One of the more consistent event groups of King Track and Field over the program’s history has been the hurdlers. Under Coach Ken Bracey’s tutelage, the hurdlers have demonstrated improvement and success for most of King’s 19 year history.
That continued on Saturday as Sarah Ann Frank and Reyte Rash both qualified to advance to CIF Finals to be held May 19 at El Camino College in Torrance.
One thing that has also been consistent is the level of competition in D1 of the CIF Southern Section, making qualifying out of the preliminaries especially difficult.
“Every time we get to CIF we are reminded of how deep and talented the Section is” said Coach Matt Vasal who was deputized for the day in the absence of Coach Corona who was facing his own hurdle in the form of severe bronchitis and didn’t make the meet. In fact, there were many of the 21 King athletes present who had lifetime or near-lifetime bests but were still denied a chance to move on.
One of those was sophomore Kela Mavhera who ran the 1600 and 3200 and ran personal records (PR) in both but found her season end in a moment that was bittersweet. Her 5:06.81 1600 meter time was a 4-second improvement and the fifth-best in school history but only 14th best on the day. She ran 11:21.79 in the 3200 to notch another PR. The girls 4×400 team of Kayla Seldon, Ashley Chruszcz, Brooklyn Black and Frank, ran the 4th-best time in school history at 3:59 but missed qualifying by one second, finishing 10th overall and one place from CIF Finals.
Trey Anderson was another that was left just on the doorstep of Finals but not allowed in. His 21′ 4″ long jump was very good, but not enough and he finished 10th as well. He would finish 24th in the triple jump. The boys 4×100 relay team of Nick Beam, Isac Mesa, Kai Sana and Rash were also left just out of qualifying with an 11th place finish.
But the day belonged to the hurdlers. In the 300 hurdles, Reyte Rash raced to a time of 38.05 which was just .02 off his lifetime best and school record, but more significantly, was over a full second better than the second-best racer in the five heats of qualifiers. It positions himself for a run at the CIF individual
championship. Not bad for a guy that didn’t even qualify for CIF prelims in 2017! (He placed 4th in the Big 8 Finals last year) For added goodness, he was the 9th and final qualifier in the 110 high hurdles earlier in the day running 15.13.
Sarah Ann Frank had a bit of a surprise path into the CIF Finals, as her better event — the 300’s — didn’t give her the result she assumed, as a less-than-perfect performance left her in 10th. But in the 100 hurdles, she scorched the track and won her heat with the 6th-fastest mark of all runners and so will join Rash in Torrance on Saturday, making the CIF SS D1 Finals, for King at least, a singular focus.
“Over the years we have been lucky to have our athletes peak at the right moments at the end of the year, and that was no different today” Vasal said.
For the hurdlers, the “end of the year” just got at least another week away.