CERRITOS, CA: When John Corona took the helm of the Track and Field program back in 2003, he instituted a motto that has guided the program ever since. Known as “The Three C’s”, — Class, Character and Courage — the program has stood for these values and they have remained unchanged; in seasons of great accomplishment and lesser, the Three C’s have stood resolute.
All three converged with great beauty and symmetry at the CIF Southern Section Finals on Saturday held at Cerritos College. The Finals is a meet where only the best in the section and the division compete. It takes a fair dose of courage in the heart of a young person to not only walk out on that stage with confidence, but then to perform at a high level against field that include no slouches.
“It was a great day for the King program” said Coach John Corona at the conclusion of the meet; after King had taken home six All-CIF distinctions, qualified six events into the elite Masters’ meet and crowned their first CIF Champion since 2004. And for good measure, the boys finished 4th as a team, a high finishing place King has never accomplished prior to this weekend. Indeed, a great day.
The boys 4×100 team of Saadiq Jennings, Jaylen Moore, Korey Parsons and Jonathan Essien kicked things off with a sterling effort that brought them across the line in 3rd to notch the first All CIF honors (top 6 in each event) of the day for the Wolves. A couple less-than-perfect exchanges were made up for by Essien’s incredible last leg as he moved the team from 6th to that third spot with a last 50 meters that was simply stunning.
Tyler Janes was the next to earn an All-CIF accolade in the 1600 where he also finished third. A tactical race in which the field was content to run a “casual” first half-mile, turned into a sprint where Janes’ 57.8-second final lap wasn’t enough to cover the winner’s 55-second closure and he’d settle for third in 4:09. Andrew Boebinger was also in the race, his first ever CIF Finals appearance in his great high school career, but he struggled in the race and finished in 4:32.
Janes would return in 3200 meters at the end of the day, and despite having run the event only a few times, he uncorked a run for the history books. Patiently biding his time through six laps of the eight, he gradually moved into a top 3 position and on the final 200 put down the speed that’s carried him to the national ranks in the 1600 and outkicked three hard-charging opponents to win the title outright in a time of 9:01.00. The title was King’s first since Orlisha Henlon pulled it off in the high jump, 13 years ago! There have been a host of CIF Runners’ Up finishers, but a long time has passed since a King athlete got to the top of the podium at Finals!
In the field events, things went just as well. Sissy Underwood, used her first and last appearance at the CIF Finals to do really well. She matched her lifetime best at 17′ 1.5″ and finished 8th. Dante Anderson was in the triple jump where he launched himself to a new PR of 44-4.25! That leap was 5th place in the division and qualified him to move on to the CIF Masters meet as well.
Ryan Laudermilk made the Masters meet in 2015, so this stage was a bit familiar to the talented high jumper. He had a very good outing, clearing 6-6 to finish 2nd overall. Perhaps better than that, he called attention to the fact that the judges of the event were about ready to award him a 4th jump when the max is three, having overlooked (or forgotten) about one of his earlier misses. One extra jump could have improved his position, but it would have done nothing for his character or integrity so he let them in on their error. That’s class!
Courtney Klosinski had another solid outing in the shot put. The school record holder didn’t have her best throw of the season, but it was good enough and landed her in third place, yet another All-CIF honor on the day and another King athlete who will be in the Masters meet in the next week.
Class, Character, Courage. They are great ideas to build a life upon. A track and field progam can be served just as well. They are the building blocks of great things and they’ve served King Track and Field well for over a decade now. For this one brilliant afternoon, all three attributes seemed to have been written in all caps, which made for a really, really great day to be King.
You can read more about the King Track Program by going to www.kingtrackandfield.com