Gas up the van, there’s going to be a big contingent of Long Beach athletes heading to Clovis for the CIF State Track & Field championships this weekend. Of the 13 entries into Saturday’s CIF Southern Section Masters Meet at El Camino College, 10 advanced to the state meet including representatives from four schools.
Long Beach Poly led the way with six entries, including a double Masters championship from Ariyonna Augustine, the LSU signee who defended her 100 and 200 meter titles and will now attempt to defend her state titles.
There had been a lot of ink spilled about how a challenger from Calabasas or Serra might unseat Augustine this weekend, but she put that to bed with a time of 11.7 in the 100 and 23.87 in the 200.
“It was important to me, I was pretty motivated today,” she said. “It helps me build confidence for next week.”
With Poly’s prom taking place Saturday evening, Augustine did not run on Poly’s mile relay as she had so far this postseason. The Jackrabbits finished seventh in 3:50.75, missing a state berth by .32 seconds.
Augustine also anchored the third-place Poly 4×100 relay, with she and teammates Jaelyn Predium, Quwshaya Peters, and Kenya Payne taking third place in a time of 46.92, behind Serra and Calabasas.
Payne punched her ticket to state in the 300 hurdles with a sixth-place finish and a time of 42.92. The Jackrabbits have a shot to repeat as state champions but will need every point they can get at Clovis with the title expected to be decided by a few points.
The Jackrabbits got a pair of entries on the boys’ side as well, with the Jackrabbit 4×100 quartet of Kenyon Reed, Kejuan Markham, Anthony Johnson, and Ashun Brown finishing fifth in a time of 41.71. Markham also continued his outstanding debut season on the oval by qualifying for state as an individual in the 100, finishing fourth with a time of 10.72.
“I didn’t think I’d get this far,” said Markham, who has over a dozen scholarship offers as a football player. “I just wanted to run a 10.9 this year, going to state is amazing.”
Markham said he’d always viewed track as just a way of using racing to improve speed, but that this year has given him a deeper appreciation for the sport.
“It’s so hard, I really respect it now,” he said.
Wilson had a pair of qualifiers as sophomore Rachel Glenn cleared Saturday’s top height of 5-6, punching her ticket to state. Glenn qualified by clearing 5-4 but kept jumping.
“I really wanted to win, that’s all that was in my head,” she said. “I’m really excited about getting to state.”
Wilson’s 4×400 boys’ team is one of the best in California and they proved it again Saturday with a blazing time of 3:15.50, good enough for second-best behind Aliso Niguel. The Bruins quartet of Steven Camacho, Andrew Richards, Jordan Weimer, and Emari Bennett said they were happy to be arriving at their destination.
“All the work, all the training, all the time you put in is for that 40 seconds of glory,” said Richards. “We’ve been training all year for state, now it’s up next.”
Aliso Niguel has come on strong late in the season and for a second straight week caught the Bruins in the final 150 meters, winning in a time of 3:14.86; the race between those two teams should be one of the most hotly-anticipated features of next weekend’s state championships.
St. Anthony freshman phenom Asjah Atkinson was the sixth and final qualifier in the 100 hurdles, in a strange race. After a timing issue at the start, the race was stopped with most runners more than halfway to the finish. The race was then moved back by 20 minutes so the runners would have time to reset and prepare again.
“I was actually happy because my first start was really bad,” said Atkinson. “It let me get all my nerves out and just race.”
Millikan junior Riley Williams was the sixth qualifier in the 300 hurdles to punch his ticket to Clovis.
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FULL RESULTS (Bolded entries qualified for State)
3: Long Beach Poly (Peters, Payne, Predium, Augustine), 46.92
5: Long Beach Poly (Reed, Markham, Johnson, Brown), 41.71
Girls’ 100 Hurdles
6: Asjah Atkinson, St. Anthony, 14.24
1: Ariyonna Augustine, Long Beach Poly, 11.70
4: Kejuan Markham, Long Beach Poly, 10.72
Girls’ 300 Hurdles
6: Kenya Payne, Long Beach Poly, 42.92
Boys’ 300 Hurdles
6: Riley Williams, Millikan, 38.33
1: Ariyonna Augustine, Long Beach Poly, 23.87
9: Alexus Alexander, Lakewood, 25.08
7: Long Beach Poly (Peters, Waters, Payne, Haddad), 3:50.75
2: Long Beach Wilson (Camacho, Richards, Weimer, Bennet), 3:15.50
Girls’ High Jump
3: Rachel Glenn, Long Beach Wilson, 5-6
Girls’ Long Jump
8: A’Lena Chaney, Jordan, 18-1.5