The spotlight will be on Long Beach Poly High's Ariana Washington at the state track and field championships Friday and Saturday at Clovis Buchanan High, but she is used to the attention.
The Oregon-bound senior will try to join Marion Jones and Allyson Felix as the only girls to win the state 100- and 200-meter races three consecutive times. Washington won both events at the Southern Section Masters Meet and anchored the Jackrabbits' 400-meter relay team, which won in a national-best time of 45.25 seconds.
Washington paces a Poly girls' team seeking its second consecutive state title and sixth in seven years. Other top performers for Poly include Kymber Payne, the Masters' 300 hurdles champion; Kaelin Roberts, who won the 400; Jade Lewis, who was second in the 100 and 200; and Autumn Wright, who was third in the 400 and anchored the Jackrabbits' 1,600 relay that turned in the second-fastest time in the nation.
Despite the absence of three-time state champion Sara Baxter of Simi Valley, who will miss the meet because of a leg injury, the girls' 3,200 will feature City Section champion Marissa Williams of Palisades, who became the first girl to triple in the distance events at City finals. She will be running against Bethan Knights of Irvine Northwood, who won the Masters meet in 9:54.65, the fifth-fastest time ever by a high school girl. Other top competitors in the race are Fiona O'Keefe of Davis, Emma Abrahamson of Carlsbad La Costa Canyon and Destiny Collins of Temecula Great Oak.
Goleta Dos Pueblos senior Stamatia Scarvelis, who has signed with UCLA, will try for her third consecutive state shotput title, and reigning long jump champion Courtney Corrin of Studio City Harvard-Westlake will be challenged by state leader Margaux Jones of Redlands.
In the boys' competition, UCLA-bound Curtis Godin of Santa Ana Mater Dei will attempt to cap a perfect season in the 100. He is also a contender in the 200 after finishing second to Vista Murrieta sophomore Michael Norman by .03 of a second at the Masters meet.
In the 3,200, Masters champion Caleb Webb of Big Bear and runner-up Austin Tamagno of Brea Olinda will try to stop Stockdale's Blake Haney from repeating as state champion. Masters winner Sydney Gidabuday of Orange El Modena, Southern Section Division 2 winner Ellis Newton of Lakewood Mayfair and runner-up Garrett Corcoran will try to wrest the 1,600 state title away from Haney.
Dante Pettis of San Juan Capistrano JSerra will seek to dethrone Castro Valley's Nate Moore in the long jump, and Vista Murrieta's C.J. Alumbres will try to unseat Moore in the triple jump. Another Masters winner, Misana Viltz of Long Beach Millikan, is expected to challenge defending champion Marquis Morris of Concord De La Salle in the 110 hurdles. Alex Billing of Simi Valley and Bayron Manuel of Long Beach Wilson are other top contenders in that race.
In the 1,600 relay, City champion Dorsey is among the teams expected to challenge state leader Long Beach Poly.