By Justin Vigil-Zuniga
Signal Sports Writer
Golden Valley track and field highlighted a Masters meet full of broken records as 13 athletes from the Foothill League will head to the state championships.
The Grizzlies had eight athletes qualify at the Masters meet on Saturday at Moorpark High School. The team is led by senior Kylee Davis, who will compete in three events at state.
Davis set a new Foothill League record in the long jump, flying to a mark of 20 feet, 4.5 inches. Davis’ spot was almost accidentally raked over by the sand crew, nearly erasing the senior’s record.
“I’m not gonna lie, I came into the meet just to qualify,” said Davis. “So I wasn’t preparing to PR today, so it’s very good that I did. Long jump was kind of hectic ’cause I was running back and forth to my events.”
The UC Davis commit had a hectic start to her day, trying to navigate both long and high jump events at opposite ends of the field. Davis fouled on her first two attempts, rattling her nerves. However, the senior settled in and scooted back in her approach in her record-breaking jump.
Davis was also part of the 4×100-meter relay team that broke another league record with a finish of 45.98 seconds.
The stacked relay team of Davis, Ta’Ahjah Fann, Tylar Gallien, Navaeh Williams and Adonijah Currie have been pushing each other all season to get to this mark. Fann will also race in the state championship 100-meter dash.
Davis’ day started at high jump, where she more than cleared the qualifying mark with a 5-foot, 5-inch jump.
However, sophomore Meagan Humphries would take the throne in the high jump. ‘Jumphries’ took the top spot at the podium after a school-record 5-foot, 9-inch jump.
Humphries also cleared the state qualifying mark in the long jump with a leap of 18 feet, 10 inches.
Currie also broke her own league record in the 200-meter dash after a 23.45-second finish cleared the pack and lowered her leading time in California this season.
“When the lights are on, everyone’s ready to put their talents out there and showcase their skills they’ve worked for throughout the week and season,” said Grizzlies head coach Lonnie Davis.
For Lonnie, the nerves of the Masters’ meet started the night before as several of his athletes were at prom. The head coach was confident his athletes would get the rest they needed with so much on the line, and the team delivered.
The two boys’ athletes also handled their business. TJ Wiggins launched a 196-foot, 10-inch throw in discus, earning him the gold and a new league record.
Elijha Ellis will move on in the long and triple jump after normal days for the senior.
Ellis registered a 22-foot, 11.5-inch jump in the long and a 48-foot, 1.5-inch jump in the triple.
“Today I wanted to shoot for the national record but came up short,” said Ellis. “But it’s OK, we have a whole other week to practice. I’m patiently waiting ’til it’s my time to shine.”
The Grizzly team has had the mission of fulfilling the void the 2020 left when they weren’t able to compete in the first COVID-19 shutdown. The team is regarded by Lonnie as one of the best he’s had but his current team is making a run for that title.
“We’re doing it for them, too,” said Lonnie. “We were on the verge of something special that year. Some of these kids were here to see that and we want to do it for them as well. Just another chip on our shoulders to overcome.”
On the West Ranch side, Christopher Goode cracked his state-leading time in the 400 just days after Dijon Stanley of Granada Hills tied the Wildcat’s mark.
“I’m looking forward to going to state, just going out in my senior year and going out with a bang,” said Goode. “I’m really ecstatic.”
Goode won the 400 with a time of 46.75, breaking the school record. The senior is one of three West Ranch runners heading to state.
Billie Issa will head to state for the boys 3200 after a fourth-place finish. Issa was near the rear of the pack for the majority of the tight race. The junior then began picking off most of the runners in a strong 9-minute, 2.59-second time, finishing 0.1 seconds behind third place.
Hart’s Jaden Wiley will also head to state after finishing sixth with a time of 9 minutes, 3.61 seconds. Wiley’s time had him in the hunt for a medal but the senior can head to state confidently knowing he’s right there with the best long-distance runners.
On the girls’ side, Alexis Fernandez also ran a great 3200 for the Wildcats. Fernandez also had a strong finish, sticking out most of the race in the back of the pack. The senior got out in front of most runners in her way and finished third with a PR of 10 minutes, 40.37 seconds.
Fernandez will be joined by Saugus’ Isabella Duarte at state after the Centurion finished fifth in 10 minutes, 45.68 seconds.
Golden Valley has the most runners and athletes to beat as the teams gear up for the state meet Friday and Saturday at Buchanan High School.
“The mindset going into next week is to dominate, take records, take first and take the whole bag,” said Ellis.
The Grizzlies’ eight athletes will all have their first crack at a state championship, something they’ve worked for all year.
“It’s here now,” said Lonnie. “They see it, they believed in the beginning but now they see and taste it. It’s been good energy and mindsets with the thought process of doing it for one another. This group of kids, they get it. They really get it.”