Faith Bender

Liberty sophomore Faith Bender advances to the finals in the girls shot put and discus finals at the CIF State Track and Field Championships in Clovis. 

CLOVIS - Historically speaking, this is a big day for locals in the finals of the 101st CIF State Track and Field Championships.

There are nine Kern County athletes participating, and seven of them are from Liberty.

Daniel Viveros is the marquee name to watch tonight.

The senior is the defending state boys shot put champion and is the national leader with a mark of 71 feet, 3 inches on May 8.

Viveros took just two attempts in the prelims (of possible three) and is the top-seed going into the finals with a mark of 68-1.75.

Viveros said he didn’t “do too much” in the prelims and hopes that he can pop another 70-foot plus mark in the finals.

Only three in the state history have a mark more than 70 feet in state history. Both of the previous two also accomplished the feat in the state finals, with the last being Matt Katnick during his senior year in 2015 for Bellflower-St. John Bosco.

Note: Bakersfield High great Van Mounts’ Central Section record of 71-10 came in competition not affiliated with the CIF.

Viveros is attempting to become just the 13th multiple state champion in the shot put. The last to accomplish the feat was Frontier’s Matt Darr in 2009-10. There are four Kern County throwers to win multiple shot put titles, along with Leon Patterson (Taft, 1951-52) and Mounts (1997-98).

The shot put finals begin at 6:30 p.m.

Viveros is also the No. 2 seed in the boys discus finals beginning at 4:30 p.m. with a mark of 186-5 in the prelims.

If Viveros is able to win both throws titles tonight, he would be the 12th to accomplish that feat. Darr was the last local to win both in the same competition. Dayshaun Ragans also won both for Foothill in 2008 and Patterson won both in 1951.

Also in the shot put finals is Shafter senior Thomas Richardson.

The Liberty girls have six athletes in the finals, with two in two individual events.

Sophomore Reese Renz is the No. 2 seed in the 300 hurdles with a prelim time of 42.62. Renz is also in the 100 hurdles finals after running a personal-best time of 14.21 in the prelims.

Fellow sophomore Faith Bender is in the girls shot put and discus finals. Bender stated frustration over her marks in the prelims (was the top seed in the shot put coming into the weekend) but said Saturday morning that she “is ready” for a big night.

Bender is joined by teammate and fellow sophomore Bella Rigby in the discus finals.

Liberty girls have a shot at a top-2 finish in the team standings and got a boost late-night Friday after the 1,600 relay team of Renz, Rebecca Vanderpoel, Alexa Schacher and Ellen Palmgren ran a school-record time of 3:50.01 in the prelims to advance to the finals.

Boron junior Kelton Chenworth is in the boys high jump finals. Was one of 12 participants in the prelims to clear 6-6 to advance.

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