The562’s coverage of cross country and track and field is sponsored by Bryson Financial.
The562’s coverage of Long Beach Wilson Athletics is sponsored by Joel Bitonio, Class of 2009.
The golden year ended the only way that would’ve been appropriate for this historic Wilson girls’ track and field team. The Bruins won the CIF State Track & Field title in Clovis on Saturday evening, their first state title since 2006 and the fourth ever for the Wilson girls’ track team and fifth ever for Wilson as a whole.
Wilson proved themselves the class of California on Saturday, piling up so many points that they didn’t even need to line up in the girls’ 4×400, which they ended up taking second place in thanks to Ma’Nia Tidwell, Aujane Luckey, Loren Edwards, and Xcaret Tirado’s 3:42.49.
The Bruins put up 44 points, a wide margin more than second-place Culver City’s 31 points (in an interesting twist of fate, Culver City was coached by legendary Wilson alum and Olympian Lashinda Demus).
WIlson coach Neil Nelson said that he and co-coach Shannon Fisher switched up their strategy in managing their team this year.
“I’ve always talked about winning and scoring points when I talk to the kids, and Fish pulled me to his side this year of not caring about the points, just focusing on the individuals,” said Nelson. “We were a lot more free with the kids this year. Let them do their TikToks, let them just be stress-free and focused on themselves.”
The result was a fun-loving Bruin squad that wore gold uniforms on Saturday to collect their championship.
“I think it was huge to take the pressure off of them,” said Fisher. “I think sometimes we can all get caught up, because they do such great things, in thinking they’re adults. But they’re children, and sometimes they get overwhelmed. So we decided to back off, and it worked.”
That was certainly true with star senior Aujane Luckey, the Arizona State signee.
Luckey won the 400 in 53.26, grabbing a valuable 10 points for her team. She also ran on the 4×100 with Tarynn Maroney, Kaylin Edwards, and Loren Webster (finishing third) and on the 4×400 with Ma’Nia Tidwell, Edwards, and Xcaret Tirado (finishing second). Luckey also took seventh in the 200.
She was gratified to win the state title in the 400 after taking second last year.
“I couldn’t come out of here without it,” she said. “It was a long, stressful season, and I overcame those obstacles by just always thinking positive even if I had negative thoughts in my head.”
The Wilson girls got early boosts from their first competitors.
Loren Webster soared to a 19-10.5 in the long jump, claiming fourth place and five valuable points for the Bruins before the running events even began. Once the first race of the day got off, the Bruins were sitting even prettier, after a third-place finish in the 4×100 thanks to a 46.66 in the 4×100.
Wilson surged into first place in the team standings following the 400, where senior ASU signee Aujane Luckey won with a 53.26, a result that had her smiling from ear to ear afterwards.
The Bruins all but wrapped up the team title in the 300 hurdles, where Edwards and Tidwell went 1-6 to secure critical points in the team race, with Edwards taking the gold in 41.57.
“I was a little nervous coming off the back, I knew I could come back but I didn’t feel like ‘I got it’ until the race was over,” she said.
Nobody at the track had a wilder day than Webster, who started off high jumping, had to pass two attempts to run off and compete in the 4×100, then came back to keep jumping. She secured fourth place points for her team, but injured her back on her last jump; she was stretchered off the oval, and then went to a nearby hospital for tests. She ended up making it back from the hospital just in time to celebrate the team title with her teammates.
“It was unfortunate but I just pushed through and I’m happy I made it back,” she said. “I wouldn’t have wanted to miss this.”
Wilson (9 entries)
Girls’ 4×100, 3rd, 46.66 (Maroney, Luckey, Edwards, Webster)
Girls’ 400: Aujane Luckey, 1st, 53.26
Boys’ 800: Marcel Francis-Mitchell, 9th, 1:54.36
Girls’ 300 Hurdles: Kaylin Edwards, 1st, 41.57
Girls’ 300 Hurdles: MaNia Tidwell, 6th, 43.15
Girls’ 200: Aujane Luckey, 7th, 24.09
Boys’ 4×800, 5th, 7:41.98 (Hollister, Obando, Francis-Mitchell, Kraemer)
Girls’ 4×400, 2nd, 3:42.49 (Tidwell, Luckey, Edwards, Tirado)
Girls’ Long Jump: Loren Webster, 4th, 19-10.50