The562’s coverage of track and field is sponsored by Bryson Financial
This weekend in Clovis will see the return of the state’s oldest high school sports tradition: the CIF State Track & Field meet, which is being held for the 102nd time. It hasn’t been held since 2019, the longest interruption in the event’s history, because of COVID-19. Last year even as other major sporting events were being held around the state, the statewide track meet wasn’t held because youth sports guidelines hadn’t yet been updated to allow youth athletes to travel for big out-of-county events.
Local coaches and athletes are thrilled about the return of the event.
“Our kids look forward to the State meet all year and for our seniors, they haven’t had a State meet since they were freshmen,” said Poly coach Crystal Irving earlier this season.
“The kids in Long Beach work hard to put themselves up against the best in California, it’s a big deal for us,” said Wilson coach Neil Nelson.
Of course, Long Beach teams and athletes have also made a big mark on the State meet over the years, with more team and individual state golds than any other city in California. This week, twenty-seven Long Beach entries will hit the road north for the State meet, with prelims on Friday and finals on Saturday. As usual, several local athletes are expected to compete for gold.
Long Beach Poly, Wilson, and Jordan had great days qualifying at last weekend’s CIF Southern Section Masters Meet, with almost everyone who competed advancing to the State meet. Millikan sophomore distance runner Jason Parra was the lone qualifier for the Rams, and will compete in the 3200 after taking second in that event at Masters with a sub-9 minute time of 8:59, an incredible pace for a two-mile race.
The Jackrabbits qualified both girls’ relays and their boys’ 4×400, and feature a lot of young talent on all three races. Senior Lauren Reed will probably run on both relays and also qualified in both the long jump and the triple jump. Sprinter Aniyah Wyche will run in the 100, and boys’ sprinter Jaelen Knox was top five in both the 100 and 200. Poly will also have two girls’ high jumpers, with senior Zharia Taylor and freshman Jillene Wetteland both advancing.
Wilson will be the favorite in the boys’ 4×400 and also were the top girls’ qualifier in that event; their girls’ 4×100 advanced to State as well. Wilson junior Aujane Luckey won the girls’ 400 at Masters and finished third in the 200 in addition to contributing on the relays, she will be one of the brightest stars in Clovis this weekend.
The Bruins also look for big performances from Samarra Monrroy in the 400 and on the relays, Leroy Crook in the 400, and in the 800 from Marcel Francis-Mitchell. The Bruins are also strong in the hurdles where Isaac Lewis will compete in the boys’ 300 hurdles, while Kaylin Edwards and Genesis Washington will compete in the girls’ 300.
Jordan is bringing its biggest contingent in more than a decade. The Panthers’ last high-level State track competitor was LaTroya Franklin, who was a top three sprinter in California before going on to a successful career at Arizona State. This year, Jordan Washington will be among the top runners in the 100 and 200 as a sophomore, qualifying second and third respectively in those events at Masters last weekend.
He’s not making the trip alone though–the Panthers were the fifth qualifier in the boys’ 4×100 and also saw Daryll Stevens advance in the 300 hurdles.
Long Beach’s CIF State Qualifiers
Long Beach Poly Girls’ 4×100, 4th, 46.64
Wilson Girls’ 4×100, 6th, 47.44
Jordan Boys’ 4×100, 5th, 41.88
Girls’ 400: Aujane Luckey, Wilson, 1st, 53.83
Girls’ 400: Samarra Monrroy, Wilson, 3rd, 55.11
Boys’ 400: Leroy Crook, Wilson, 7th, 48.39
Girls’ 100: Aniyah Wyche, Long Beach Poly, 4th, 11.84
Boys’ 100: Jordan Washington, Jordan, 2nd, 10.38
Boys’ 100: Jaelen Knox, Long Beach Poly, 5th, 10.56
Boys’ 800: Marcel Francis-Mitchell, Wilson, 5th, 1:53.36
Girls’ 300 Hurdles: Kaylin Edwards, Wilson, 2nd, 44.15
Girls’ 300 Hurdles: Genesis Washington, Wilson, 3rd, 44.70
Boys’ 300 Hurdles: Isaac Lewis, Wilson, 3rd, 37.96
Boys’ 300 Hurdles: Daryll Stevens, Jordan, 4th, 38.29
Girls’ 200: Aujane Luckey, Wilson, 3rd, 23.82
Boys’ 200: Jaelen Knox, Long Beach Poly, 2nd, 21.13
Boys’ 200: Jordan Washington, Jordan, 3rd, 21.33
Boys’ 3200: Jason Parra, Millikan, 2nd, 8:59.87
Wilson Girls’ 4×400, 1st, 3:49.97
Long Beach Poly Girls’ 4×400, 4th, 3:51.61
Wilson Boys’ 4×400, 2nd, 3:14.55
Long Beach Poly Boys’ 4×400, 3rd, 3:19.26
Girls’ Long Jump: Lauren Reed, Long Beach Poly, 6th, 18-10.75
Girls’ High Jump: Zharia Taylor, Long Beach Poly, 3rd, 5-7
Girls’ High Jump: Jillene Wetteland, Long Beach Poly, 4th, 5-5
Girls’ Triple Jump: Lauren Reed, Long Beach Poly, 5th, 39-03