Posted by King Track & Field on May 15 2023 at 09:50AM PDT

May 15, 2023

VENTURA: Moorpark High School hosted the CIF Division Finals in which all four CIF divisions compete separately for all the braggin’ rights of team and individual titles and All-CIF accolades.

But wait! There’s more!

There’s an even bigger boast that comes for a few who finish their event amont the best from all four divisions combined. Those elites earn passage to the next round, the CIF Masters meet to be held Saturday May 20 which in turn is the qualifying for the California State Championships.

For King High’s contingent, it was a day beyond what they even hoped for.

“Wow, what a day!” he exclaimed. “It was really a dream come true. When you get to a meet like CIF Finals, sometimes you have to sit back and think about the number [of athletes you have there] and how amazing it is just to have gotten there. Biggest section in the state, Division 1 – so lots of elite athletes – and to place [six of King’s seven events] in the top 6 and make the podium is something special.”

Indeed, it was that kind of day. Jaden McKee in the pole vault was entered the second-seed behind Dylan Curtis of Redondo Union but as is customary in the highly-technical event, anything can happen and it almost did. He missed his first two attempts at 14′ 9″ – a full foot below his personal best of 15′ 10″ – but then cleared it and his first attempt at 15′ 3″ to secure the CIF Runner-up spot and a chance to advance to the Masters meet.

“I was a bit tired from sitting in the sun all day,” he said later. “I just wasn’t jumping well and then the pressure started rising, but I ultimately made it.”

Freshman Maximo Zavaleta, the only 9th grader in the 3200 meters in all four divisions combined, raced to All-CIF 5th place and at 9:07 ran another PR and edged a bit closer to the 9th grade State record in the event which was set by Eric Hulst back in 1973 at 9:01.3. “It’s something that exists only in dreams and its right there!” exclaimed Vasel.

Another underclassman, sophomore Andrew Dixon, made his first go of CIF Finals a memorable one with a toss over 153′ in the discus to finish 6th and All CIF. He entered the contest seeded 9th so it was a nice improvement.

The girls were once again led by Alyssa Hope who won the CIF Championship for the second time in the long jump at 20′ 1″; back-to-back titles that no one in King history has matched.

The 4×100 squad of Alyssa, Coryssa Hope, Sarah Ajayi and Amaya Lochard scorched another incredible effort and improved on their own school record, bringing it down to 46.42 while finishing second to Long Beach Wilson High School.

Coryssa finished 7th in the 200 later in the day, while Sarah was all CIF in the 100 hurdles and with a PR of 14.41 got a little closer to her coach Tayler Fleming’s own King school record. “The event is as deep as it’s ever been,” expained Vasel. “You needed to run 14.5 or under in order to make it to Masters. 6 out of the 7 athletes made qualified.”

Collectively, the girls scored enough points in the team scoring to finish 10th overall in a division that boast over 100 schools.

All seven King athletes that competed went home with medals designating All-CIF status and the Wolves will have representation in six events at the Masters meet. In its first year ever, the 4×800 will be contested at Masters with squads having qualified by time earlier in the season. King’s 7:51 best gives them the 5th-best seed time and if the squad of Jack Slavin, Christian DeLoye, Mason Colwell and Brayden Lunetta can pull off another strong effort they could find themselves at the State meet in the historic inaugural running of the long relay.

Vasel continued to pinch himself over the success his charges gained on the day. “Overall, a great day! Everything we could’ve hoped for and more. Now we want to punch our tickets to the big dance!”

And like a scene from Inception that would be a dream within the dream.