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.
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.
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.
When it comes to pure speed, McClain is the class of this meet heading down the straightaway. He’ll have a little less room for error in the 200, as Beejay Lee of West Covina was less than a tenth of second behind McClain at the Masters and Lee will have just the one event to focus on since he was disqualified in the 100 for a false start at the section finals.
Gedyon found himself in another dead sprint to the finish line last weekend, but this time he didn’t get out-leaned at the line. Gedyon won the eight-lap race in 8:57.73, just clipping Heyden Wooff of Camarillo (8:57.77) for the top two qualifying times. The runner to keep an eye on, however, is Ammar Moussa of Arcadia, who owns the state-leading time this season (8:49.59) and will be fresh for this race.
It’s very possible the team title could come down to this meet-ending race. Serra is the top qualifier (3:14.31), followed by Long Beach Poly (3:14.67), which has gone as low as 3:13.52 this season. Vista Murrieta, who won the Division 1 section title two weeks ago, qualified fourth at 3:16.28. The top six qualifiers hail from the Southern Section.
Miles Poullard of Ontario Colony cleared 6 feet 11 inches at the Masters Meet but he might need to go a little higher to knock off Brandon Ford of San Diego Mt. Carmel; the only athlete to soar 7-0 this season. Noel Frazier of San Ramon California has also cleared 6-11 this season.
Adam Bragg of El Toro cleared a school-record 16-3 at Masters to earn top qualifying honors and move into a tie for the state lead with Mark Sakioka of Newport Harbor. Evan Barr of Loyola also figures to be in the mix. Scott Greenman of Clovis might be the only serious threat from outside the Southern Section.
Jovonte Slater of Vista Murrieta soared 24-11 ¾ to win the Division 1 title two weeks ago, but he had the aid of slight tailwind. Jacob Snowof Oceanside El Camino won a San Diego Section title with a wind-aided mark of 24-10 but he’ll be the event’s No. 1 qualifier because his mark came in his section’s state qualifying meet. Slater went 24-2 at Masters, making him the event’s No. 3 qualifier.
Only the second event that doesn’t have a Southern Section athlete as the top qualifier, the triple jump could still come down to a jump-off between No. 1 qualifier Marques Roberts of San Diego Otay Ranch and Hesperia Sultana sophomore Jaelen Spencer, who soared a state-leading 50-2 ¼ at the section finals but could only manage 47-4 ½ at Masters, leaving him as the No. 9 qualifier.
Nicholas Scarvelis of Goleta Dos Pueblos is the class of this group, though a bigger story could be the depth of El Toro’s throwing corps. The Chargers will send three shot putters to the state finals, Jake Fraser, Sullivan Parker and Brad Bolton, and all three are among the top 10 leaders in the state.
After Will Irwin of Clovis East blew away the competition last year and came within six feet of the state meet record, the discus event probably won’t see any 200-foot throws this season. Ma’A Brown of Paramount, the only thrower to surpass 200 feet this season, did not qualify, leaving Ryan Hunter-Simms as the No. 1 qualifier at 192-5. Ethan Cochran of Newport Harbor is the state qualifier to throw further than Hunter-Simms this season (195-4).