By Justin Vigil-Zuniga
Signal Sports Writer
Golden Valley track and field headed into league championships with the Foothill League title already in the bag.
Both teams went undefeated in their league tri-meets this season, winning the girls’ team its third league title in a row and the boys’ second consecutive.
But the team is after something bigger than winning meets and league championships.
The team captured a combined 16 individual championships, taking home crowns in half of the events at league championships.
Senior Elijha Ellis hit a new personal record in the 100-meter dash, finishing in 10.85 seconds. Ellis also flew in the long jump, landing in 23’11, an inch off the league record he owns. The Sacramento State commit took home his third league championship in the triple jump with a mark of 42 feet.
“[The girls’ team is] definitely looking strong,” said Grizzlies head coach Lonnie Davis. “Honestly what I’m really enjoying is the camaraderie and their support for one another.”
Christopher Goode of West Ranch flashed his speed in the 200- and 400-meter races. Goode bested Ellis in the 200, finishing first in 21.43 seconds, and won the 400 in 47.75 seconds.
“Chris is one of the hardest-working young men I’ve ever seen,” said West Ranch head coach Chris Taylor. [He] leads by example. You wish you had 100 of him. I’m proud to be cultivating him in his education.”
Goode also helped the Wildcats win the 4×100 relay. The Cal State Fullerton commit was part of the championship relay team along with Dylan Roof, Tristin Collins and Obiajulu Ogbuagu.
Grizzlies senior TJ Wiggins broke a 40-year old meet record in discus with a throw of 186 feet. Wiggins also became the shot-put league champion with his personal-best throw of 49’05.5.
Adonijah Currie also holds a couple of league records she fell just short of breaking. The junior won the 200-meter dash championship with a top-10 time in the state of 24.59 seconds.
Currie also won the 400-meter dash in 56.47.
Golden Valley has flashed a lot of speed but West Ranch may have the upper hand in the distance runs.
Wildcats’ senior Alexis Fernandez won the 800- and 1600-meter championships as well as a second-place finish in the 3200 meter. The senior finished just behind Saugus’ Isabella Duarte, who won the event in 10 minutes and 59.05 seconds. The MIT commit has shown improvements all year and scored her personal best in all three events.
“I don’t think she’s peaked yet,” said Taylor. “Week after week, better performance after better performance. I’m hoping that moving forward she can knock her numbers down. She’s consistent.”
Golden Valley’s Kylee Davis took home another long jump crown with a mark of 18 feet and 1.75 inches.
Grizzlies’ Baylee Walker is the 2022 300-meter hurdles champion after winning the event in 46.68 seconds.
“[Walker is] one of our best hurdlers on the team,” said Lonnie, “but she’s become one of the best hurdlers in our division.”
Golden Valley’s girls team remains untouched at the top of CIF Division 2 Southern Section polls. The boys’ team’s strong finish put them back on the top of their Division 2 poll.
Some late strong finishes from Canyon and West Ranch were also noticed and noted in some recent polls.
“I really wanna congratulate the other programs in the valley,” said Davis. “I appreciate the support we get in the community. It’s a great track and field community.”
Most Foothill League programs have at least a handful of athletes heading to Ventura on Saturday for CIF preliminaries.
The athletes will have their chance to compete in the biggest pool yet and see how they fare against the best in the Southern Section.
Golden Valley is on a mission and will have the most pivotal part of it on Saturday. All of their champions and qualifiers will get to perform on the biggest stage of the year.
“I’m excited to see them perform and compete,” said Davis. “Most of them have been here before. We know what they’re here for and what is expected of us.”