With just two weeks left before the postseason begins for high school track and field, the Patriot Games once again provide the last tuneup for local athletes before they make that final push.
Today at Liberty, with 21 county high schools plus Lancaster-Quartz Hill competing, there will be nearly 1,000 varsity athletes competing. Field events begin at 3:30 p.m. and track events at 4.
Count the days: There are just 12 days remaining before the league championships May 3, with the South Area meet a week later May 10 and the Central Section Masters Championships May 20 at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Clovis.
And, of course, the big one, the CIF State Championships on June 2-3 in Clovis.
Athletes are getting into high gear, so here’s what to watch for today.
• Garces senior Cameron Roberson has been the top sprinter in the county and will lead the field in the boys 100 and 200 meters.
• Ridgeview senior Amir Knox is just months away from heading to UC Davis on football scholarship. For now, he owns the top 400 time in the section at 49.30 and is part of the section’s top 1,600 relay team with Devin Holliday, Jamar Moya and Shon Stephens.
• Highland junior Moises Medrano is primed to become the ninth Kern County runner in the last 10 years to win a section title in 800. Medrano is No. 1 in the section and No. 2 in the state with a time of 1:53.44.
Medrano also had a breakout performance at the Arcadia Invitational, placing third in the 1-mile invitational heat.
“I am feeling pretty good,” Medrano said. “Arcadia was a good race. I wasn’t really expecting that high of a finish, but third place, with how the race developed, it was good. I am excited about the rest of the season.”
• Stockdale’s Marcus Mota has been brilliant this season in the 3,200 (No. 2 in the section at 9:11.05), which is No. 1 in the state and No. 3 in the nation among sophomores, but today Mota will run only in the 1,600, the first individual event on the track scheduled for 4:10 p.m. Mota is second in the section in the event at 4:20.35.
• There will be a three-way battle in the boys shot put and discus between Liberty teammates Corbin Chronister and Daniel Viveros and Shafter’s Thomas Richardson.
Those three are ranked 3-4-5 in the shot put in the section, led by Richardson’s 56-1. Richardson and Viveros are the top two sophomores in the state in the shot, and Viveros is the No. 2 sophomore in the discus (163-4).
“I have been able to work on my technique and have gotten better for it,” Chronister said. “I hope I still have the big one in me.”
• Stockdale senior Iesha Hamm is tied for the state lead and also No. 3 in the nation in the girls high jump at 5 feet, 10 inches.
• Liberty senior Alicia Viveros has the top shot put mark in the section at 45-2.25 and is No. 3 in the section in the discus (145-0). Both marks are in the state’s top 10 for the Mississippi State-bound thrower.
“I would like to pass 150 (feet in the discus),” Viveros said. “And with shot put, I already hit my goal of 45 at Arcadia. I think I am going to try and set a new goal. I am just planning on having a new goal.”
• Stockdale junior Aaliyah Wilson will be busy today. The section leader in the girls 100 (12.02) and the 100 hurdles (14.24) will compete in both events, plus the long jump, in which she is No. 2 in the section behind Highland’s Justice Smith. Wilson will also come out of the blocks in the 400 relay for the Mustangs.
• Smith, a senior, was hampered by a hamstring injury early in the season but returned to form with a triple jump of 37-11.25, the section’s top mark, at Arcadia.
“I am pretty pleased with how I performed,” Smith said.
• Bakersfield High junior Zara Anthony is No. 2 in the section in the girls 200 (25.21) and will lead the field. Anthony is also part of the top girls 1,600 relay team in the section (3:59.13) with Augustine Lerma, Mikaela Romanini and Kynnedi McCall.
• Romanini, a BHS senior, is the top girls 800 runner in the section at 2:16.02, with Liberty junior Shelby Rogers at No. 3 (2:17.87).
• Liberty senior Cagnei Duncan is the section No. 2 in the 1,600 (5:02.58).