CIF STATE TRACK AND FIELD NOTEBOOK
Fabulous Freshmen Placers
1st Johnny Carter (Ridgeview) TJ, 49-0¾).
2nd Brendon Bigelow (Central) 200, 21.43
6th Elias Gedyon (Loyola) 800, 1:54.08
1st Akawkaw Ndipagbor (Long Beach Poly) 400, 53.35
3rd Kaylin Mahoney (Saugus) 3,200, 10:25.40
4th Alli Billmeyer (Torrey Pines) 1,600, 4:52.70
4th Ciarra Brewer (Logan) TJ, 39-7½
4th Jenna Prandini (Clovis) LJ, 19-2¾
5th Jazmin Harper (Oakmont) 400, 55.36
5th Molly Grabill (Rancho Bernardo) 3,200, 10:27.97
5th MacKenzie Landry (Del Oro) PV, 11-6
6th Melia Cox (Long Beach Poly) TJ, 39-1½
More CIF State Track Stories
Times plus distance equals bedlam (Click here).
No doubting Vashti Thomas (Click here).
Distance notebook (Click here).
By Mitch Stephens
NORWALK, Calif. – Turn about wasn’t just fair, it was spectacular.
A pair of fleet and engaging sophomores put on a dazzling sprint duel at the 90th CIF State Track and Field Championships on Saturday.
Ashton Purvis, a national age-group record setter from St. Elizabeth (Oakland), won the 100 meter dash in 11.92 seconds, edging Highland (Palmdale) standout Jessica Davis (11.97). Both were facing a 1.9-meters per second wind.
“It felt good but it would have felt better if we were down around 11.5,” Purvis said. “I guess the wind slowed us down.”
About an hour later, Davis got revenge, fighting back from a 5-meter deficit down the stretch to edge Purvis by the same margin, 23.46 to 23.51. Again, the duo faced a breeze, -1.6.
“I can’t be beat twice,” Davis said. “I like (winning) from behind. I could hear the crowd yelling ‘pull, pull, pull.’ I knew I was going to get her. I was tired and the wind was blowing but all I could think of was ‘Got to catch her, got to catch her.’ “
Purvis couldn’t remember being caught in the 200, an event she holds national indoor marks as both a freshman and sophomore. She had the national leading time of 23.47 set in the trials the day before. Davis had run a wind-aided 23.22 the same day.
Considering the wind each ran into on Saturday, those times would have been remarkable on a calm day.
“I give her (Davis) a lot of credit,” Purvis said. “She’s a real good runner. But I kind of feel the 200 is my event so it doesn’t feel real good right now.”
Said Davis: “It should be a great competition with her the next two years. I’ll give her credit, she’s a real good competitor. We’ll see what happens.”
POLY OVERCOMES MISHAP: What started as a nightmare for Long Beach Poly’s girls turned into glory as the Jackrabbits claimed their state-record ninth team title.
Buoyed by a surprising championship in the high jump by sophomore Tara Richmond (5 feet, 11 inches) and the not-so-surprising one-two finish in the 400 by freshman Akawkaw Ndipagbor (53.35) and junior Jasmine Joseph (53.54), Poly overcame a dropped baton in the meet’s very first running event, the 400 relay in Friday’s prelims.
The Jackrabbits were heavy favorite in that event, but still wound up with 39 points to 30 for runner-up Mt. Pleasant (San Jose).
“I gathered the team after (the dropped baton) and said that there’s nothing we can do about that now,” said legendary Poly coach Donald “Papa Don” Norford. “I told them it’s all up to the individuals now. They young kids came through. I’m really proud of them.”
As expected, the Poly 1,600 relay team of senior Tanisha Hawkins, Ndipagbor, freshman Autumn Fowler and Joseph breezed to victory in 3:40.87 to clinch the team title.
The only way the Jackrabbits would lose the team competition was if they dropped the baton.
“That wasn’t going to happen,” Joseph said. “Not twice.”
FUEL AND FIRE: Dominguez (Compton) had plenty of fuel and speed. They just needed a little fire to win its first state boys title.
The Dons overcame a narrow loss to open the meet and ended with a superlative finish – a national-leading time in the 1,600 relay – to finish with 36 points to 32 for runner-ups Long Beach Poly and Los Gatos.
Poly senior Evant Orange outleaned Dominguez senior MaNoah Wesson to take the 400 relay in a photo finish, 41.26 to 41.27.
“That just fueled our fire,” Dominguez senior Aaron Hester said.
Hester followed junior Kivon Grant, Wesson and sophomore Leon Dillihunt to anchor the Dons to a 3:09.59 performance in the 1,600 relay, easily outdistancing Poly (3:12.58) to win the meet. If the order was reversed, the meet would have ended in a deadlock.
Poly was going for its state-best 10th state-meet crown but Dominguez came through with the sixth best time in state history, according to dyestatcal.com, and the best mark since 1997.
“We proved ourselves again,” Dillihunt said. “We weren’t going to be denied.”
Dillihunt showed the same determination but couldn’t overcome the 400 effort of Poly senior Joey Hughes, who won in a national-leading mark of 46.28. Dillihunt was right on his heels at 46.60.
Dominguez also got 10 points from 110 high hurdles winner DeVron Walker (13.96), while Hughes add four points for Poly with a fourth-place finish in the 200.
“We didn’t win but I’m proud of how we competed and improved,” Poly coach Norford said. “(Dominguez) just had a little more today. Give them credit.”
Los Gatos, got wins and a state-meet record from defending pole vault champion Nico Weiler (17-3), who broke his old mark of 17-2. The Wildcats also got second-place efforts from Kevin Rutledge (long jump (23-9 ½) and Colin Quirke (shot put, 62-0), who also took third in the discus (188-11).
Los Gatos missed out on two extra points when La Mirada senior Cameron Gillette hit 24-1¾ on his final attempt to win the long jump, otherwise Rutledge would have prevailed. Gillette’s long was 22-9 until then but with a 2.9 wind at his back, he nailed it.
TWO-LAP SPLENDOR: The winning marks won’t rattle any record-keepers, but the two 800 races were as good as they come.
There were six different leaders in the final 300 meters of the girls race, won by Culver City senior Anniya Louis (2:10.29) who held off a late charge by Palo Alto senior Mia Lattanzi (2:10.32) and Edison junior Meghan Foley (2:10.82). Three other girls finished within a 1.5 seconds of the winner.
In the boys race, Mission Bay senior Charles Jock, a lumbering 6-foot-2 specimen, made a great comeback, passing two strong runners in the final 100 meters to win in 1:51.64, edging Arroyo senior Derek Thomas, who led for most of the last lap, in 1:51.86.
DOUBLE TROUBLE: Dayshan Ragans was the first Californian male to ever win both the shot put and discus the same year and he let everyone know about it.
The Foothill senior let out a bellowing winning shot put mark of 62-10 to edge Quire (62-0) and give him his first crown. The massive Cal State Bakersfield-bound standout then won with ease, taking the discus with a toss of 202-06, bettering runner-up Blake Ayles, of Orange Lutheran, who went 193-6.
Ragans titles were particularly significant considering the road he’s taken. According to a story by Zach Ewing of the Bakersfield Californian, overcame a difficult home life and last year’s heartache of fouling out in the shot put and finishing second in the discus.
“It feels good to be up (on the victory stand) and bring the state title back to Bakersfield,” he said.
Another Kearn County star won two events as Shafter junior Anna Jelmini claimed both the shot put (48-3½) and the discus (169-4). The country’s top female weightsperson came up short in an attempt to break Suzy Powell’s 188-4 state record, but it was still a remarkable season.
She has the nation’s top discus mark this year at 183-11, the state’s No. 2 mark all-time.
Her weights double was the fourth ever done in the 90-year history of the state meet. She did it despite the pressure of her being the overwhelming favorite. She was unbeaten her entire junior year.
“I try not to think about pressure,” she told the Californian. “I just feel really excited and relieved.”
The most impressive double probably came from Cathedral junior Randall Carroll who ran away and hid from a very even sprint field.
The USC-bound standout and football wide receiver won in 10.42 and 20.91, easily defeating Rancho Cucamonga junior Charles Saseun (10.63) and Central freshman sensation Brendon Bigelow (21.43).
HIGH JUMPER/TREND BREAKER: Harrison Steed, just a sophomore at Serra High (San Juan Capistrano), became the first high jumper since 2000 and only the third since 1995 to clear 7 feet in the CIF state meet with a winning effort of 7-1.
The first to clear 7-0 at a state meet was Compton’s Reynaldo Brown, who did it back-to-back years starting in 1968. The 70s featured six 7-footers, including Olympic champion Dwight Stones (1971, 7-1½), the 80s produced seven and the 90s six.
After Ebon Glenn went 7-0 in 2000, there were seven straight meets without a 7-footer until Streed. Considering he has two more years left, he might start a new trend.
NOTES: With 8,542 during prelims, the two-day event drew 19,254 fans, more than the CIF got for its football or basketball championships. …Other individual champions included Claremont sophomore Kori Carter (300 hurdles, 41.28), Rancho Bernardo junior Emily Mattoon (pole vault, 12-6), West Torrance senior Brian Baucham (300 hurdles, 37.26), Ridgeview freshman Johnny Carter (triple jump, 49-0¾). …
E-mail Mitch Stephens at firstname.lastname@example.org