It was more than an hour after Wilson sophomore Rachel Glenn had proven herself California’s best high school high jumper, and the effusive Glenn was still on the field. First there were photos, then a trip to the top of the podium to be crowned the co-champion alongside Riverside Poly’s Abbie Burke. Then a wave to the thousands of fans in the stands, and more photos. Then a long walk across the entire facility to the waiting media line, where there were video interviews and, yes, more photos.
Finally, she made her way off the competition field at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Clovis to receive hugs from her family and coaches. It was worth the wait, and Saturday’s crowning accomplishment was a moment worth savoring. Glenn cleared 5-4, 5-6, and 5-8 with no misses, then only missed once at 5-10 en route to being crowned state champion.
“I’m so pumped up, I’m so happy,” said Glenn, who was one of the state’s breakout stars this year.
Prior to this year Glenn said she’d never really focused on the high jump, until a 5-11 clearance at the California Relays catapulted her to instant fame.
“Everyone keeps telling me that it’s so special and that it’s great and for me it’s normal, I don’t know,” she said. “I’m excited about the next two years, I want first place—I’m just so thankful and happy.”
While Glenn opened the meet with a bang, the Wilson boys’ 4×400 team closed it with fireworks, as the quartet of Andrew Richards, Emari Bennett, Steven Camacho, and Jordan Weimer ran a school-record time of 3:12.88 to take third.
“I’ve been wanting that record since it happened,” said Bennett. “To get it in my last race ever, my senior year, it’s amazing.”
Wilson coach Neil Nelson switched the relay order by putting Bennett second; the senior ran the quartet’s best split of 47.25, helping keep Wilson in the lead through the first three legs.
“They were stressing, we just wanted them to have fun and run,” said Nelson.
Long Beach Poly had an eventful day with two relays and two individuals competing in Saturday’s finals, with the Jackrabbits girls’ team finishing fourth in the team standings. The day began with the 4x100s, where the Poly girls (Quwshaya Peters, Jaelyn Predium, Kenya Payne, and Ariyonna Augustine) took fourth in 46.71.
The Poly boys (Anthony Johnson, Kejuan Markham, Kenyon Reed, and Ashun Brown) also finished fourth in 41.5, just off their season best.
“We’re winning it next year,” said a confident Markham of a Poly quartet that will not graduate any runners.
Augustine came into the state meet as the defending state champion in the 100 and 200 and had already won CIF-SS Division 1 and Masters golds in both events. She finished third in the 100 and second in the 200 after a late stumble. Her leg was in so much pain after she could barely climb the podium.
“It wasn’t the way I wanted to end my high school career,” she said. “I had a great time at Long Beach Poly and I’m glad I could help to make history over the years.”
There may be more history ahead for junior Kenya Payne, who blazed a personal best 42.30 in the 300 hurdles to take fourth place in a race with only two runners that weren’t seniors.
“It’s so exciting, it makes me really want to push myself for next year,” she said.
Millikan’s Riley Williams said he considered the 300 hurdles his “second event” to his preferred long jump, but he may need to reconsider that priority order given that he ran his way onto the podium in the hurdles, finishing sixth in 38.23.
“This was my side event, I’m really happy to make it all this way,” he said.
St. Anthony freshman Asjah Atkinson continued her remarkable debut season by making Saturday’s state final in the 100 hurdles, finishing seventh in 14.26; she was the only runner younger than 11thgrade in the race.
Please visit The562.org to subscribe and support Long Beach sports coverage.