The Southern Section track and field prelims in four divisions were held on Saturday, and there was lots of controversy and sorrow.
In Division 4, Adoree' Jackson of Gardena Serra, the state champion in the long jump two years ago and runner-up last season, was disqualified for having "illegal electronic communication" during the competition.
Jackson left the competition area "to view video from his coach," according to Southern Section spokesman Thom Simmons. "Numerous protests were filed about the incident. The meet referee upheld the protests as a violation of NFHS rules. An appeal was field, which was denied by meet managers."
In Division 1, Ebony Crear of Long Beach Poly, the top girls' 300-meter hurdler in the state, stumbled over a hurdle and failed to qualify in her event. She was 11th overall among qualifiers and would need two scratches to compete at the finals on Saturday at Cerritos College.
Then, in the biggest surprise of the day, Sarah Baxter of Simi Valley, a three-time state champion in the 3,200, told the Ventura County Star after winning the 3,200 at the Division 2 prelims that she would not be able to run at next week's finals because of a leg injury, ending a remarkable prep career. Her doctor told her she needs rest to heal.
There were top performances by the expected standouts.
In Division 2, Mater Dei's Curtis Godin sped to wind-aided victories in the 100 (10.29) and 200 (20.93). Mater Dei's Malik McMorris qualified first in the shot put at 59-7. Woodbridge's Gabe Warner ran 48.23 in the 400.
In Division 3, Alemany's Dominic Davis had the fastest 100 time in 10.62. St. John Bosco's Sean McGrew was next at 10.64. JSerra's Dante Pettis won the long jump at 23-4 and qualified second in the 200 at 21.45. T.J. Brock of Chaminade had the fastest 200 time at 21.35.
In girls' competition, Sherman Oaks Notre Dame's Donatella Asemota topped the 100 in 11.87 and the 200 in 24.54. Harvard-Westlake's Courtney Corrin, the defending state champion in the girls' long jump, qualified first in 20-2 3/4. Bethan Knights of Northwood won the 3,200 in 10:20.82.