Los Angeles Preps: Jovonte Slater

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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Vista Murrieta defends its boys' Division 1 crown

May, 21, 2011
Elias GedyonKirby Lee/US PresswireElias Gedyon swept his three events and helped Loyola to the CIF-SS Division 2 boys track and field title.

CERRITOS — Heading into the final event, the goal was simple for the Vista Murrieta boys’ track and field team. Finish in the top four in the 1,600-meter relay and the Broncos would clinch a second consecutive Southern Section Division 1 title.

They hit their mark once again Saturday at Cerritos College, finishing second in the four-lap relay to win the team title over Long Beach Poly, 65-61, and fend off another challenge from one of the state’s most decorated programs.

“I’m ecstatic right now,” said senior Jovonte Slater, who won the only event for Vista Murrieta, a soaring leap in the long jump, but also took second in the 100, third in the 200 and ran the second leg on the final relay.

The Broncos entered the final event one point behind El Toro and six ahead of the Jackrabbits. El Toro did not have a team in the relay, so Vista Murrieta’s biggest challenge was keeping Poly within its sights during the race.

Slater, who is headed to USC on a track scholarship, took the baton and circled the track in just over 47 seconds, passing two runners on his final straightaway and catching up with Poly’s lead runner.

“I was impressed with the 47 split because I didn’t know my legs had it in me after three events,” he said. “I just did everything in my power and my body and my spirit to do it. I went out there and just ran.”

Elias Gedyon of Los Angeles Loyola ran even more.

The Oregon-bound senior swept the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 in Division 3, helping the Cubs run away with the team title.

Without being pressed, Gedyon strode to victory in the 1,600 in 4:11.15, followed by the 800 in 1:54.20 and finally the 3,200 in 9:00.37.

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Inland Empire: Five things from the weekend

May, 9, 2011
1. Heading into this final week of the regular season, a number of baseball teams are still in the hunt for league titles (we'll take a closer look at that in the next post). One race that deserves special recognition is in the Mt. Baldy League. Chino entered last week ranked No. 7 in Southern Section Division 4, but was upset for the second time this season by Ontario Colony, 8-3, creating a tie for first place. Colony (18-6, 8-2) would own the tiebreaker for playoff seeding due to head-to-head results against the Cowboys (22-5, 8-2). All the Titans need is to beat fourth-place Montclair today and sixth-place Ontario on Wednesday and they'll be co-champions and the No. 1 seed out of their league.

2. The baseball team to watch heading into the Division 4 playoffs is No. 1 Palm Desert. The Aztecs won three games last week by a combined score of 50-0. Of course, two of those games were against Coachella Valley (1-18, 0-12), but then Palm Desert pounded out 17 runs Saturday against Riverside Arlington (12-14, 7-5) in a pool-play game at the Corona Centennial tournament. Leading the way last week was Ryan Garvey, the son of former Dodgers first baseman Steve Garvey, who was 8-for-12 with two home runs and eight RBIs. Garvey, who signed with USC, has nine homers on the season, tied for fifth-best in the state.

3. Bloomington Christian softball player Tyler Hernandez swiped 10 more bases last week, giving her a state-leading 63 on the season and 122 for her career. Hernandez, a junior middle infielder, should make a run at the Southern Section career stolen base record next season. With two regular-season games and the playoffs still remaining this season, Hernandez is 80 stolen bases behind the section record set by Jenny Pahl of Temecula Linfield Christian in 1995-98.

4. The Eastvale Roosevelt girls’ track and field team dominated the Big VIII League championships Thursday at Riverside King High. The highlight of the Mustangs’ performance was their 400-meter relay team, as Chasity Ducre, Akia Armstrong, Kaelynn Greene and Iris Chijioke won the one-lap race in 46.54 seconds, the second-fastest time in the state this outdoor season. Roosevelt should only get faster as the postseason continues. If the Mustangs can avoid dropping the baton, look for them on the starting line at next month's state championships at Buchanan High School in Clovis.

5. The Vista Murrieta boys’ track and field team won the Southwestern League title Thursday, but the best news was Jovonte Slater and Bernard Quinn were back on the track after missing the last month with injuries. Slater has the best long-jump mark in the state this season at 24 feet-1 inches, and is No. 2 in the 100-meter dash (10.62). Quinn is second in the state in the 400 (47.71) and third in the 200 (21.22). Together, they have the potential to provide the Broncos huge points in defense of their Southern Section Division 1 team title and a run for for state championship.

Inland Empire: Chaparral vs. Vista Murrieta still has some importance

October, 13, 2010
OK, so it’s not the preeminent game in the Inland Empire this season.

That doesn’t mean Temecula Chaparral and Vista Murrieta won’t be grinding on their mouthpieces when they take the field Thursday night for their Southwestern League opener at Vista Murrieta High.

The last time these teams met was in the Inland Division championship game in December, when Chaparral pulled out a 13-7 victory to avenge a one-sided loss to the Broncos in league play.

The Pumas came into this season ranked as the best team in the Inland Empire by a number of publications, with Vista Murrieta a close second.

However, those roles were short-lived, especially for Chaparral, which lost its first four games by an average of 19 points.

During the same stretch, Vista Murrieta allowed 27 points to Etiwanda, squeaked by Corona Santiago and was then overrun by visiting Encino Crespi, 45-31.

What had been the featured match-up in the Inland Empire just a month ago was now just another league rivalry.

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Inland Empire: The top 10

September, 14, 2010
Norco leapfrogged Chaparral of Temecula in the rankings this week after the Cougars posted an impressive victory against visiting Crenshaw of Los Angeles. Meanwhile, down Interstate 15, Chaparral was getting knocked off its perch by Oceanside. Palm Springs wasn't impressive against short-handed Arroyo Valley, and Rancho Verde couldn't shake San Gorgonio until the fourth quarter.

1. (2) Vista Murrieta (1-0)

Jovonte Slater, eighth in the 100 meters at the state track and field finals last June, showed he's good on synthetic turf as well, running for two scores and returning a punt for another against Etiwanda. Last week: Beat Etiwanda, 49-27. Next: at Corona Santiago, Friday.

2. (3) Corona Centennial (1-0)

Barrinton Collins has made the move from wide receiver to running back look seamless and coach Matt Logan like a genius, rushing for five touchdowns against Birmingham of Lake Balboa. Last week: Beat Birmingham, 48-8. Next: vs. Mater Dei, Friday

3. (4) Norco (1-0)

Despite a sore hip, Kelsey Young rushed for just under 300 yards and three touchdowns as the Cougars came from behind to defeat Crenshaw of Los Angeles. Last week: Beat Crenshaw, 25-21. Next: vs. Etiwanda at Colony, Friday

4. (1) Temecula Chaparral (0-1)

The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Pumas over the next three weeks, but coach Tom Leach wouldn’t have it any other way. Last week: Lost to Oceanside, 21-14. Next: vs. Fresno Central, Friday

5. (5) Riverside Arlington (1-0)

Superiorr Reid spoiled the grand opening of El Camino’s new stadium by catching the go-ahead touchdown with 39 seconds remaining. Last week: Beat El Camino, 14-10. Next: vs. Riverside Poly at Riverside Ramona, Friday

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