CERRITOS, CA: The CIF Southern Section Masters Meet is a unique event in that it brings the best of the best from the bottom half of the state together on the same stage, head to head. In a section that has over 500 schools, to be counted among the top 12 athletes (top 9 in lane events) from a grouping of schools that large is a tremendous accomplishment. The meet showcases the best of the best from Southern California and serves as a qualifying meet to move athletes on to the State Championship, held June 3-4 in Clovis.
Needless to say, competing on this stage requires composure and poise, and for the 7 King athletes who took to both track and field, those characteristics were on clear display. Courtney Klosinski was the only one who went home with some disappointment as her 8th place finish in the shot put kept her from moving on. Still, her toss was only two inches from her lifetime best and being the 8th best shot putter of 500 schools is quite a feat!
The boys 4×100 squad of Saadiq Jennings, Jaylen Moore, Korey Parsons and Jonathan Essien were the story of the day. They were the 8th of 9 squads based on seed time and thus were given lane 9 – somewhat of a disadvantage as the field is entirely behind the team for most of the 400 meters. Jennings got off to a great start and by his exchange 100 meters in, he said afterward he sensed that he and Moore were handing off in the lead (indeed they were) and yelled “Go!”. Moore did just that, screaming down the backstretch with only the eventual winners, Vista Murrieta, closing the gap. Korey Parsons ran a great second turn and handed to Essien who did his normal amazing anchor and brought the 8-seed team across the line in second place! Even more impressive was the 41.54 time, a full half-second faster than their previous best and put the new school record firmly into the middle of historically elite times. This team of three seniors and a junior are the first relay squad in King history to move on to the State Championships!
Ryan Laudermilk missed that State meet last season as he came up just short of the day he needed in the 2015 Masters meet. This year was a different story as he missed not one attempt through the first three heights, capping out at 6-7. By that point, he was in second place and on to State. He’d finish there in second after three misses at 6-9. Second best in Southern California and State-bound!
Tyler Janes, competing in both the 1600 and 3200 meters, did something no male athlete at King has ever done. He qualified for State in two events! The 1600 is his “main event” and there he ran a solid 4:08.81 for 5th place. In a field of 12 athletes, the Section showed it’s depth and talent as every racer moved on to State having met the minimum qualifying time! In the 3200, Janes had to work a bit harder to finish 10th in 9:06, just slipping under the 9:07.63 standard.
It was a masterful set of performances and set the stage for King to send the largest group to the State meet in school history.