News and Announcements


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.”


Posted by King Track & Field at May 15, 2023 9:50AM 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.