Two Burroughs High athletes will represent the city of Burbank at the two-day-long CIF State Track and Field Championships at Clovis Buchanan High, beginning Friday evening.
Prolific Indians senior distance runner Jagdeep Chahal and surging senior pole vaulter Elizabeth Switzer will have at least one more chance to further etch their names into school lore and, perhaps, into state history.
Chahal will go first in Friday’s preliminaries in the boys’ 1,600-meter run, which has two heats. The first heat is scheduled for 5:48 p.m. The first four finishers in each heat will advance along with the next four fastest times across both heats to Saturday’s final at 6:30 p.m.
“My goal is just to go as fast and as hard as I can,” Chahal said. “I’ve worked hard to get to this point and this is a great opportunity. I’m happy to have this chance.”
Chahal is coming off a historic couple of weeks, beginning when he became his school’s first boys’ distance titlist as he captured the CIF Southern Section Division I 1,600 championship in a time of 4 minutes, 12.73 seconds on May 19 at El Camino College.
Chahal became his school’s fourth CIF champion and first since 800-meter runner Carolyn Brown (2000). That same day he took third in the 3,200 in 9:05.85 and earned advancement to the Masters Meet.
Back at El Camino on Saturday, Chahal was sublime in winning the 1,600 in a school-record mark of 4:11.09. He qualified to state in that event as well as the 3,200, where he was third in 9:04.83.
Saturday’s victory made Chahal only his program’s second Masters and Southern Section champion (in the same season) as he joined pole vaulter Esa Sallinen, who accomplished the feat in 1994.
Burroughs has never produced a Triple Crown winner – Southern Section, Masters and state champion. The track program also only claims one athlete to have won a Southern Section and state title in the same season — pole vaulter Ron Morris in 1952. Morris’ 1952 state title is the only one in school history.
For good measure, Chahal is also his school’s first dual-event qualifier to state since Ralph Turner advanced in 1961 in the 100-yard and 220-yard dashes.
“He’s already had a wonderful year and it’s exciting to see what’s left,” Burroughs coach John Peebles said. “The work he’s put in, the training, it’s paid off for him. He’s gotten better as the year has gone on and that’s all you can ask for.”
Regardless of what happens Friday, Chahal will compete Saturday in the 3,200-meter run as there is only a championship in that event at 9:25 p.m. Chahal enters as the school record holder with a time of 9:00.61.
As for history, Switzer is chasing down her own, as the senior will compete in Friday’s preliminary girls’ pole vault at 6 p.m.
To advance to Saturday’s final at 5:15 p.m. the senior will need to finish in the top 12.
Switzer hit her personal-best height of 12 feet at the Southern Section Division I preliminaries at Trabuco Hills and matched that mark May 19 when she finished third at the Division I championships.
Last Saturday, Switzer tied for seventh at the Masters Meet after hitting an at-large mark of 11-11.
Over the last two weeks, Switzer has come up short of breaking the school record of 12-3, set by Sarah Prystupa in 2016.
“I’d like to break the record; that’s my goal,” Switzer said. “[At Masters], the main goal was just to advance, but I was still hoping I could get the record.”
Two weeks ago, Switzer missed on three tries at 12-6 and last weekend it was three attempts at 12-5.