CERRITOS — Heading into the final event, the goal was simple for the Vista Murrieta boys’ track and field team. Finish in the top four in the 1,600-meter relay and the Broncos would clinch a second consecutive Southern Section Division 1 title.
They hit their mark once again Saturday at Cerritos College, finishing second in the four-lap relay to win the team title over Long Beach Poly, 65-61, and fend off another challenge from one of the state’s most decorated programs.
“I’m ecstatic right now,” said senior Jovonte Slater, who won the only event for Vista Murrieta, a soaring leap in the long jump, but also took second in the 100, third in the 200 and ran the second leg on the final relay.
The Broncos entered the final event one point behind El Toro and six ahead of the Jackrabbits. El Toro did not have a team in the relay, so Vista Murrieta’s biggest challenge was keeping Poly within its sights during the race.
Slater, who is headed to USC on a track scholarship, took the baton and circled the track in just over 47 seconds, passing two runners on his final straightaway and catching up with Poly’s lead runner.
“I was impressed with the 47 split because I didn’t know my legs had it in me after three events,” he said. “I just did everything in my power and my body and my spirit to do it. I went out there and just ran.”
Elias Gedyon of Los Angeles Loyola ran even more.
The Oregon-bound senior swept the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 in Division 3, helping the Cubs run away with the team title.
Without being pressed, Gedyon strode to victory in the 1,600 in 4:11.15, followed by the 800 in 1:54.20 and finally the 3,200 in 9:00.37.
The defending state champion in the 1,600 and a three-time Division 2 state cross-country champion, Gedyon said he plans to drop one of the events as qualifying nears for the state meet in two weeks in Clovis.
“The 800 is something I’m kind of iffy on,” he said.
There were plenty of other highlights to keep spectators entertained on the sunny afternoon.
Remontay McClain of Covina, the defending state champion in the 100 and 200, broke Division 3 records in both events. He won the 100 in 10.31, the second-fastest time in the nation this season behind Marvin Bracy of Boone High School in Orlando, Fla. The previous division record of 10.36 was established in 1998 by Miguel Fletcher of Mission Hills Alemany.
McClain came back to win the 200 in a nation-leading 20.68, breaking Fletcher’s mark of 20.95.
Jonathan Cabral of Agoura, the defending state champ in both hurdle events, broke a 29-year-old Division 3 record in the 110 hurdles, winning in 13.54. Steve Kerho of Mission Viejo long held the previous mark of 13.65. Cabral, who came into the meet with the second-fastest time in the nation in the 300 hurdles (36.42), won that event in 37.17.
Immanuel Hutchinson of San Jacinto broke a 21-year-old Division 3 meet record while winning the 800 meters in 1:51.49, the second-fastest time in the state this season. The previous mark of 1:51.91 was set by Luis Quintana of Arroyo Grande.
Fontana Summit took the top two spots in the 110 hurdles in Division 1. Devon Blackmon, who is headed to Oregon on a football scholarship, finished first in 13.88, the second-fastest time in the state this season, and Donte Deayon, who is expected to be one of the Inland Empire’s top recruits next season, was second in 14.55.
Hesperia Sultana sophomore Jaelen Spencer had the top triple jump mark of the day, soaring a state-leading 50-2 ¼ to win the event in Division 2, the the all-time second-best mark in the state for a sophomore.
For complete boys' results, click this link.