News and Announcements
Written and researched by John Corona:
2023 Grads committed to competing in track and field at the Collegiate level.
Samantha Rodriquez-Sonoma State
AN UPDATE ON PRIOR GRADS OF KING TRACK AND FIELD:
Reyte Rash-’19-Cal State Fullerton-Helped Titans to 3rd straight Big West championship- Was Conference champ in 400 Hurdles in new school record of 50.96. In a bit of irony, Reyte defeated Caleb Roberson of Long Beach State by .02 seconds. Roberson-then of Upland High-twice defeated Reyte by similar margins for both the California State High School Championships in 2018 and 2019. Reyte was a team captain this season for the Titans.
Jered Beasley-’21—State runner up in Community College State Championships for Mt. San Antonio College. Jered went 16-0.25in the pole vault for the Mounties who won their league championship-the Southern California Regional Championship and the State JC Championship.
Grace Roberts-"19-A four year team member for Vanguard University, Grace finished her senior year with a 5th place in the Golden State Athletic Conference in the Heptathlon. The Lions won the 2023 GSAC Track Championship
Jade Roberts’-21-sister of Grace competes for Arizona Christian University. Jade was a 100 Hurdler and 400 hurdler for ACU this season and ran a leg on the 4 × 400 relay at GSAC Finals.
Dryden LaCour-’21-Saddleback Junior College-Dryden was a team captain for the Gauchos who finished 3rd in the Orange Empire Conference. Dryen was a 3rd place finisher in the OEC Triple Jump and 5th Place finisher in the LJ. He was a qualifier for the Southern California Regionals.
Francisco Zavaleta-’21-Competes for Cal Poly Pomona—10th in the California Collegiate Athletic Association 1500. The Broncos were the California Collegiate Athletic Association 2023 Champions.
Brian Green-’20- Coast Guard Academy-12th in Conference Finals in the 800/Ran leg on 4th Place 4 × 400 team
Dathan Chann-’19-University of New Haven-10th in his conference finals in the 3000 meter steeplechase
Taylen Henry-’18-Riverside Community College-Taylen finished 4th in the OEC in both the LJ and Triple Jump and was a Southern California JC Regional Qualifier
Matt Baumann-’20-Riverside Community College-Southern California JC Regional Qualifier in the Hammer-Shot Put and Discus
Anthony Chavez-’22-Riverside Community College-13th in OEC in both the Shot Put and Javelin
Coleman Kells-’20-Riverside Community College-10th in OEC Hammer and 12th in the Shot Put-Southern California JC Regional Qualifier
Jacob Petrick-’22-Riverside Community College-7th in the OEC in Javelin
Mekhi Gilmore-’22-Riverside Community College-OEC Finals Qualifier in 400
Isaiah Donnhauser-’21-Riverside Community College-OEC Prelims in 400
Marcus Harper-’22-Riverside Community College-OEC Prelims lin 110 and 400 Hurdles
Other King Alums- on Collegiate rosters—
Andrea Guadian-‘22-Cal Poly Pomona
Kyla Smith-’22-Cal-State San Marcos
Audrey Brunken-‘22-University of Colorado-Colorado Springs
Edgar Ortega-’21-Riverside Community College
May 31, 2023
CLOVIS: The California State Championships of track and field are held annually at Buchanan High School in Clovis and the meet draws only the best of the best. There are no divisional breakdowns of talent; you’re either one of the best in the State in your event or you’re not in Clovis over Memorial Day weekend. Pretty simple.
Having made it through the gauntlet of CIF Southern Section Prelims, Finals and Masters over the month of May, three of King’s best, Sarah Ajayi, Alyssa Hope and Jaden McKee, returned to the elite meet east of Fresno.
With a 2022 State meet experience in their resumes, here in ’23 each one found the same grouping of talent and the same pristine stadium to compete in. After putting together phenomenal seasons to get there, each one came with hopes to finish in the gold, literally or figuratively.
For all three however, it wasn’t to be as they competed well but found the competition just a little better. Sarah Ajayi raced the 100 hurdles on Friday night and finished with a Personal Record of 14.38, but agonizingly was just out of qualifying for Saturday’s Final. She was 10th by .08 of a second and only 9 went on. She’d have to solace herself on the improvement she made over the year and with the thought of knowing she was in the top 10 of the entire state in the 100 hurdles.
Jaden McKee moved on from prelims to finals but struggled mightily on Saturday, clearing 14’ 8" for 9th place. A junior and with a PR of 16’, he can rightly plan to be back in Clovis in ’24.
Alyssa Hope returned in the long jump, an event which she took second in last season. It looked promising for the USC-bound Senior as she landed Friday night with a leap of 20’ 4.25", a fraction beyond her personal and school best of 20’ 4".
But in the Final on Saturday, she was sitting in 2nd (by a mere inch) after two of the six allotted attempts. Evental winner Cydney Vanek then exploded for a 20’ 7.75" leap on the 4th attempt and at the very end Meagan Humphries of Castaic put out her best-ever leap and landed two inches beyond Alyssa’s best on the day and nudged the King senior to third place.
Second year Head Coach Mat Vasel had it all in perspective, saying, “it was a special weekend, that’s for sure. Any time you get to the state meet it’s special. I was talking with Jaden and Sarah about just how hard it is. I wanted them to recognize how impressive their accomplishments were. Although we may have not of finished as high as we wanted, I’m still very proud of our group and how hard they have worked all year.”
Golden finishes are never promised, but golden effort is expected and that is just what these three, and countless other King athletes did all season long.
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.”