Devon Lee seemed primed for a breakout season in 2019.
After an up-and-down freshman year with the Bakersfield College track and field team, the Kennedy graduate peeked at the right time in 2018.
He finished the year by recording a personal-record distance of 14.53 meters in the triple jump at the CCCAA Track and Field Championships, enough to earn him a fourth-place finish and All-American honors.
But when the season ended, Lee says improving upon his success was the furthest thing from his mind. Though he didn't offer specifics, he says he was dealing with "a whole bunch of life situations" that caused him to seek a change of scenery.
Electing to step away from athletics all together, he took an opportunity to travel, staying with family in Visalia before making a lengthy jaunt to spend time with other family members in Minnesota.
Able to focus exclusively on his studies, Lee says he had the best academic semester of his life, earning three As and a B after enrolling at the College of the Sequoias.
He also took time to further develop a long-standing passion for writing, taking a shine to composing personal essays.
"I like to be truthful," he said. "I'm a truth-seeker, so I feel that when I'm writing something down, I want it to be truthful. It's not fake. It represents the person I am trying to be."
Now back in Kern County and enrolled as a philosophy major at BC, Lee is once again trying to be a successful collegiate jumper.
He remains elusive when asked what brought him back home, simply stating that "situations didn't go how they were supposed to" in his time away. But feeling he's found a way to balance all aspects of life, he was ready to give track and field another try, and has quickly returned to the form he showed at the end of 2018.
In his first meet in over 20 months, Lee captured first place in the triple jump at the Battle of the Regions Tournament in Bakersfield on Feb. 7, leaping 46 feet, 6.25 inches.
He followed that up with a pair of wins at the WSC Relays in West Los Angeles on Friday. He won long jump with a leap of 6.48 meters and the triple jump with a distance of 14.7, better than his All-American distance at the 2018 CCCAA Championships.
Feeling his time away helped him both physically and mentally, Lee expects his performances will only get better as 2020 goes along.
"I needed that break," he said. "Just having that break allowed my body to recover and feel a whole lot better. It's a privilege to come out here again."
The Renegade men also earned a win in the 4x400 meter relay, running a time of 3:24.51.
The women's team also had three winners. Neshara Smith ran the 100 hurdles in a time of 15.73, Amaya Williams was first in the 400 hurdles in 1:12.69 and Daizhiana Ebert had a meet-best leap of 5.36 meter in the long jump.
Team scores were not recorded.
Renegade men's and women's swim team finds success at WSC
The BC men's swim team took first in five events at the WSC #1, hosted by Citrus College last Friday.
Marcus Pepper and Esteban Robles each earned two wins.
Pepper was first in the 200-meter individual medley, while Robles won the 50 freestyle. The duo also teamed with Adam Rawlins and Kenneth Hardin to win the 200 free relay.
Other winners for BC were Chris Feola in the 200 free and Tyler Marks in the 100 backstroke.
The women's team also took second in the same event, led by a pair of first-place finishes.
Kelly Washburn won the 100 bak while Daran Towns took first in the 500 free.
• Cal State Bakersfield women's basketball coach Greg McCall said Jasmin Dixon (ankle) returned to practice Tuesday and expects her to return for a Thursday home game against Utah Valley. CSUB (6-5), enters the week in a three-way tie for third in the WAC with Utah Valley and Seattle, which comes to the Icardo Center on Saturday.
• The CSUB baseball team topped Washington State 7-2 Sunday, winning two of three in its opening series of the season. The Roadrunners are at Loyola Marymount at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
• After losing eight straight to open the season, CSUB softball got its first win Sunday, beating Nevada 8-3.
• CSUB and BC both open their beach volleyball seasons on Friday. The Roadrunners host Westcliff at 10 a.m. and Marymount at 2 p.m. The Renegades travel to Santa Barbara to face Cabrillo College at noon and Fresno City College at 2 p.m.