Asani Hampton of Yucaipa is 5-foot-5, wears a lime-colored headband and runs as if he’s a Ferrari. When he accelerates, it’s scintillating.
As the wind swirled on Saturday at the Southern Section track and field championships at El Camino College, Hampton took off at the sound of the starter’s pistol and finished the Division 1 100 meters in 10.48 seconds, putting him right on schedule for next week’s Masters Meet and the state championships June 1-2 in Clovis.
“It makes me really happy,” he said. “The work we’re putting in is working.”
In simple terms, Henry Thomas’ 33-year-old state record of 10.25 seconds in the 100, set in 1985 when he was running for Hawthorne High, could be within Hampton’s reach.
“Absolutely,” he said. “I have no doubt.”
He ran 10.26 two weeks ago at his league finals. And what will it take to set the record?
“Confidence in myself, extra training and a perfect race,” he said.
It wasn’t only Hampton turning on the speed. In the girls’ Division 1 100, defending state champion Ariyonna Augustine of Long Beach Poly won in what wasn’t even the fastest time of the day at 11.75. But she was forced to run into a headwind, making the time exceptional considering the conditions. She also won the 200 in 23.91.
UCLA-bound Sean Lee of Mission Viejo Trabuco Hills set a Division 1 record when he cleared 7 feet, 2 1/2 inches to win the high jump. Mariah Castillo of Saugus set a Division 2 record in winning the girls’ 3,200 in 10:06.47.
The Bellflower St. John Bosco 4x100 relay team ran a state-best time of 40.94 to win Division 3. The team is made up of players from its decorated football team: receiver Colby Bowman and defensive backs Titus Toler, Level Price Jr. and Trent McDuffie.
Asked if winning will cause football coach Jason Negro to excuse him from line drills, Bowman said, “I hope.”
When it comes to making dad proud, Brayden Borquez of Studio City Harvard-Westlake deserves attention. His father, Anthony, was a standout 400 runner at Mission Hills Alemany during the 1980s and ran with Quincy Watts at USC. Brayden won the Division 3 400 in 47.76, his best time ever, and helped the Wolverines win their first team title since 1992.
“It didn’t feel like my best race,” Borquez said. “I had some nerves but overcame them.”
Another 400 winner was sophomore Solomon Strader of Santa Clarita Trinity Classical. He won Division 4 in 48.55. He finished sixth in the state last year and is hoping his times start to improve with the increasing competition. He also won the 200 in 21.96.
One of the meet’s standouts was Blake Hennesay of Santa Margarita. He won the Division 3 100 in 10.57 and then edged Borquez in the 300 hurdles in 37.55.
Talin Lewis of Westlake Village Oaks Christian won the Division 4 300 hurdles and went 23-5 1/4 to win the boys’ long jump. Sophomore Jeff Duensing of Anaheim Esperanza is the latest Aztec to excel in the shotput. He won Division 3 at 61-2 1/2.
Tiber Seireeni of Harvard-Westlake won the Division 3 pole vault, clearing 16 feet. Tierni Kaufman of Harvard-Westlake has state ambitions in the girls’ high jump and won Division 3 at 5-7.