The postseason of track and field is unforgiving, but perhaps that accounts for the considerable prestige that comes with extending one's season to the sectional finals and beyond.
Such is the nature of this individualistic sport, one that demands consistently great performances for a full month to reach the final stage.
Marking the midway point of this pressure-packed period is the CIF Southern Section Finals. To make it this far, the athletes have had to traverse their league finals and the CIF-SS Preliminaries.
This will be the last time that the athletes compete within their school's respective division. The finals will be held at Cerritos College on Saturday before the scene moves to Arcadia High for the Masters Meet next Friday (May 26).
The area's top prospects lie in the Division 2 meet. Newport Harbor's Ryan Fegan will be the top seed in boys' pole vault, having cleared 16 feet, 6 inches this season.
Likewise, Marina's Kyle Tsu can be considered the favorite in the shot put. At 62 feet, 8 inches, he holds a full-foot lead on Newport Harbor's Cole Smith. Jake Arnold (Marina) is just shy of 60 feet at 58-6.
The top nine performances across all divisions will advance to the Masters Meet. The top 12 performers in the 800 meters, 1,600, 3,200, and all field events will also move on.
The local boys' throwing trio should be considered contenders to make the Masters Meet.
On the girls' side, Felicia Crenshaw of Costa Mesa could walk away with the Division 3 discus crown.
Accidents occur, as was the case for Edison's Michael Chadwick in the Division 1 Prelims. While Redondo Union's Tate Curran made headlines by breaking the Division 1 record with a clearance of 17 feet, 3 inches in boys' pole vault, Chadwick received a no-height.
Chadwick had achieved the fourth best clearance by a vaulter in the Southern Section this year at 16 feet-even.
Sometimes, luck can play a hand in the athlete's fate. Two Huntington Beach athletes ended up on the wrong side of it last weekend.
Nina Espeleta is an alternate in Division 1 girls' pole vault after being beaten in a jump-off for the final position. Oilers freshman Xolani Hodel matched the qualifying height in the high jump with a personal-best of 5 feet, 3 inches, but she missed the cut on total misses.
CIF-SS Divisional Finals
Where: At Cerritos College
When: Saturday, May 20
Fan Information: Field events begin at 10:30 a.m. with girls' pole vault and boys' high jump. Track events will begin at 1 p.m. Divisions will be contested in descending order, from Division 4 down to Division 1. Admission is $10 for adults. It is $5 for students with school ID and children (ages 5-13). There is a $5 charge for parking at the venue. The stadium will open at 9:30 a.m.
BOYS' TRACK AND FIELD
CIF-SS Finals Qualifiers
HJ – 1T. Aiden Garnett (Edison, Div. 1) 6-3; 6. Jack Wiseman (Huntington Beach, Div. 1), 6-3J; 7. David Straw (Fountain Valley, Div. 1), 6-3
3,200 – 8. Alexis Garcia (Newport Harbor, Div. 2) 9:33.25
PV – 1. Ryan Fegan (Newport Harbor, Div. 2) 14-6; 2. Michael Magula (Marina, Div. 2) 14-6
SP – 1. Kyle Tsu (Marina, Div. 2) 62-4.5; 4. Cole Smith (Newport Harbor, Div. 2) 54-10; 5. Jake Arnold (Marina, Div. 2) 54-4.75
DT – 6. Jake Arnold (Marina, Div. 2) 168-8; 7. Cole Smith (Newport Harbor, Div. 2) 165-10; 9. Kyle Tsu (Marina, Div. 2) 161-5
3,200 – 9. Ryan St. Pierre (Ocean View, Div. 3) 9:34.68
HJ – 8. Nicholas Elliot (Ocean View, Div. 3) 6-1
SP – 4. Mason Crane (Corona del Mar, Div. 3) 50-11
DT – 2. Mason Crane (Corona del Mar, Div. 3) 166-5; 8. Bryce Claybaugh (Corona del Mar, Div. 3) 151-10
PV – 1. Alex Escalera (Sage Hill, Div. 4) 13-0
GIRLS' TRACK AND FIELD
CIF-SS Finals Qualifiers
100HH – 4. Amanda Herrington (Edison, Div. 1) 14.74
TJ – 6. Courtnee Moreno (Fountain Valley, Div. 1) 36-0.5
3,200 – 6. Raquel Powers (Corona del Mar, Div. 3) 11:14.06
300IH – 8. Paige Damron (Corona del Mar, Div. 3) 45.86
PV – 5T. Morgan Simon (Corona del Mar, Div. 3) 9-9J
SP – 3. Felicia Crenshaw (Costa Mesa, Div. 3) 36-0.5
DT – 1. Felicia Crenshaw (Costa Mesa, Div. 3) 147-7; 4. Tayla Crenshaw (Costa Mesa, Div. 3) 114-8; 5. Amanda Cooper (Corona del Mar, Div. 3) 113-8; 7. Simona Bocancea (Corona del Mar, Div. 3) 112-6