RIVERSIDE: Class, Character and Courage have been the three compass words of King High Track and Field ever since Coach John Corona took the helm of the program back in 2003. Like the north star, the words — and more importantly the values embodied in them – have been the constant, guiding ideas of thousands of King track and field athletes who have worn the uniform over nearly two decades.
Those “Three C’s” were on evident display yesterday on King’s home track and field as the mighty Roosevelt Mustangs rode into town. Long the best team in the league, Roosevelt has given everything King can handle and more on a yearly basis.
Before the meet, Corona shared an old saying with the team: “A person is not brave if they go into a fight worrying about whether they will win or lose; they should just go and fight.” ‘It basically means to go into competition and give it your all and the results will take care of themselves.'” Corona explained.
So King knew what it was in for well in advance of Wednesday’s first gun.
Cue the C’s.
“What a performance our kids put on tonight” the head coach said after it was done. “Just a complete team effort against one of the best programs in the CIF. We went blow for blow with them-we never backed away. The 3 C’s were certainly on display throughout the competition.”
The boys’ contest was incredibly close and came down to the final two events in which Roosevelt administered the final punches and finished with a four-point win, 70-66. But across the field and track, King gave them everything they could handle. Reyte Rash was no small part of that effort, adding to his normal menu of two hurdle races by carrying the stick in the 4×100 relay and then put his talent to the 400, a race he rarely runs.
Rash ran that 400 like it was familiar territory, and he ran it really fast. Maybe it was because there were no hurdles in his way, or maybe it was because he was embracing “Courage” and “Class” as he rose to the challenge. Gritting his teeth over the last painful meters, he out leaned Roosevelt’s best 400-guy and broke King’s school record and set the stadium record (which had stood since 2011) in the process. 48.53 seconds for the 400 meters is very, very good.
But he was not alone. All told, boys and girls combined, of the 200-or-so King athletes at JV and Varsity levels who competed, King had 127 Personal Records and 55 Season Record marks recorded. It was an astounding effort by the King kids and is indicative of the Character instilled and expected by Corona and his coaching staff.
Examples are legion. In the 3200, the second-to-last event and one King knew it needed to earn some points in, three PR’s were set despite coming up short in the scoring. Austin Fortenberry, Mitchell Machuca and Gray Mavhera burned the track up with phenomenal, gutsy races. Mavhera, PR’d by 29 seconds and set the freshman school record for the distance a 9:58! All six boys who ran the 100 set a SR or PR, led by Nick Beam’s victory at 11.12. Beam, like Rash, was a point taker on the day, earning 10 for his efforts. Rash, in the 400 and both hurdle wins took 15 points for the Wolves. Brian Green and Garrett Vasta went 1-2 in the 800 with gritty performances. Earlier, Vasta took second in the 1600. In the JV 1600, 14 of the 16 who toed the line ran an SR or PR.
Treyjon Anderson put himself into the All Time top 5 list in the triple jump, winning with a 43’1″ leap. Dryden LaCour was second at 39′ 10″. Anderson won the Long Jump at 21-5. In the throws, Robert Kells and Aaron Costa were 1-3 for six points in the effort and Luke Melson PR’d in the discus to win (132′ 10″). Costa took third in that ring and Denver Murray won the high jump.
The girls contest wasn’t nearly as close, as Roosevelt ran away with it early, but it was still hotly contested by the Lady Wolves.
Sheredyn Pfeiffer, King’s quite tornado, was outstanding again, with a lifetime PR past 18 feet in the long jump to land the #3 jump in school history. She was second in the 100 with a SR of 12.69, but dragged Kayla Seldon, Grace Roberts and Juliane Malolos across the line with SR’s each as well. Freshman Raykiyat Olukoju had an outstanding day, running 57.92 in the 400, the #4 time in school history and won the 200 in 25.39 which sits just outside the top-five. Amanda Sosa ran her SR in the 1600 in second place, while Naomi Benson ran an SR in the 100 hurdles to take second. Kimbery Garza (SR) and Danny Cupples (PR) were 2-3 in the discus.
“Losing this one really hurts” Corona said after, “mostly because our team gave so much in their attempt to win. They laid it all out there and were valiant in what they gave in their events and what they gave to each other. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
Pride … after a loss. It is a doable emotion if one’s compass is pointed at class, character and courage and the path you’re on is firmly headed in that direction.