Jump for joy: Local track and field trio qualifies for state
Jubilation and heartbreak are synonymous with the CIF Southern Section Masters Meet, the final stage in a season-long journey for high school track and field athletes to get to the state meet.
Local athletes felt both extremes Saturday at Moorpark High School, where three out of eight area competitors survived and advanced.
Corona del Mar long jumper Jason Plumb heard a variation of those words from a prominent mentor in Mike Powell, the world record-holder in the event since 1991, at the completion of his jumping series.
“Welcome to the state meet,” Powell shouted to his protégé. “That’s what we came for.”
Plumb, a Cal-bound senior, finished fourth in the long jump with a mark of 22 feet, 10½ inches. The top six finishers and those that met at-large standards for their events qualified for the CIF State track and field championships, being held May 27-28 at Clovis Buchanan High School.
“It’s definitely going to be cool,” Plumb said of heading to the state meet. “I’ve never been to where it is this year, in Clovis, so I’m excited to go and be a part of it.”
On the adjacent runway, Sea Kings senior Caroline Glessing narrowly missed out on making the trip up north. In a strong field, 10 of the 12 competitors in the girls’ long jump at Masters moved on to state by besting the at-large standard of 18-6.
Glessing leaned over the tape as her final jump was measured, but it wound up just short of the mark to advance at 18-4¾. Even still, CdM jumps coach Doug Ford remarked Glessing produced her strongest series of the season with five jumps topping 18 feet.
Fountain Valley brought an area-leading three athletes to Masters, one of which made the cut by a hair. Senior Kaho Cichon said that with the at-large standard in play, she was racing herself, but she was also running against the clock after staying in the middle of the pack throughout the two laps.
Cichon finished seventh, outside the automatic qualifying positions, her time of 2 minutes 12.29 seconds getting her to state by mere tenths of a second. She ran a negative split, clocking in at 1:04.16 for the second lap.
“I was nervous,” Cichon said of realizing she was going to finish outside the top six. “I reminded myself that I was racing against myself, racing against time, and so I tried not to let that worry me. Sometimes, I worry in my race, and then I end up not being able to do well, so this time I was really focusing on doing it for myself, and that really helped.”
Meanwhile, Jonathan Yu could not replicate his performance from the Division 1 triple jump final, when he surpassed 46 feet for the third time this season. The Fountain Valley junior’s mark of 43-5¾ placed him 10th at Masters.
Senior Adam Garrison no-heighted in the pole vault competition. It had been a remarkable run for Garrison, whom Brian Bivens, the head coach of the Barons, said had returned from a torn Achilles to make a deep run in the final postseason of his prep career.
Referencing the tail wind he received last week, Newport Harbor’s Leo Davis had said he felt Moorpark High was a good venue. It was kind to him again on Saturday, as Davis cleared the bar at 15-5 — a new personal record — to place third and qualify for state.
“That was the goal,” said Davis, who celebrated by leaping onto the podium after the boys’ pole vault concluded the meet. “I’m just so pumped. It’s a big accomplishment. I can’t wait to go to Clovis and jump.”
At the high jump, the bar denied Edison’s Tyler Hampton a new lifetime-best clearance, a feat he needed to advance with the at-large standard at 6-6. Hampton’s second attempt at the qualifying height had promise, but the next attempt brought finality to a high school athletic career that also saw him compete in football and basketball.
A state bid also evaded Huntington Beach’s Makenzie McRae, who made a move from the back of the pack to put herself in contention for one of the coveted six berths in the girls’ 3,200 meters, but she ultimately placed seventh (10:51.17).
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