Huntington Beach's Cassie Durgy leads the way around third turn in the girls 800 meters at the CIF State Track and Field Prelims at Buchanan High in Clovis on Friday.

No stopping El Toro's Medley at CIF State Prelims


CLOVIS – For many of the county’s top athletes who made it to the CIF State Track and Field Championships, it was clear that nothing was going to stop them.

Not the heat. Not the wind. Not the opposition.

They were determined to make it through the prelims Friday at Buchanan High and advance to Saturday’s finals.

In the group of those qualifying for the finals was El Toro sophomore Maliyah Medley. She continued her surprising late-season surge, as she won her heat in the 400 meters with a time of 54.25 seconds.

Her hot streak began last week when she crushed her personal record at the CIF-SS Masters Meet. She ran the third best time in the state (53.74) to reach her first state meet.

On Friday, the Chargers sprinter ran with the confidence of someone who has recently found her top form.

“My goal was to try to get first and get a good time so that I’m guaranteed to get a pretty good lane,” Medley said. “Tomorrow, my goal is to get top three. I’m hoping I can get first.”

Los Alamitos’ Ashley Willingham also made the 400 final, taking sixth overall in 54.89 seconds.

It took consistent excellence to reach this stage. For that, many have earned the right to define their version of a successful season.

From the beginning of the year, Mission Viejo’s Emma DeSilva had placed her sights on a podium finish at the state meet.

The Diablos discus thrower put herself on the verge of making that dream come true, placing fifth in the prelims with a mark of 146 feet, 5 inches.

The top 12 qualify in field events. For the throwing events, the top nine to place receive an extra three attempts in the finals.

“There’s no better feeling than having that opportunity and having that advantage going into finals tomorrow,” said DeSilva, who has signed with Cal. “I think I put myself in a very good place to succeed and make the podium.”

Costa Mesa’s Felicia Crenshaw also qualified in the discus.

Defending state 1,600-meter champion Amanda Gehrich (Tesoro) won her heat in 4:50.14. Mission Viejo freshman Kelli Hines joined her in the finals with a time of 4:52.92.

As was expected, the heat wave seemed to affect some more than others. Dana Hills’ Jake Ogden advanced in the 1,600. Fellow All-County cross country selection Chance Lamberth (Canyon) did not.

On the whole, the athletes voiced positive reviews of CIF’s decision to delay the meet’s start time.

“My legs felt amazing,” Los Alamitos senior Thomas Heib said. “I’m really happy that they moved it. Personally, I like running at night.”

Heib, a Cal Poly San Luis Obispo signee, advanced in the 800. San Clemente’s Connor Dunne and Huntington Beach’s Cassie Durgy did the same by winning their heats.

Coming off her county-record performance (41.95 seconds) in the 300 hurdles at the Masters meet, Newport Harbor’s Emma Kratzberg qualified in the event.

Woodbridge’s Daniel Sun snuck into the boys 300 hurdles final by nabbing the last berth in 38.12 seconds.

State pole vault leaders Jett Gordon (Marina) and Rachel Baxter (Canyon) did what was necessary to advance to the championship round. They are expected to put on an aerial show in the finals. Gordon’s lifetime best is 17 feet, 2 inches. Baxter is the girls state record-holder at 14 feet, 3 inches.

Esperanza’s Bronson Osborn will go into the state finals as the top seed in the shot put and the discus. Esperanza’s Jordon Ammann and Clint Meyer qualified in the discus and the shot put, respectively.

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