Scores of area athletes on Thursday loaded up vans and cars, destination: the furnace that is the Fresno area.
Veterans Memorial Stadium in Clovis hosts the 99th CIF State Track and Field Championships, where the temperatures will creep into the mid-90s for Friday’s preliminaries and a bit warmer for Saturday’s finals, meaning the competition only adds to the heat index.
Given the strength of the Southern California athletes in what generally is viewed as the most competitive state meet in the country, local athletes might be pleased to just reach the medal stand. But several expect golds.
Jake Grimsman of Vista del Lago has the state’s second-best high jump of 6 feet, 10 inches.
The Sheldon girls have the second-fastest entry time in the 4x400 relay of 3 minutes, 46.88 seconds with legs Simone Abdur Rahim, Tai McDonald, Tatumn LaChapelle and Thalia Reid. No area girls program has won a CIF State relay title.
McDonald has a 100 best of 12.12, but that ranks her 13th in a sizzling field. Her 200 best of 24.55 is 10th best.
James Hampton of Pleasant Grove won the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters 100 in 10.88, good for the 18th fastest time entering the prelims. Such is the nature of the SoCal beast.
Myles Ellis of Antelope has the third-fastest 400 time of 47.28 and Lance Huber of Del Oro has the fifth-best pole vault effort going in at 16 feet, 1 inch.
Maddy Denner of Oak Ridge has the fourth-best 1,600 time of 4:48.64 and twin sister Elena has the second-best 3,200 time of 10:14.99.