Trackin' the state

The road to the CIF state championships gets shorter with every weekend. Last weekend, the Central Section conducted its championship meet as the rest of the state's sections either held divisional championships or were in a preliminary stage. Here's the athletes who caught our attention the most.

Boys

Kyle Acorn (Buchanan, Clovis) -- Acorn was a tough nut to crack in the Central Section 3200 final as he knocked off favored Billy Nelson of Taft. Acorn clocked 9:02.71 to Nelson's 9:04.26.

Noah Bryant (Carpinteria) -- The Carp senior set a CIFSS Div. IV record with his winning heave in the shot put of 66-0 1/2. He also improved on his state-best mark, which previous was 65-11.

Reggie Bush (Helix, La Mesa) -- Looks ready to make strong run at one of the two sprint titles. The junior football standout won his 100 and 200 races at last week's CIF San Diego Section prelims with marks of 10.62 and 21.06, respectively.

Joe Cowan (St. John Bosco, Bellflower) -- Joe is looking more and more like one of the state's truly elite athletes for next year. The wide receiver clocked 38.25 in the 300 hurdles during the CIFSS Div. I championships for a first-place finish and went 48.17 in the 400 to place second.

Brett Gotcher (Aptos) -- The CIF Central Coast Section Scholar Athlete of the Year was an impressive double-winner at last week's prelims and turned in marks of 4:13.56 in the 1600 and 8:55.09 in the 3200.

Cole Herron (Sanger) -- Cleared 7-0 to take top honors in the high jump at the Central Section finals.

Ronald Hill (Walnut) -- Facing strong competition from Chino's Chris McFoy, Hill responded with a winning leap of 24-4 1/2 in winning the long jump in the CIFSS Div. I finals. Hill's mark of 24-4 1/2 also is now the best in the state so far this year.

Lionel Larry (Dominguez, Compton) -- Sophomore sprinter won both the 100 and 200 crowns and was on two winning relay teams to lead the Dons to their first section track title. Lionel's winning times were 10.78 and 21.42.

Derrick Jones (Poly, Long Beach) -- Another super sophomore, Jones won the 200 in the CIFSS Div. I meet in 21.24 and also took second in the 100. The Poly relay teams also shined with marks of 40.78 in the 400 (best in the state this year) and 3:14.37 in the 1600.

Thomas Mack (Bakersfield) -- Led Drillers to their 32nd section team title in boys track with first-place finishes in the 110 and 300 hurdles. Mack timed 14.08 seconds in the shorter event and went 37.76 in the longer. Also helped Drillers go 41.80 in the 4x100 relay.

Blake Mackey (Bakersfield) -- Took first in the 200 in 21.61 and was first in the 400 in 48.31 with limited competition at the Central Section finals. Also helped Drillers go 3:14.83 in the 4x400 relay.

Hong Nguyen (Katella, Anaheim) -- Led a rare 1-2-3 finish for Katella in the boys pole vault at the CIFSS Divisional championships. After Hong's winning clearance of 15-0, finishing second was Katella's Jose Magana at 14-6. Brandon Mora of Katella also cleared 14-6 and took third.

Demetrius Ragland (Western, Tulare) -- Another double winner at the Central Section meet with marks of 23-4 3/4 in the long jump and 49-9 in the triple jump.

Noah Smith (Taft, Woodland Hills) -- Major points producer for the Toreadors was the top qualifier at the L.A. City Section qualifier with a 10.72 in the 100 and a 21.85 in the 200.

Paul Williams (Avenal) -- It's great to see Paul doing so well in the aftermath of older brother Curtis Williams' recent death. Paul clocked 21.85 in the 200 and qualified for next week's CIF state championships.

Rubin Williams (Valley Christian, San Jose) -- Looks ready for a major push in the 100 and 200 at the state meet based on last week's winning marks of 10.50 in the 100 and 21.34 in the 200.

Girls

Tiffany Brown (Stockdale, Bakersfield) -- Turned in strong timing of 42.77 seconds to win 300 hurdles title in Central Section final.

Alyson Felix (L.A. Baptist, North Hills) -- Despite facing the watered-down competition of Div. IV instead of Div. I or Div. II at the CIFSS divisional championships, Felix still lowered her national-leading top time in the 200 down to 22.99 seconds.

Chaunte Howard (J.W. North, Riverside) -- National Track & Field Athlete of the Year candidate put down a new state best of 20-4 1/2 in the long jump to highlight a three-win performance at the CIFSS Div. I championships. Howard's winning mark in the high jump was 6-0, which ties her state best. She also stretched out to 40-5 to win the triple jump.

Chelsea Johnson (Atascadero) -- Took top honors in the CIFSS Div. III pole vault with a new national best of 13-6. She cleared 13-4 earlier in the season and her 13-6 mark gets her closet to the state and national record of 13-8 set last year by fellow SLO County star Shayla Balentine of Morro Bay.

Tunisia Johnson (Poly, Long Beach) -- Facing some strong competition led by J.W. North's Ashley Brown, Johnson was able to improve her state-best time of the season down to 42.38 seconds. Johnson also won the 100 high hurdles in 14.18 seconds.

Bethany Nickless (Fountain Valley) -- Seems to be emerging as a distance runner to watch as she took top honors at the CIFSS Div. I meet in the 3200 and clocked 10:44.50.

Osarheimen Omwanghe (Buchanan, Clovis) -- Led school to second-place finish in team scoring at the Central Section finals with a win in the 100 hurdles (14.08) and second-place showing in the 300 hurdles (44.01).

Angel Perkins (Gahr, Cerritos) -- Angel was a triple winner at the CIFSS Div. II finals and turned in marks of 11.74 in the 100, 24.02 in the 200 and 54.75 in the 400.

Shannon Rowbury (Sacred Heart Cathedral, S.F.) -- If Rowbury drops either the 1600 or 800 at the CIF state meet, she may be very difficult to stop. At the CCS prelims last week, Rowbury was in tough against Los Gatos' Susie Caldwell but still won in super times of 4:51.14 in the 1600 and 2:10.28 in the 800. Caldwell's runner-up marks of 4:53.99 and 2:10.91 are worth noting as well.

Sholanda Solomon (Poly, Long Beach) -- Super sophomore led a 1-2-3-4 parade of Jackrabbits in both the 100 and 200 at the CIFSS Div. I meet. Solomon clocked 11.51 in the 100 and 23.31 in the 200 and remains a strong bet to finish at least among the top three at the state meet. And with kind of speed it's no wonder Poly also clocked 45.32 and 3:41.21 in its two relay races.

Jenna Timinsky (San Dieguito Academy, Encinitas) -- With La Jolla's Whitney Schmucker pushing her along, Timinsky pumped out a 2:09.56 to win the 800 at the San Diego Section prelims.

Rachel Varner (Bakersfield) -- Doubled up in the shot and discus at the Central Section meet but her winning marks of 43-11 1/4 and 162-2 were well off her state-leading bests.

Kamaiya Warren (St. Mary's, Berkeley) -- She was a standout basketball player last winter for the Panthers and now it's track. Warren threw the shot 44-0 3/4 and tossed the discus 150-11 to finish first in last week's CIF North Coast Section Bay Shore Area prelims.


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