CLOVIS, Calif. —
For all the lengthy anticipation of the 102nd California Interscholastic Federation Track and Field Championships — the last two were canceled due to COVID-19 — its headliner likely won't be on the track very long this weekend.
junior Rodrick Pleasant
, a top football recruit, last week broke the state record with the fastest 100-meter time in California history at 10.14 seconds, breaking the old mark of 10.25. He's also the national leader in the 200 at 20.40.
But of the more than 10,000 fans who figure to fill Veterans Stadium on the campus of Buchanan (Clovis)
Friday for trials and Saturday for the finals will no doubt make it back to their seats to watch the 5-foot-11, 180-pound speedster, whose 200 time broke the California junior record two weeks ago.
Better be quick. Because Pleasant is a blur.
, the 20.40 is No. 2 all-time on the high school list behind only Olympian Michael Norman, who went 20.14 as a senior at Vista Murrieta in 2016 at the Olympic trials.
Pleasant will also be on the track in the day's first running event, anchoring the Cavaliers' 400 relay team that has the second fastest qualifying mark (41.14) behind only hometown Central (Fresno)
An injured quad sustained at the Arcadia Invitational early in the season limited Pleasant, who said he felt 100 percent two weeks ago. That's when he recorded the 20.40 200 and had a wind-aided 10.17 time at the Southern Section Division 4 meet.
Last week in the section's Masters Meet he lowered the 100 time in wind-legal conditions, breaking the state mark of 10.25 shared by Domani Jackson of Mater Dei in 2021 and Henry Thomas of Hawthorne in 1985.
"I'm just getting healthy," Pleasant told reporters after the race. "That was the aim to get that record. I'm so happy."
Now he thinks he can go even faster and with warm conditions in Clovis — temperatures are supposed to be in the low 90s Friday and down to 80 on Saturday — with his ultimate goal to take home three golds.
His speed is a major reason why he's such a coveted football recruit. He's ranked the No. 71 junior recruit in the country by 247Sports
and the No. 9 cornerback. Hampered somewhat by injuries, Pleasant had eight pass deflections. On offense, he managed six touches from scrimmage — three catches and three rushes — but had 88 yards and two touchdowns. He also had a kickoff return for 82 yards and another touchdown.
He has 25 college offers but appears to have narrowed his choices to Boston College, Oregon and USC.
Track and field will no doubt be part of his activities in college.
More headliners for the meet, regarded as the best high school sporting event in the state:
* The boys distance races lost some major panache as national stalwarts Colin Sahlman and junior twins Lex and Leo Young, all from Newbury Park
, all withdrew to either race in professional events or were stricken with a viral infection.
Sahlman's brother Aaron Sahlman
, a junior at Newbury Park, is a favorite in the 800 with a best of 1:48.91. With the Newbury Park trio out of the way, another local, Clovis
junior Christopher Caudillo
(8:45.19), is the favorite to win the 3200.
* With the subtraction of another national leader, short and long hurdler Jadyn Marshall of St. Mary's Stockton, out with hamstring issues, the two events are wide open. Senior Delaney Crawford
(37.23) and junior Kai Graves-Blanks
(13.64), both of Upland
, not are the favorites in the 300 and 110 hurdles, respectively.
* Jumper J.C. Stevenson
of Great Oak is the favorite to double up in two tough events, the long jump (24-9.50) and the triple jump (48-6).