News and Announcements
June 12, 2021
LAKE FOREST: The CIF-SS Division 1 Track and Field Finals were held on Saturday at Trabuco Hills High School and signified an ending. Normally, the Finals is a misnomer of sorts, for in pre-COVID times, the meet served as a divisional championship and a qualifier for the CIF Masters meet held a week later which served as a qualifier for the State Championships contested a week later still. In other words, the meet had always been a “Final” that wasn’t final.
But COVID cancelled the California State meet this season which in turn nixed the Masters meet which made CIF Finals uncharacteristically the final meet of the year.
King was represented by 8 athletes in the highly competitive meet which showcases the top 9 athletes in the division in each event from across Southern California.
Alyssa Hope (So) and Brandon Benson (Sr) earned spots in two events each, the Triple Jump and Long Jump; impressive as each is a newcomer of sorts to the sport. Benson has graduated but joined track only in his junior year, Hope is sophomore. But for each, their rookie year ended prematurely as the pandemic shut everything down after just two meets had been contested. So for these “rookies” to make the CIF Finals with their limited background is impressive.
Hope struggled a bit in her triple jump and finished 7th but rebounded nicely to finish third in the long jump with a PR of 37’ 2.5", and with it, earned “All CIF” distinction. Benson has had a terrific “not-rookie rookie” season and has demonstrated incredible talent in the jumps despite the lack of experience. He landed 4th in the triple and 5th in the long, both earning All CIF honors and his long jump of 21’ 10.25" sits as the sixth-best mark in school history while his triple jump of 45’ 8" (set earlier this season) is the #2 mark in school history. Hope’s two personal bests are each the #4 mark in the program’s 22 years. An uncharacteristic ending for relative novices but such speaks volumes to their excellence.
Jared Beasely launched himself vertically rather than horizontally and he too, excelled. His 15’ 3" pole vault clearance matched his school record and would earn him 4th place and All CIF distinction. He was sandwiched by a vaulter from both Santiago and Roosevelt; the Big 8 league therefore had one-third of the vaulters in CIF Finals.
The girls 4×100 relay team of Jade Roberts, Kyla Smith, Sarah Ajayi and Coryssa Hope had a solid effort of 49.49 and finished in a dead heat for 6th place, earning All CIF honors. Francisco Zavaleta was the only member of the team who had to run further than 100 meters. In the 3200 meters he struggled uncharacteristically and finished 8th, well off his personal best. But the disappointment does not dull the luster from what has been an incredible season and year for the Cal Poly Pomona bound senior. Undefeated and league MVP in cross country, his 9:14.65 3200 meter time sits #3 in school history and he was selected as the male King High Athlete of the Year. . Not a bad way to end a great high school career!
For coaches John Corona and Brad Peters, the meet was an ending as well as it marked the final time the two retiring coaches would oversee their charges on the track and field. Both were satisfied with how it all ended and grateful for the journey of the last 21 years coaching together.
MISSION VIEJO: Trabuco Hills High School hosted the CIF-SS Division 1 track and field Preliminaries on Saturday and King had its usual contingent of 20-some-odd participants who had qualified for the round out of league finals.
The meet is held to advance athletes in each of the 16 events of the sport into Saturday’s CIF Finals. Those throwers, jumpers, sprinters, vaulters, throwers, hurdlers and distance runners come from across Southern California and vie for one of 9 spots to Finals. Unlike most sports where divisions are created based on “strength of program”, in track, division placement is done by school enrollment size. Division 1 — schools that exceed 2800 students — is the most competitive of the four, and each division is made up of approximately 90 schools each. To make it to the Preliminaries is, in its own right, a great accomplishment.
Such competitive fire-power was on display Saturday and was both matched by and, in some cases, tutored King athletes. Kids wearing the King uniform were scattered broadly over most event categories and they held their own. The Wolves would ultimately advance 8 athletes into the Finals to be held June 12, also at Trabuco Hills.
Jared Beasley is one of the best pole vaulters in California so his qualifying, while never a shoe-in in the high flying event, came as little surprise. He cleared 14-0. Francisco Zavaleta was also seeded as one of the “favorites” to move on in the 3200 and he did that by winning his heat in 9:20. Brandon Benson also had a fine day in both the long and triple jump, moving on in both events; in the triple, his mark of 43’ 8.5" was fourth-best on the day.
The girls’ 4×100 team put together four nice exchanges to advance with the 8th-best time. Jade Roberts, Kyla Smith, Sarah Ajayi and Coryssa Hope all carried the stick. For Smith, Ajayi and Hope, it’ll be their first trip to the Championship, for Roberts, she distinguishes herself among King’s all-time best as she is now the 14th female athlete in school history to advance to CIF Finals twice in her career.
Coryssa’s twin sister, Alyssa Hope had the best day of all as she flew to two new personal bests in the long and triple jump, both marks improving her #4 All Time records in King’s history.
For those who went, competed and came up short of finishing in the top 9, while disappointment was present, for most who are underclassmen and have another season or two ahead of them, the skill and depth of Division 1 in CIF SS Track and Field can serve as ample instruction of what’s not only possible, but also of what is expected if you want to make it to the Finals.
When he crossed the finish line in the final race of the 2020 cross country season, Francisco Zavaleta pumped his fist into the air to celebrate a remarkable accomplishment. It was an exclamation mark on a great season, but also a great high school career that still had a full track and field season left to go.Zavaleta was one of the rare ones who entered high school with running experience. Most who join cross country and track their freshman year are rookies in the truest sense of the word. To the typical 9th grader, competitive running is something to be learned for the first time.
Not Francisco. His experience competing in youth club groups and local road races pre-dated his arrival at MLK back in 2017, and that experience showed immediately once in high school. Francisco, or “Franny” as his coach nicknamed him, was one of the top freshmen that year and has grown and matured in the sport ever since. His improvement came steadily in the two sports, cross country and track, but the first half of his junior year saw exponential improvement. An MVP campaign in cross country while leading the team to an 8th place finish in CIF Finals, (the highest since the team had qualified for State in 2015) portended great things to come in the other half of last year. Sadly, just as he was rising, COVID came and took away what could have been in track.
Disappointed but not defeated, he made up for lost time in his senior year. The cross country season was delayed by 5 months and had every large competitive invitational, CIF and the State Championship cancelled. But, true to his character, Francisco made the best of the discouraging reality: He prepared, he worked hard and ended the season undefeated. Despite all that was lost, he remarked recently that he felt it was his best season of high school.
The results of that XC campaign were the Big 8 League MVP and he earned the team MVP for the second year straight. In track which overlapped the end of the cross country season, he raced all three distance races – the 800, the 1600 and the 3200 – but it was in the last two that he really shined. League champion in both the 1600 and 3200 meters (the metric equivalent of the mile and 2-mile), he ran personal best times of 4:20 and 9:14 and remained undefeated in the 3200 in all dual races where he was expected to be competitive. His 9:14.65 ranks third-fastest in school history and his 4:20.59 is the 7th-best time in school history.
Those marks and high achievement, along with a gracious and humble character that has carried him well through the years, earned him the title of 2021 Boys Athlete of the Year.
Coach Dave Smith was given the reigns of King High’s Soccer Team in 2018. He was the new coach, coming in on the heels of rapid coaching changes and a chaotic span where, as he told the Press Enterprise recently, “so many players quit because it wasn’t fun.” To get it turned around, he knew he would need a little time and some special players.
Players like Kaylee Hauck.
Upon hearing the report of Hauck’s selection as the 2021 King High Athlete of the Year, Smith was quick to say that “when I first met Kaylee as a freshman, I sensed something special within her. I could tell she had a strength of character and would be a great team leader even as a freshman.”
When she drilled an arcing free kick into the net to solidify the win in Saturday’s CIF D3 Championship, it was a fitting moment that defined the journey she – and Smith – have been on since 2018.
According to Smith, Kaylee’s biggest contribution to her team this year has been her leadership. “She consistently sets a high standard for how hard she plays on the field” Smith says. “She gives everything she has in her to the team.”
A varsity player right from the start of her high school career, Kaylee has been 1st Team All League in the Big 8 for three consecutive years, and has been awarded the team MVP honor on all three years. In 15 games this season, Kaylee has scored 18 goals and assisted on six more.
As is true so often for elite athletes, Kaylee possesses tremendous character. “She has always been a positive and encouraging student athlete who wants the best for her team” Smith noted. “Whether Kaylee is on the field or on the sidelines, she is in it for her team 100%. She worked hard to welcome the 9 new players to the team this season; making them feel they are an important part of the program. She has organized activities for the girls so that they can grow closer as a team which helps improve their performance on the field.”
That character, coupled with her athletic excellence has made Kaylee Hauck an irreplaceable part of the King Soccer program, a program that is in a very different place than when she arrived.
2020 Athletes of the Year Leo Mendez, Olivia Moran
2019 Athletes of the Year Morgan Sjoerdsma, Reyte Rash
2018 Athletes of the Year Adrian Salgado, Madison Stamen
2017 Athletes of the Year Bradley Kleven, Kathryn Hammar
2016 Athletes of the year Claire Fisch, Tyler Janes
2015 – LUCAS RITTER
2014 – JOSUE SOTO
2013 – JOSEPH MOORMAN
2012 – JUSTYN PEEPLES
2011 – LANE WERLEY
2010 – JUSTIN DeCOUD
2009 – KAWHI LEONARD 2018 Inductee to King Hall of Fame
2008 – MARQUES LEA
2007 – CARLON BROWN
2006 – SPENCER PARDON
2005 – IAN PEEBLES
2004 – MICHAEL MYERS
2003 – PIETRO MARTINEZ
2002 – MARVIN LEA 2019 Inductee to King Hall of Fame
2001 – AUSTIN THOMPSON
2015 – HALEY MONTGOMERY
2014 – ALEXIS OSORIO
2013 – TAYLER FLEMING
2012 – CYDNIE JONES
2011 – HANNA PETERSON
2010 – KELSI TIPPETS
2009 – KELSI TIPPETS
2008 – LOTOLELEI FRANKLIN
2007 – JENNIFER HOLDERMAN
2006 – HEIDI GARRETT 2019 Inductee to King Hall of Fame
2005 – STEPHANIE ERDODI
2004 – MEGAN FAIRLEY
2003 – MARKISHA LEA
2002 – HEATHER BOOTH
2001 – MARKISHA LEA