HOPE FOUND AMID SO-CAL'S ELITE: KING PUTS 8 INTO THE BEST 9
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.