2012 California Boys Track & Field Freshmen All-State Team
Harvard-Westlake frosh star GARRETT ROBINSON (center) was the varsity 400-meter champion in the tough Mission League. (Photo courtesy of Tim Sharpe, Harvard-Westlake)
SOUZA, ROBINSON SHINE BRIGHTEST AMONG CLASS OF 2015
By Rich Gonzalez
(JULY 6, 2012) -- With the official CIF season now complete and few select Junior Olympics competitions being the only meets still on the calendar, it's time to start taking a look back on the recently concluded 2012 outdoor track and field season and to recognize the top performers across the state in each grade class. First up: The ESPNHS/DyeStatCal Freshmen Boys All-State Team. Kingsburg's Joey Souza (at left, photo by Johnie Thomsen, Hartford Sentinel) arrived on the prep scene with solid junior high school credentials, but quickly made an impact at the next level in January of 2012 by winning the long jump competition at the California State Indoor Championships with a fine leap of 22-04.75. His sprinting talentsbecame more apparent outdoors, where he missed qualifying for the state meet by just one place as he placed fourth in the 100-meter dash at the Central Section Championships (top three placers advance to state from the Central Section) with a wind-legal time on 10.89, the year's fastest performance by a frosh. While Souza closed his first high school season with a flourish, he was consistent throughout, being one of two ninth graders to dip under 11.30 in wind-legal conditions on four separate occasions. Souza also had outdoor bests of 22.50 for the 200 and 22-07.25 for the long jump, emerging as the only freshman to make the All-State listing in three different events!
While it is rare when a freshman can make a clear and immediate impact on the varsity level, it is rarer yet when a ninth grader can prosper in one of the toughest leagues in the nation. Harvard-Westlake's Garrett Robinson (top of page, photo courtesy of Tim Sharpe) did just that, not only holding his own against the Mission League's best, but actually winning the 400-meter dash title on the varsity level with a stellar 49.07 clocking at the league finals meet. Two weeks later, Robinson threw down a lifetime-best performance at the CIF-SS Division III Finals, placing fifth in 48.75. Robinson also ranked second in the state for his class in the 200-meter dash, owning a wind-legal best of 22.41.
Unlike the entry limitations which freshmen sprinters and field eventers might encounter at invitationals (especially on the varsity level), more liberal field sizes in the distance events often allows for ample opportunity for the multi-lappers to shine and develop in their first year of high school. Huntington Beach Edison's Cooper Kossick (photo at right, courtesy of Brian Brierly) took full advantage of those opportunities to record the fastest time in the state in the 1600-meter run, 4:26.86 at the Distance Meet of Champions. Two weeks later, Kossick then posted the fastest mile in the state by a frosh, purring to a 4:28.92 performance in the Rising Stars Mile at the Arcadia Invitational. On six occasions, Kossick bettered 4:30 for either the mile or the 1600 and also had a best of 1:59.73 (#4 in the state) for the 800-meter run. Saratoga's Steven Sum was riding a hot groove by late season, dipping under 9:40 for 3200 meters on four occasions, including a frosh state-leading 9:26.45 to place fifth at the Central Coast Section Finals. At 800 meters, Vista Del Lago's Jeremiah Bias clearly was the class of his class, recording the three fastest times of the year in the two lapper. His seasonal best of 1:56.38 came at the Inland Empire Championships. As is very often the case, few freshmen are able to make a real dent on the ultra-deep annual state lists in the technique-oriented events, which are the hurdles and the field events. It is usually later in their prep careers that athletes effectively latch onto the broader learning curve that is vital in these trickier events. Even so, some ninth graders were still able to shine. The state's top weight man indeed was Mater Dei's Malik McMorris, whose heave of 52-06.75 at the Southern Section Division III Finals led the state. His best mark was nearly three feet further than any other frosh in the state. Two additional stellar frosh field events marks statewide were posted by Summit's Khalifah Rosser in the triple jump and Clovis West's Trevor Groom in the pole vault. Rosser bounded more than a foot further than the rest of his peers this year when he stretched to 46-01.75 in the Southern Section Division 2 Finals and Groom was a full 15 inches higher than any other frosh in the state when he cleared 14-00.00 at the early-season Clovis East Invitational. Groom is the grandson of famed pole vault coaching mentor Bob Fraley.
2012 CALIFORNIA OUTDOOR TRACK AND FIELD STATE LEADERS BEST FRESHMEN MARKS OF THE YEAR (WIND LEGAL MARKS ONLY)
ALL-STATE FRESHMEN BOYS TEAM 100 Joey Souza (Kingsburg-CE) 10.89 (+1.8) CE Masters Meet Dominic Davis (Alemany-SS) 10.98 (-0.1) Arcadiai Invitational Ricky Gonzalez (Webb-SS) 11.09 (-1.0) San Gabriel Valley Champs Bosco Bapuopeleh (Stuart Hall-NC) 11.19 (+1.0) NCS MOC Trials Scott Patton (Woodbridge-SS) 11.23 (+0.0) Pacific Coast Lg Finals Assante Pulliam (Etiwanda-SS) 11.23 (+1.2) Baseline Lg Finals Hakeem Mays (Willow Glen-CC) 11.24 (+1.1) CCS Top 8 John Hill (Chaminade-SS) 11.31 (-0.1) Arcadia Invitational Tyrel Carrigan (Encinal-NC) 11.32 (+1.0) NCS MOC Trials
ALL-STATE FRESHMEN BOYS TEAM 200 Chris Byers (Los Osos-SS) 22.30 (+2.0) Baseline Lg Finals Garrett Robinson (Harvard-Westl-SS) 22.41 (-0.7) Mission Lg Finals Joey Souza (Kingsburg-CE) 22.50 (+1.4) Sequoia-Sierra Finals Lujuan Lawson (Casa Grande-NC) 22.57 (+0.8) NCS Redwood Area Damion Marshall (Great Oak-SS) 22.64 (-1.7) Vista Murrieta dual Assante Pulliam (Etiwanda-SS) 22.65 (+2.0) Baseline Lg Prelims Dominic Davis (Alemany-SS) 22.68 (-0.7) Mission Lg Finals Isaiah Langley (Foothill-NC) 22.74 (+0.3) EBAL Finals Ross Niederhaus (St. Francis-SS) 22.83 (+0.9) Mission Lg Finals
ALL-STATE FRESHMEN BOYS TEAM 400 Garrett Robinson (Harv.-Westl.-SS) 48.75 CIF-SS Division 3 Finals Khalifah Rosser (Summit-SS) 49.16 North Area Finals Sidney Ezenwugo (Edison-CE) 49.44 North Area Finals Marcus Beloney (McClatchy-SJ) 49.74 SJS Masters Trials Chris Byers (Los Osos-SS) 49.82 SS Division 2 Prelims Damion Marshall (Great Oak-SS) 50.31 Southwestern Lg Finals Cameron Stone (Sheldon-SJ) 50.52 SJS Masters Trials Aaron Jones (Castro Valley-NC) 50.81 HAAL Finals Hunter Muncie (Los Altos-SS) 50.94 San Gabriel Valley Champs
ALL-STATE FRESHMEN BOYS TEAM 800 Jeremiah Bias (Vista Del L.-SS) 1:56.38 Inland Empire Champs Jack Ploeg (Elk Grove-SJ) 1:58.25 Delta Valley Conf. Finals Joshua Bell (Great Oak-SS) 1:59.53 SCAUSATF Jr Olympics Cooper Kossick (Edison/HB-SS) 1:59.73 SS Division 1 Prelims Sidney Ezenwugo (Edison/Fr.-CE) 2:00.16 CMAC Finals Ricardo Romero (Overfelt-CC) 2:00.28 CCS Trials Irvin Rojas (San Marcos-SD) 2:00.58 Avocado East Lg Finals Keaton Smith (Dana Hills-SS) 2:00.75 South Coast Lg Finals Connor Morello (Clovis-CE) 2:00.98 TRAC Finals
ALL-STATE FRESHMEN BOYS TEAM 1600 Cooper Kossick (Edison/HB-SS) 4:26.86 Distance MOC Ben Weissenbach (Harvard-Westl.-SS) 4:30.48 Crespi dual Sean Pino (Crean Lutheran-SS) 4:30.65 Orange County Champs Anthony Palazzo (Beckman-SS) 4:30.85 Pacific Coast Lg Prelims Michael Hulme (Mater Dei-SS) 4:31.10 Orange County Champs Graham Rigby (Westlake-SS) 4:31.82 Agoura/Royal triangular Edgar Bonilla (King City-CC) 4:32.62 MTAL Finals Keane Kelley (Stockdale-CE) 4:32.72 SWYL Lg Meet #2 Steven Sum (Saratoga-CC) 4:32.72c St. Francis Invl
ALL-STATE FRESHMEN BOYS TEAM 3200 Steven Sum (Saratoga-CC) 9:26.45 Central Coast Section Finals Matt Schumman (De La Salle-NC) 9:29.63 Sacramento MOC Jose Pina (Lincoln-CC) 9:38.46 BVAL-Mt. Hamilton Finals Sean Pino (Crean Lutheran-SS) 9:44.21 SS Division 4 Prelims Drew Childs (Bella Vista-SJ) 9:44.35 Sacramento MOC Anthony Palazzo (Beckman-SS) 9:44.58 Pacific Coast Lg Finals Brendan Gee (Rancho Bern.-SD) 9:45.25 Mt. Carmel Inv Robert Brandt (Loyola-SS) 9:48.07 Arcadia Invitational Roman Esparza (Northview-SS) 9:49.86 SS Division 3 Prelims
ALL-STATE FRESHMEN BOYS TEAM 110HH Gary Hawkins (Gabrielino-SS) 15.78 (+1.9) SS Division 3 Prelims Kyle Lawson (Clovis-CE) 16.02 (+1.4) North Area Finals Jonathan Perry (Sheldon-SJ) 16.16 (-1.2) Delta River Lg Finals Jacoby Herring (Citrus Hill-SS) 16.23 (-0.6) King Fr/So Classic Colin Samuel (Alemany-SS) 16.31 (-0.1) Mission Lg Finals
ALL-STATE FRESHMEN BOYS TEAM 300IH Khalifah Rosser (Summit-SS) 39.83 SS Division 2 Finals Alex Netherda (Maria Carrillo-NC) 41.20 Viking Track Classic Cedric Peterson (Rancho Verde-SS) 41.63 King Fr/So Classic Wesley Hill (Cajon-SS) 41.68 San Andreas Lg Finals
ALL-STATE FRESHMEN BOYS TEAM HIGH JUMP Brian Graber (Granite Bay-SJ) 6-03.00 SJS DII-III Trials Justin Zinnerman (Rancho Cotate-NC) 6-02.00 NCS MOC Finals A.J. Beynon (Edison/HB-SS) 6-02.00 Sunset Lg Finals Wes Coffey (Palm Desert-SS) 6-01.00 SS Division 3 Prelims
ALL-STATE FRESHMEN BOYS TEAM POLE VAULT Trevor Groom (Clovis West-CE) 14-00.00 Clovis East Carnival Benjamin Gray (Temple City-SS) 12-09.00 SS Division 3 Prelims Barrett Weiss (Flintridge Prep-SS) 12-09.00 SS Division 4 Finals Gareth Weiss (Flintridge Prep-SS) 12-09.00 SS Division 4 Finals
ALL-STATE FRESHMEN BOYS TEAM LONG JUMP Joey Souza (Kingsburg-CE) 23-06.25 (+1.8) Central Section Champs Bryce Higgins (Bakersfield-CE) 21-07.75 (+1.8) South Yosemite Area Finals Donell Pleasant (Lincoln-SD) 21-04.75 (+1.6) Dick Wilkins Fr/So Inv Nick Fisher (Great Oak-SS) 21-02.50 (+0.8) Arcadia Invitational Jaime Nunley (Vista Murrieta-SS) 21-00.00 (+0.1) Inland Empire Champs
ALL-STATE FRESHMEN BOYS TEAM TRIPLE JUMP Khalifah Rosser (Summit-SS) 46-01.75 (+1.6) SS Division 2 Finals Sean Ezenwugo (Edison/Fr.-CE) 44-11.50 (+1.9) CMAC Finals Brandon Brooks (Patrick Henry-SD) 42-00.50 (+1.0) Dick Wilkins Fr/So Inv
ALL-STATE FRESHMEN BOYS TEAM SHOT PUT Malik McMorris (Mater Dei-SS) 52-06.75 SS Division 3 Finals Matt Katnik (St. John Bosco-SS) 49-11.75 Trinity Lg Finals Eric Trevino (Kingsburg-CE) 49-00.00 Sanger Metric Classic Max Matuzak (Servite-SS) 48-01.50 Beach Citiies Inv Edward Purifoy (Cathedral Catholic-SD) 48-01.00 Dick Wilkins Fr/So Inv
ALL-STATE FRESHMEN BOYS TEAM DISCUS Matt Smith (Bakersfield Christian-CE) 141-11 Sierra Pacific Inv