Curtis Godin's meteoric rise as the fastest teenager in California was validated on an overcast, unusually cool Saturday afternoon at the Southern Section track and field championships at Cerritos College.
A former baseball player at Santa Ana Mater Dei who joined the track team last year as a junior, Godin has dominated his competition this season. The pressure was on to show he could deliver in his most important races yet, and he won the Division 2 100 in a wind-aided 10.34 seconds and the 200 in a season-best 20.90. Next up is the Masters Meet on Friday, then the state championships in two weeks in Clovis.
"He's the hardest worker I've seen in my 20 years' coaching at Mater Dei," Coach Rick Martinez said. "We knew he'd be good, but because of his work ethic, he's spectacular."
Godin's sudden success is unusual for the sprint scene.
"It's surprising, to say the least," Godin said. "I'm pretty excited with what I've done so far. I'm still looking to drop my times more."
He finished third in last year's Division 3 100 final in 10.79 seconds in his first season of track. Now the UCLA-bound senior has his sights on the state 100 record of 10.25 seconds set by Henry Thomas of Hawthorne in 1985.
In the pole vault, Luigi Colella of Thousand Oaks became the first high school athlete to clear 17 feet at Cerritos, setting a Division 2 record at 17-0 3/4, only to be eclipsed later in the day by a 17-1 achieved by Ventura’s Jake David, though that achievement was in Division 1.
"I felt 100%, gave 100% and I flew," he said.
Bethan Knights of Irvine Northwood, helping make up for the absence of injured All-American Sarah Baxter of Simi Valley, set records in the Division 3 girls' 1,600 (4 minutes 42.49 seconds) and the 3,200 (9:58.42). She has signed with California.
"I felt the weather and the conditions were perfect," she said.
Knights has improved her 1,600 time by more than 15 seconds in a year's time. "Her training has been phenomenal," Coach Louie Muniz said.
Ariana Washington of Long Beach Poly won the Division 1 girls' 100 (11.49) and 200 (23.40).
In the Division 3 long jump, Dante Pettis of San Juan Capistrano JSerra soared to a career-best 24 feet 7 inches. A year ago, he qualified for the state finals, was in his hotel room in Fresno and found out he didn't have the right starting time. He never made it in time to the event.
On Saturday, he arrived two hours early. The Washington-bound wide receiver had learned his lesson and made up for a second-place finish in Division 3 last season.
"I'm pretty excited," he said. "Last year, I was pretty upset. I decided this year to come out and kill it."
In the shot put, junior Matt Katnik of Bellflower St. John Bosco won Division 3 and had the best mark of any division at 62-0. "I wish I could have thrown farther, but I'm happy," the 6-foot-4, 305-pound offensive lineman said. "I'm going to fix things and hopefully pop a good one at the Masters."
Ellis Newton of Lakewood Mayfair set a Division 2 record in the 1,600 at 4:06.71.
Sophomore Michael Norman of Vista Murrieta showed he's a future standout, winning the Division 1 400 in 47.50 and the 200 in 21.06.
Long Beach Poly's girls' team won its seventh consecutive team title for retiring Coach Don Norford, who has won 16 overall.