.28 and a wind-legal 10.31. The state meet record is 10.30, set in 1992 by Riley Washington of San Diego Southwest.
  • Immanuel Hutchinson has already established himself as the all-time best 800 runner in Riverside County history, now he can add to his collections by winning a state championship. Hutchinson is the No. 1 qualifier in the two-lap event, winning in 1:50.50 last weekend, the fastest time in the state this season. Myles Andrews of Long Beach Poly, fourth in this event last season, is the No. 2 qualifier at 1:51.33.
  • 300 HURDLES
  • If all goes as planned, Cabral will try to become the first multi-event champion at the meet. He toyed with the competition at the Masters Meet, hanging with the pack until midway through the turn and then blowing them away to win by 10 meters. None of the other qualifiers are within a second of Cabral’s nation-leading time of 36.19, so barring any stumbles he should defend his title with ease.

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LA South: Five things from the weekend

May, 16, 2011
1. Not exactly the ending the Mira Costa boys' volleyball team had in mind, as the top-seeded Mustangs were shocked by Mater Dei in the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs Saturday, 29-27, 20-25, 25-14, 18-25, 15-9. The Monarchs used a 7-1 run in the final game to pull off the upset at their home court. Mira Costa, which lost in the CIF title match last year, finished with a 33-2 record.

2. Marqise Lee (Gardena Serra) and Beejay Lee (West Covina) set new track and field marks on Saturday. Marqise Lee's long jump of 24 feet 8 inches at the Division 4 prelims was the best in the country this year. At the Division 1 Prelims, Beejay Lee registered a time of 21:00 in the 200 meters, the best in California this year. Marqise Lee's teammate, sprinter George Farmer did not participate because of an ankle injury.

3. Keppel High doesn't have a pool on its campus but that didn't stop the Aztecs from claiming the boys and girls CIF titles at the Division 3 swimming and diving championships Saturday. Keppel is making a habit of winning without the proper resources -- it was the girls' fourth title in the last five years and boys' third in five years. According to the Pasadena Star-News, Keppel, which is located in Alhambra, must travel more than a mile to train and host meets at Barnes Park in Monterey Park.

4. There are exclamation points and then there's what the Bonita baseball team did Friday. The Bearcats, ranked No. 1 in CIF-SS Division 3, capped their regular season with a 19-2 win at Diamond Ranch. Justin Row led off with a monster home run to left and the demolition was on. K.C. Huth and Robert Mieradded back-to-back home runs in the second, and the Hacienda League champion Bearcats scored 11 in the fourth to finish with a 24-4 record. Head coach John Knott couldn't have asked for better momentum heading into the playoffs.

5. West Covina standout Chris Solomontook his talents to the Bay Area and participated in the Nike SPARQ Combine in Oakland after missing the showcase in Long Beach last month. The tailback/safety showed why he's garnering more attention in the recruiting world, being named the top rising senior by ESPN Rise. He ran a 4,58 40-yard dash, logged a 3.97 shuttle time and ranked third with a SPARQ rating of 106.17. Solomon has offers from Arizona State and Colorado.

LA South: West Covina 55, Bonita 21

October, 30, 2010

WEST COVINA -- Consider any questions surrounding West Covina's validity completely answered. The Southeast Division's top-ranked team is legit. The Bulldogs left no doubt Friday night.

No. 1 West Covina and No. 2 Bonita were supposed to play a tight one. Each side would score its share of points, but everyone assumed the battle between Hacienda League powers would be decided in the final seconds. It had all the makings.

To the surprise of West Covina coach Mike Maggiore and probably all of those in attendance, the exact opposite happened.

"I didn't think we'd score 55 points, to be honest with you," he said following West Covina's 55-21 win. "I thought we could move the ball on them, thought it would be a tight game, thought it would come down to the fourth quarter. But we made some big plays early and took their momentum away in the first half. I'm proud of our guys."

One guy -- junior tailback Chris Solomon -- stood out above the rest. He scored three rushing touchdowns, ran for 187 yards on 11 carries and added a 97-yard score on a kickoff return in the final minute. And like his coach, Solomon was genuinely shocked by the way the Bulldogs won.

"It ended up being a blowout because we worked hard every day of the week," Solomon said.

West Covina (7-1), which has won seven straight, used the consistency of its patented run game to crush previously-undefeated Bonita (7-1). Though he's referred to by teammates as "Solo," Solomon wasn't the only one chewing up yards. Far from it.

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LA South: Athletes of the Week

September, 21, 2010
Beejay Lee, West Covina, Jr.

Talk about making the most of one's opportunities. Lee did that and more last Thursday in a win over down-the-street rival South Hills, reaching the end zone on three of his six carries. In other words, Lee scored on 50 percent of his touches. The junior thanked his offensive line for helping him to 126 yards rushing -- an average 21 yards per carry.

Erica Capellino, Palos Verdes, Sr.

Capellino turned the Iolani Cross Country Invitational in Kualoa Ranch, Oahu into a business trip, winning the three-mile race on Saturday. The senior registered a time of 19:04, finishing nearly 10 seconds ahead of her nearest competitor. Palos Verdes took third place behind Dana Hills and Punahou of Hawaii.

LA South: West Covina 42, South Hills 27

September, 16, 2010

COVINA -- The night began with South Hills bursting through a banner that read, "Huskies run this town."

As it turns out, West Covina tailback Beejay Lee does.

The junior tore through South Hills' defense as if it were made of paper, despite only carrying the ball six times while splitting duties with three other backs. But Lee was effective when called upon, contributing three scores on 126 yards rushing to pace West Covina to a 42-27 win at Covina District Stadium.

Lee's legs secured the city's bragging rights for the next year. Less than two miles and exactly three stop lights separate South Hills and West Covina on Cameron Avenue.

"They're always favored," Lee said regarding rival South Hills. "We always come out ready to work and ready to win. We feel like we work harder than them at practice and we showed it."

The Bulldogs (2-1) ran away with it, the Huskies adding two late touchdowns that made the outcome more respectable. This was domination by West Covina's offensive line, which not only paved the way for Lee but also helped sophomore Jimmy Frazier reach the end zone twice on close to 100 yards rushing.

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