The forecast in the Fresno area for the weekend calls for brutally hot temperatures, even by Central Valley standards.
This seems almost fitting since the 98th CIF State Track and Field Championships at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Clovis are expected to sizzle across the board, be it the jumps, sprints, throws or distance events.
Temperatures are projected to be 106 degrees Friday and 108 Saturday, with slight cooling once the sun sets. A sellout crowd of 10,000 still is expected, a tribute to track fans in the region and the talent on hand.
High temperatures are nothing new for the state meet, with six of the previous seven championship meets in the Fresno area eclipsing the 100-degree mark. Still, the CIF office has moved some running events back into the evening to spare excessive sun exposure.
I absolutely love doing all of these events. I can train for one event, and it carries over. A lot of it is the same mechanics, footwork and timing. There’s nothing I want more than to do well at state, to go clean up.
Oakmont’s Isaiah Holmes, who will compete in four events at the state meet
“I don’t know if I’ll be ready for the heat, if any of us will be, but I’ll be ready to compete,” said Isaiah Holmes, a multi-event star from Oakmont High School.
With Sacramento-area athletes training for the meet in temperatures already pushing 100 degrees, the Central Valley heat shouldn’t have too much effect on local competitors, who will have plenty of water, ice and shade on hand. State meet officials also will have first-aid tents with fans for any athletes seeking refuge from the heat.
Holmes will be one to keep an eye on. The 6-foot-1, UCLA-bound senior is entered in four events. While Holmes said he expects to reach the medal stand in each event, he is the clear favorite in two.
Here’s the breakdown:
▪ In the high jump, Holmes cleared 7 feet, 1 1/8 inches to win at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters meet last weekend. That mark leads the state and is second best on the West Coast.
▪ In the long jump, Holmes recorded a nation-leading 25-11 1/2 at the Masters meet, breaking the 48-year-old section record held by Heulon Hewitt of Merced (25-10 3/4 ).
▪ In the triple jump, Holmes won the Masters title with a 47-11 1/2 effort. He has the state’s fourth-best jump, 48-0 1/2 .
▪ In the 110-meter hurdles, Holmes has the state’s ninth-best time, 14.13 seconds, good for second place at the Masters meet.
It’s safe to say Holmes will hit the ground in Fresno running and jumping.
“I absolutely love doing all of these events,” he said. “I can train for one event, and it carries over. A lot of it is the same mechanics, footwork and timing. There’s nothing I want more than to do well at state, to go clean up.”
A year ago, Holmes was cleaned out. He entered the four events and did not medal, a victim of the heat, nerves and competition.
“It was rough, and I wasn’t ready, but I am now,” he said. “I’ve learned. And I’ve trained more. I’ll be ready.”
When Holmes set the section record in the high jump last week at Elk Grove High, he lay stunned for a second on the mat.
“I looked at the bar for a second in absolute confusion and thought, ‘What just happened?’ ” Holmes said. “I was in absolute shock. And the long jump was fun. I’m still shocked.”
Holmes comes from a family of athletes. His brother, Justin, plays wide receiver at San Jose State. His father, Shawn, was a Golden Gloves boxer.
Fiona O’Keeffe of Davis is the area’s only girl who has a state-leading mark. At the Masters meet, the Stanford-bound senior won the 3,200 meters in 10 minutes, 8.65 seconds, tops in the state by nearly five seconds.
At last year’s state meet, O’Keeffe placed second in the 3,200 to Destiny Collins of Great Oak-Temecula. Collins is back for a rematch and has the state’s third-best time this season, 10:18.35. O’Keeffe’s sister Olivia, a sophomore, is a medal contender in the 1,600 with a best of 4:50.73, her winning time at the Masters meet.
▪ MacLean Conner: The Pleasant Grove senior is second in the state in the 300-meter hurdles with a 37.01 mark, which brought him a victory at the Masters meet. The state leader is Koty Burton of La Quinta (36.92).
1 Isaiah Holmes’ national ranking in the long jump (25 feet, 111/2 inches)
▪ Myles Ellis: The Antelope junior is second in the state in the 400 after winning the Masters title in 46.78. The state leader is Michael Norman of Vista Murrieta (45.51).
▪ Jacob Bowler: The Del Oro senior is tied for the state’s second-best pole vault mark, 16-8. The leader is Jett Gordon of Marina (17-2).
▪ St. Francis girls relay: The 4x400 foursome of Kiani Reyna, Lillian Enes, Elizabeth Hennessy and Ariane Arndt has the state’s second-fastest time, 3:45.49, just behind Vacaville (3:44.59).
▪ Rae’vyn Lawler: The Sacramento junior has the fastest NorCal time in the girls 100 meters, 11.70, which is 10th best in the state behind sprinters from Southern California.
▪ Willie Hall of Davis (800), Andrew Clusserath of Rocklin (1,600), Sean Kurdy of Jesuit (3,200) and Michael Vernau of Davis (3,200) are medal contenders. So is Jesuit’s 4x100 boys relay and the Cosumnes Oaks 4x400 boys relay, which has the fastest time in Northern California (3:16.39).
▪ Cathilyn McIntosh of Del Oro and Arndt of St. Francis are medal contenders in the 800 after placing first and second at the Masters meet.
CIF State Track and Field Championships
- When: Friday, qualifying, gates open 3 p.m.; Saturday, finals, gates open 3:30 p.m.
- Where: Buchanan High School, Clovis
- Tickets: Friday, $10 ($7 for children under 13, students, adults 65 and older); Saturday, $12 ($8); parking is $5