By Justin Vigil-Zuniga
Signal Sports Writer
Three Santa Clarita Valley athletes returned home from Clovis as state runners-up after the CIF State meet over the weekend.
Thirteen of the Foothill League’s best headed north to compete with the top athletes in California.
Golden Valley’s Elijha Ellis and Meagan Humphries as well as West Ranch’s Christopher Goode all brought home silver hardware.
Humphries was nowhere near her best mark of 5 feet, 9 inches in the high jump due to high winds. The sophomore still nailed the 5-foot, 6-inch jump to earn the silver.
Goode’s 46.94-second finish in the 400-meter dash at Masters is still the fastest time in the state this year. The Wildcat was just a millisecond out of first with his 47.51 time, finishing second behind Central’s Jeremiah Walker at 47.49 seconds in a tight race. The top four spots finished just in a 0.19-second window.
Ellis did not qualify for the triple jump finals. However, the Sacramento State commit hit a great personal record in the long jump, launching for a 24-foot, 5.75-inch mark.
Golden Valley’s Kylee Davis was a threat in the high and long jump. The senior wouldn’t qualify in the preliminaries for the high but ended up with a solid long jump. Davis finally got over the 20-foot barrier last week at Masters but was just short at state, hitting a 19-foot, 8.25-inch landing.
Adonijah Currie, like Goode, will also remain the state leader for her time last week in the 200-meter dash. The junior finished fifth in the state meet with a time of 24.05 seconds.
The Grizzlies started strong at Friday’s preliminaries with Davis being the only one not qualifying. Even the 4×100 relay team cracked their best time in the state with a new Foothill League record of 45.82 seconds.
However, the squad couldn’t get back out in front in the finals and finished second in 46.42 seconds.
Golden Valley’s Ta’Ahjah Fann broke her school record in the state prelims 100-yard dash with a second-place, 11.67-second finish. Fann would unfortunately be forced to withdraw from the finals due to soreness.
“The day started out not so well on Saturday,” said Grizzlies head coach Lonnie Davis. “I think everyone was a little rattled, which is very uncharacteristic of our team. But it’s a big meet, it’s a big moment.”
TJ Wiggins finished fourth in discus with a 198-foot, 11-inch throw. Wiggins has been nearing the 200-foot mark for a while but came up just short in his final meet. JSerra’s Brandon See would wind up the state champion after his 203-foot, 10-inch throw.
Wiggins will still head to Long Beach State as a Foothill League and Division 2 champion.
West Ranch senior Alexis Fernandez PR’ed in the girls’ 3200-meter run with an 11th-place finish time of 10 minutes, 39.54 seconds. Fernandez has hit new best marks in three of her last four races, showing some serious improvements before heading to MIT.
Fernandez ran neck and neck with Saugus’ Bella Duarte, narrowly beating the Centurion, who finished 0.39 seconds behind her.
Fellow Wildcat Billie Issa finished 11th in the boys’ 3200 in 9 minutes, 5.58 seconds. The junior beat out Hart’s Jaden Wiley, who finished in 9 minutes, 10.56 seconds.
Issa has been noted as one of the most diligent runners and competitors by head coach Chris Taylor.
“[Issa is] always prepared,” said Taylor. “He always knows his competition; he always knows their times. Big upside for him, but he was heartbroken.”
Taylor was still impressed by his runners and how far their talents took them. The first-year coach wanted nothing more than for his kids to enjoy their time.
“I hope they had fun,” said Taylor. “You’ve got one high school experience and you should make the best of it and have fun doing it. I hope they enjoyed the journey as much as I did with them. I hoped they learned as much from me as I learned from them.”
For Lonnie Davis, it wasn’t the finish he had imagined for the Grizzlies. At the beginning of the year, the head coach and team laid out their three-goal vision board of winning league, division and state.
The Grizzly girls accomplished two out of three and finished fourth in state.
“It’s a win overall, it’s just without that plaque,” said Lonnie. “It wasn’t our time and we respect the team that won. But we’re gonna work hard to be in that position next year.”
Outside of losing pivotal athletes like Kylee, Wiggins and Ellis, Lonnie is excited about the future of his program.
“It was bittersweet,” said Lonnie. “Tough losses and a tough situation. But it was a great learning experience to make sure we tighten the screws and we’re ready for this moment again. We’re just hungry and eager to get back and do some damage.”
Taylor also noted the same excitement for his upcoming upper class as the Wildcats, along with the rest of the Foothill League, will look to end Golden Valley’s dynasty in 2023.