At the CIF State Track and Field Championships in Clovis, the BVAL’s two standout performers were Wolverines’ long jumper Shawn Simms and Patriots’ high jumper Clifford Obodo, the only local athletes to qualify for the championship rounds. Obodo, a senior, registered a jump that earned him a 10th-place finish, while Simms, also a senior, finished the meet in sixth place.
A trip to the state championships is impressive in any sport, but California’s high school track and field stars face an especially tough challenge. They’re not categorized in sections or divisions, but lumped together. The significance of the resulting achievements wasn’t lost on Heritage head coach Kevin Bain.
“Considering there are literally thousands of jumpers, up and down this state, a top-10 finish is pretty amazing,” Bain said.
While Simms and Obodo were the only local stars to qualify for the championship heats, they weren’t the only ones to go. Deer Valley junior LaValle Hamlin finished 16th in the 300-meter hurdles, while both Simms and Hamlin participated in the 4x100- and 4x400-meter relay races
Deer Valley’s 4x100 team – Simms, Hamlin, senior Darius Cooper and junior Tajae Smith White – finished in 24th with a time of 42.76, while the 4x400 team – Smith White, Hamlin, Simms and junior Isaiah Reed – took 12th with a time of 3:19.27.
The lone Falcon in Clovis was senior Adrian Perez, who qualified in both the 200- and 400-meter races. Perez’s time of 22.53 earned him the 25th spot in the 200-meter race, while his 49.07 time in the 400 was good enough for 18th.
Heritage senior discus thrower Kyle Thacker finished in 17th position, while sophomore teammate Zoey Millington, who took 20th in the high jump, was the only local girl to qualify for Clovis. Millington is one of many sophomores that Bain feels will keep Heritage strong in the near future. Since the Patriots entered the season with the liabilities of youth and inexperience, their accomplishments were a pleasant surprise.
“Being able to keep numbers as high as we’ve been able to the last couple years is a testament to the dedication and hard work that these kids put it,” Bain said. “They come out to practice, work hard – even during spring break – and we had some good numbers.”