Posted by King Track & Field on May 21 2023 at 08:13AM PDT

May 21, 2023

VENTURA:  Short of the actual State Track and Field Championship held each year in Clovis, the CIF Southern Section Masters meet is the most competitive track meet in the State.  Given the size – 500 schools – and depth of the Southern Section, qualifying for the Masters (which, in turn is the qualifying meet for the State Championships) is a feat unto itself.  Masters combines the very best of all four CIF divisions into each event.  Getting into the meet is hard.  Getting through it well and punching one’s ticket to State is even harder.

ML King had more than a handful of athletes on both the track and in the field Saturday at Moorpark High School, and while several competed well and qualified for State, others struggled and saw their season come to an end.

“Yea, tough day,” said King coach Mat Vasel, “but that’s Masters.  The pressure of being perfect week after week after week is no joke.”

Maximo Zavaleta had another fine outing in the 3200 meters, but at 9:12.15 was off the “best race scenario” he likely would have needed to advance.  Still, he is only a freshman and gained invaluable experience for the future.  Likewise in the distances, the 4×800 crew of Jack Slavin, Brayden Lunetta, Mason Colwell and Christian Deloye saw their hopes dashed of competing in the first-ever 3200 meter relay in State Meet history.  While Slavin posted an impressive opening leg split of 1:55, the others struggled and the team combined for an 8:20.47, well off their season best.

Perhaps most surprising and most disappointing was the finish of the girls 4×100 relay squad who were disqualified for exchanging the baton out of the zone between the first and second leg.  Superb all season and ranked second going in, the team of Alyssa and Coryssa Hope, Amaya Lochard and Sarah Ajayi found out the painful truth of track relays: Nothing is ever guaranteed.

There were, however, some bright spots on the day and King was still able to get three through the gauntlet and on to the State meet which will be held this weekend at Buchanan High School in Clovis.

Jaden McKee soared to a new personal record of 16 feet in the pole vault, which improved yet again the school record he has owned since he cleared 15’ 4" back in the early weeks of this season.  He finished third and makes his second trip back to Clovis.

Alyssa Hope was outstanding again in the long jump where she would win at 19’ 9.5", a full five inches ahead of second place.  Lastly, Sarah Ajayi finished 7th (of 9) in the 100 hurdles, but at 14.43 she was well under the State auto-qualifying time of 14.65 and will accompany Alyssa and Jaden to State.

“We got three through [to State], should’ve been more but that’s track and field,” concluded Vasel at the end of the day. “Any given meet day, you never know. I’m extremely proud of our athletes mental and physical fortitude. They worked hard and sometimes life happens.”