Call it the breakfast of a champion. Two ham and cheese croissants from Starbucks. That was Christian Grubb’s meal before heading to Torrance on Saturday for the Southern Section track and field championships at El Camino College.
He immediately went into hibernation on a tarp under the Sherman Oaks Notre Dame canopy more than two hours before his first race.
He needed a nap and some good closing speed because freshman Rayshon Luke of Bellflower St. John Bosco gave him a scare in the Division 3 100 meters. Grubb closed at the finish to win in 10.61 seconds. Luke was second at 10.66.
“I think I let up a little bit. I gave him too much time to come back. I had him,” the 15-year-old Luke said.
Said Grubb: “I need to focus more on my start and focus on running and not worry who’s around me.”
Grubb won the 200 in 21.09 and the triple jump in 45 feet 11 inches on his last jump after fouling twice. He’s trying to become the fourth Notre Dame student to win the state 100 title.
Among the standouts Saturday was Ismail Turner of Hemet West Valley. He set a Division 3 record in the 400 with a time of 46.74 by outrunning USC-bound Brayden Borquez of Studio City Harvard-Westlake. In Division 1, Solomon Strader of Valencia West Ranch won in 47.11. It sets up a dynamic 400 in the Masters Meet next Saturday at El Camino College.
Caleb Roberson of Upland ran the fastest 300 hurdles time in the nation this season to win the Division 1 race in 46.35 seconds. He also won the 100 in 10.59.
Freshman Nicholas Gates of Calabasas won the Division 2 100 in 10.79 and the 200 in 21.72.
Matthew Molina of La Canada St. Francis won the Division 3 high jump at 6-6 and qualified for the Masters Meet, but he’s unlikely to compete for a spot in the state meet. The state championships on May 25 are the same day as graduation ceremonies at St. Francis. He said the graduation ceremony is “more important.”
Long Beach Poly’s boys’ 400 relay team started the meet with a season-best time of 40.87. The team was made up of DeAngelo Chester, Keon Markham, Kenyon Reed and Anthony Johnson. Poly won the Division 1 team title.
Other top efforts included junior Jeff Duensing of Anaheim Esperanza winning the Division 3 shotput with a mark of 64-4 1/2 and the discus at 190-9, while Nico Young of Newbury Park ran 8:54.89 in winning the Division 1 3,200.
Sophomore Anthony Taylor of L.A. Cathedral was an example of the quality young talent on display. He won the Division 3 hurdles in 14.35 seconds, fastest time of the day.
In the girls’ competition, De’Anna Nowling of Calabasas was in dominant form, winning the Division 2 100 in 11.79 and the 200 in 24.28. Nowling is hoping for competition next week to improve her times. “I run better next to people,” she said.
In the Division 4 1,600, talented sophomores Mia Barnett of Sun Valley Village Christian and Audrey Suarez of Pasadena Mayfield pushed each other in a fast duel. Barnett won in 4:47.30 and then took the 3,200 in 10:33.95. Suarez ran 4:49.24 and came back to win the 800 in 2:11.16, the fastest of the four divisions.
Rachel Glen of Long Beach Wilson, one of the top hurdlers in the state, won the Division 1 300 in 41.48 and took the high jump at 5-6.
Eastvale Roosevelt won the Division 1 girls’ team title over Long Beach Poly by winning the 4 x 400 relay.
Boys’ champions: Poly (Division 1), Ventura (Division 2), Harvard-Westlake (Division 3), Oaks Christian (Division 4).
Girls’ champions: Roosevelt (Division 1), Mission Viejo (Division 2), Santa Margarita (Division 3), Oaks Christian (Division 4).