ROCKY START SMOOTHED OVER AS 5 MAKE THEIR WAY TO CIF FINALS
The CIF Division 1 Preliminaries in track and field is a highly competitive affair where many of the finest in the sport assemble each Spring with the intent of qualifying for the CIF Championships. For sure, some are just happy to have advanced out of their respective leagues and hold little chance of qualifying into the next round, but given the depth of talent that CIF-SS Division 1 has to offer, the meet is shy only of the spectacle that the actual Finals will be one week hence.
King’s finest found themselves in that mix and experienced the highs and lows that come with being in that kind of arena.
“Often at CIF Prelims, we are reminded just how deep the Southern Section is, especially in Division 1,” said King head coach Mat Vasel.
King got off on a difficult foot as the ladies 4×100 meter relay had some struggles getting the baton around smoothly. The Boys 4×100 responded well, running a season’s best time, but not fast enough to make it through a very deep division.
King rebounded nicely, however, and did not let those early struggles define the day’s results.
There was little surprise to see Alyssa Hope’s name at the top of the qualifying ranks in the triple and long jump events. It has been in those events that she has sparkled all season long and she qualified with ease winning the triple and taking second in the long.
Sarah Ajayi (Jr) was glittering as well in the 100 hurdles, racing to a 4th place finish in a lifetime best mark of 15.05. It was a big improvement from last season in the same event, where she finished in 12th and in 16.23. A nice year of improvement!
Senior Mekhi Gilmore notched the sole Personal Record (PR) of the King contingent, racing 49.53 in the 400 meters, which moved him to #4 all time in the event at King. The effort also put him in 8th, just inside the 9 spots that qualify for the Finals. Anthony Chavez was off his PR in the shot by several feet, but his mark of 49’ 3" was good enough for the day and put him in 7th and moved him on to the final. It has been a number of years since King has had a thrower at CIF Finals, so this is quite an achievement for the much improved Senior. He is well over 10 feet better than where he was in 2021. Jaden McKee was third in the pole vault and will move on to Finals in this, just his sophomore season!
Vasel put the day in perspective, saying, “What started off as a rocky day, was quickly turned around. I like how we didn’t let early hurdles and falls define our entire day. We responded well and picked up the slack when we needed to, just like we have all year long.”