Tayla Crenshaw planned to move through the high school track and field postseason with her twin sister Felicia, but life got in the way for the Costa Mesa High seniors.
Tayla said that Felicia had to have an emergency appendectomy on May 3, the day before the Orange Coast League finals. The procedure left Felicia, who finished fifth at the CIF state meet in the discus last year and is bound for San Diego State, unable to compete at league and advance to CIF.
“She was sad, but she had to focus on her health rather than her throwing career,” Tayla Crenshaw said. “It’s OK, because she’s coming back next year stronger than ever at San Diego State as a thrower.”
Tayla, who is bound for UC Irvine, was the sister in the spotlight Saturday at the CIF Southern Section finals at El Camino College. But she still had Felicia there for support, as well as her older brother Oronde, a former Costa Mesa High football standout.
Her performance was another reason for excitement. She moved on to next Saturday’s CIF Southern Section Masters Meet in both of her events. She earned the Division 3 title in the girls’ discus, unleashing a throw of 133 feet 3 inches on her first attempt. Crenshaw was also second in the shotput with a personal-best mark of 38-6.
“It makes me very proud,” she said of earning her first CIF title in the discus. “It’s nice, I think, to represent being a Mustang here.”
Crenshaw said she’s aiming for 150 feet in the discus by the end of the season. Mustangs throws coach Hasan Asrar wouldn’t doubt it. Her last throw of the day Saturday would have approached her personal-best of 142-11, Asrar said, but she scratched.
“Her level of confidence is peaking,” Asrar said. “I’m excited for her, too, definitely heading into Masters and the state meet. With the amount of support that she has, she’s going to be unstoppable. That’s really the driving force, the level of support and confidence at these meets. Not a whole lot of coaching can go on. It’s showtime.”
Other local athletes also advanced to the Masters Meet by earning top nine overall performances in their events, or top 12 in the 800 meters, 1,600, 3,200 and all field events. Two others even earned CIF titles.
Corona del Mar High senior Morgan Simon won the Division 3 girls’ pole vault with a clearance of 12-4, while Marina junior Skyler Magula won the Division 2 boys’ pole vault after clearing 15-6.
Simon, in just her second year competing, can now say she’s a CIF champion. She qualified third for Masters, shaking off a right shoulder injury that vault coach Fritz Howser said occurred right before Pacific Coast League finals.
Simon, whose PR is 12-7, wasn’t quite able to clear the bar at 12-8. But the UC Santa Barbara-bound senior is definitely happy about her quick improvement in the sport.
“It wouldn’t have crossed my mind at all [last year when I started],” Simon said. “I’m just really thankful for it all.”
So is Magula. Last year, he didn’t even make it to the CIF finals, failing to advance out of preliminaries. But now he too can say he’s a CIF champion, even if his day Saturday started off a bit shaky. He missed his first vault at his opening height of 14-6.
“For every vaulter, that makes you a little bit uneasy, especially at a meet like this,” he said. “After that, I made my first attempts at 15 and 15-6. Coming into 15-6, I saw [third-place finisher Mason Gariepy of Mission Viejo] miss his first attempt. I sat there and I said, ‘If I make this on my first attempt, this will give me a chance at winning it.’ I came in and I hopped right over [the bar]. I was pretty stoked.”
Christian Valles of Canyon Country Canyon also cleared 15-6, but Magula won the title due to fewer misses.
Edison junior Aiden Garnett and Huntington Beach junior Jack Wiseman also advanced to Masters after tying for third in the Division 1 boys’ high jump. Garnett and Wiseman both cleared 6-4. For Wiseman, it will be his second straight Masters appearance.
Newport Harbor junior Aidan Elbattar also made Masters after finishing third in the Division 2 boys’ shotput (a personal-best 57-1.5), as did Alejandra Rosales of Marina in the girls’ discus. Rosales, a sophomore, placed sixth in Division 2 in 125-9.