Returning boys’ champions
800 - Sean Krinik (Valencia). SP - Mike Darr Frontier-Bakersfield) Discus - Darr.
Returning girls’ champions
100 - Valexsia Droughn (Rio Mesa-Oxnard). 200 - Ashton Purvis (St. Elizabeth-Oakland). 100 hurdles - Kori Carter (Claremont). 300 hurdles - Carter. 400 relay - Long Beach Poly. 1,600 relay – Serra-Gardena. HJ - Adrienne Johnson (Carondelet-Concord) Pole vault – Kortney Ross (Westview-San Diego). TJ – Ciarra Brewer (Logan-Union City)
Boys 400 – Josh Mance (Don Lugo) and Robert Woods (Serra-Gardena) 46.17; 800 – Sean Krinik (Valencia) 149.18. Girls 200 – Jessica Davis (Highland) 23.42. Girls 400 relay – Long Beach Poly 45.29. Discus – Alex Collatz (Stockdale) 180-9.
State leading marks – CLICK HERE.
Qualifying marks (from all 10 Sectional finals) – CLICK HERE.
CLOVIS, Calif. – The relatively cool and mild conditions here last year have long sizzled away.
Temperatures for the 92nd annual CIF Track and Field Championships scheduled today (trials) and Saturday (finals) at beautiful Veteran’s Stadium on the campus of Buchanan High School figure to soar into the mid-90s.
The action on the track and marks in the field figure to match the weather.
Five events already boast national leaders and annually this meet produces at least a handful more and even threaten or boast national records.
Last year, La Sierra’s Reggie Wyatt, now at USC, broke the national 300-meter hurdles mark of 35.02 seconds. He set it during the trials.
The year before, the distance brigade put on a show as current Arkansas standout German Fernandez (Riverbank HS) broke the National Federated High School 3,200 mark by almost eight seconds (astonishing really) with a time of 8 minutes, 34.23 seconds and Christine Babcock (Woodcreek), who is now starring at the University of Washing, broke her own national 1,600 record by winning in 4:33.82.
In all 18 of track and field’s 32 national records are held by California athletes or teams. All of them participated in the state meet.
As good as the meet promises to be, it’s actually missing a pair of national leaders.
The 400 relay boys’ team from Serra-Gardena, with the nation’s best time of 40.66, dropped the stick in early elimination rounds and Mater Dei pole vaulter Michael Woepse (17-6) has never recovered from an injury in April.
Both Serra and Woepse were the defending champions.
Only two males are back to defend their titles – Valencia 800 runner and national leader Sean Krinik and Frontier senior weightsman Mike Darr, who will protect a pair of titles.
Claremont senior and hurdler extraordinaire Kori Carter will also defend a pair of titles, one of eight female individuals or teams attempting to repeat as champions.
Long Beach Poly is the heavy favorite to repeat its dominating girls title from 2009, when it won by 17 points, while four boys’ teams who shared the championship – Frontier, Cathedral, La Sierra and Clovis East – will go for a second straight crown.
Here are 10 of the top storylines heading into what promises to be a very fast meet.
1. Settling the 400 score
Two Californians share the national lead in the 400 – Don Lugo senior Josh Mance and Serra-Gardena icon Robert Woods, both at 46.17. The duo finished in a virtual dead head at the Southern Section Masters, but Mance was awarded the win by six-thousandths-of-a-second. Another war is brewing this week and should mirror last year’s most heated rivalry in the girls 400 between Serra’s Turquoise Thompson and Akawkaw Ndipagbor, of Long Beach Poly.
2. Settle 400 score II
Thompson edged Ndipagbor with a dive to win 53.10 to 53.12 in the day’s most scintillating finish. Few noticed that Deer Valley’s Chizoba Okodogbe ran the race of her life and placed third at 53.74. Okodogbe was noticeably unhappy with her finish though few expected her to unseat her Southern California rivals. She came out particularly determined this year, winning at Arcadia and holding down the state lead most of the season. She ran a lifetime best of 53.02 at last week’s North Coast Section Meet of Champions - a section record – but was upset not to get in the 52s. Ndipagbor (53.64), a junior, no doubt will want to make amends for placing third last week at the Southern Section Masters behind Serra freshman Chimere Ezumah (55.30)and Etiwanda junior Vanessa Jones (53.58). Might, once again, be best girls race of the two days.
3. Crowning jewel
Even with its 400 relay mishap, If Woods can prevail and anchor the favored 1,600 relay team to victory, Serra-Gardena will be in good shape to take the boys crown. That would be a perfect finish to a truly banner season. Serra already has state titles in football and basketball.
4. Can Purvis double?
St. Elizabeth senior Ashton Purvis won the 100 meters as a sophomore and the 200 title as a junior. As a freshman, she finished second in both events to current Texas A&M blur Jeneba Tarmoh. She’s favored to put it all together and erase the nightmare of false starting in a 100 trials heat last season. Of course, she has at least two monumental obstacles in defending 100 champion Valexsia Droughn (Rio Mesa) and longtime nemesis Jessica Davis (Highland), who is the current national leader in the 200 (23.42) and who beat Purvis in the state finals in 2008. The Miami-bound Purvis is bent on finishing off her senior year with two golds.
5. Which USC-bound football star will steal the spotlight?
If not for a first-half ankle injury, Crenshaw junior sprinter D’Anthony Thomas might have led his team to a state Open Division bowl win over De La Salle. He’d like to wipe out that memory with a possible sweep in the 100 and 200 with best times this year of 10.57 and a slightly wind-aided 20.61. His football rival is Woods, who he’ll face in the 200. Woods best 200 is 21.08. Both are headed for USC, however Thomas has a another year of high school.
6. Year of the blond
Supposedly, blonds and fun coincide, but blonds and sprints rarely mix. This could be a rare exception as Rio Mesa senior Jamison Jordan, tagged “The Blond Blur” comes in with the fastest qualifying time of 10.52 seconds after winning the Southern Section Masters. If Jordan and Droughn prevail, it would be just the second time the same school has produced the same 100 champion in the same year. In 1981, Berkeley’s Sharon Ware and Ken Robinson won the short sprint. Rio Mesa, by the way, also boasts three-time 100 champion Angela Burnham and another two-time champ by the name of Marion Jones, who also won two crowns while at Thousand Oaks.
7. Hometown girl
One of the state’s finest and most versatile athletes Jenna Prandini, of Clovis, would love nothing more than to please the hometown fans. She, by far, as the top qualifying 100 mark at 11.46 but has plenty of competition in Purvis, Davis, Droughn and Pinewood’s Angela Gradiska, who finished fourth here last year. Prandini, who already owns nine Central Section titles, also ranks fifth in the long jump and second in the triple jump.
8. Hometown boy
Well, Frontier High School is some 100 miles from Clovis but it’s still the hometown Central Section. That’s where Mike Darr is from and he’s hoping to defend titles, in the shot put and discus. He won both events last year with marks of 62-1.25 and 192-0. He enters qualified first in the shot put (63-6.50) and third in the discus (184-7).
9. Winning for brother
Another football standout with fantastic bloodlines is Granada junior Josh Atkinson, who last week swept the NCS MOC 100 and 200. His twin brother George swept both events as a sophomore but sustained a season-ending hamstring pull three weeks ago. Josh said he was running largely for George, who finished third (100) and fourth (200) last year at state. The twins are sons of former NFL defensive back great George Atkinson.
10. Shot putting for history
Lincoln senior Chioma Amaechi, the state leader in the girls shot put and No. 1 qualifier at 48-11, is attempting to be the first San Francisco Section female to win a state title. The nation’s No. 1 junior (20-and-under) weightlifter showed her big-meet prowess earlier this year, winning at Arcadia.