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04-18-19 01:27 PM
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Saturday, July 28
The 2018 King Track and Field season opened with numerous question marks. In looking at the number of returnees to the team from 2017, it appeared that this year's edition was going to be very young, very inexperienced and would be missing the depth of past years. There were only 33 seniors on the team of 202-that number being the lowest it had been for years. Though there was great promise and areas of strength that could be built upon, the coaching staff knew that this was going to be a season of growth; patience and teaching. It would prove to ALL of that and then some.

In the season opener-a non-scoring event against perennial power Vista Murrieta-the Wolves were basically raked over the coals. It was not a day in which they showed well causing Head Coach John Corona to say, "We have junior varsity teams masquerading as varsity teams. We have a LONG way to go." Word got out later in the season that the Broncos had been surprised by the lack of firepower , effort and fight they had seen from King in previous years. This meet would be followed by wins in the Yorba Linda/Alta Loma Triangular and the Chino dual but these were uneasy wins at best. The Wolves did well in their annual trek to Rancho Bernardo but were a little better than average in their performances at the Chino Relays and the Meet of Champions Distance Carnival. The Big VIII season opened at a much improved Santiago High and King eked out a win over the much improved Sharks almost despite themselves and in the second league meet, again, a GREATLY improved 

Norco team battled hard before falling. Yes, King was winning on the scoreboard but things weren't right. The inexperience showed both on the track and the field; our lack of depth kept biting us; their behavior was, many times, not of Class, Character and Courage and the King athletes, for the first time in a long time, weren't just fighting the opposition but themselves. this inner struggle was about confidence; understanding how to compete and understanding what it REALLY meant to wear the uniform. In many cases, they just didn't know. Coach Corona kept preaching patience. "Stay the course," he said to his assistants, "it will get better. I can't tell you when, but it will get better."

Then came the Roosevelt meet-the annual showdown for the Big VIII Championship. In the 10 years of the Big VIII's existence only two teams have won league championships-King and Roosevelt and their dual meets were often epic battles. It wasn't close. Despite 56 PR's or season records both varsity units lost by over 40 points. It was disappointing in a number of ways but it was from this disappointment that this team made its move.

The Wolves would win the Sweepstakes Trophy at the King S/F Classic and Reyte Rash and Sarah Ann Frank would show well at Arcadia in the early beginnings of a great run to the end of the season for both of them. Sheredyn Pfiefer would win the S/F championship in the Long Jump at the Inland Empire Championships AND she, Kayla Sheldon, Juliane Malolos and Jade Roberts were the S/F champs in the 4 X 100. The Raincross Tradition produced numerous City Champs like Nick Beam in the 100; Kela Mavhera in the mile and 3200; Tresure Rucker in the Triple jump; the boys 4 X 4 and the girls 4 x 4; and Kim Garza in the discus. Along with these performances and a number of others; confidence was beginning t grow and Coach Corona made lthe observation that "It's encouraging that the kids are beginning to get their best marks this late in the season."

The Wolves won thier final two dual meets of the season over Corona and Centennial and had great momentum going into League finals. It was another great League Finals evening for the Wolves. Reyte Rash began his sprint into the post-season with a 2nd in the 110 Hurdles and a League Championship in the 300's. Sarah Ann Frank finished second in both of her hurdle races. Treyjon Anderson was a double winner in the long and triple jump. Sheredyn Pfiefer was league champ in the long jump by a quarter inch. Kela Mavhera won the 3200 and ran her best 1600 ever at 5:10. Both girls relays qualified for CIF and the boys 4 X 100 of Kai Sana, Rash, Isac Meza and Nick Beam, finally got the stick around like they knew they could and won the wolves third straight leage title in that event. Beam also got second in the 100 with a PR run of 10.89 (3rd all time)and Garratt Vasta made it in the 1600. From League Finals 23 kids would qualify onto to CIF prelims. "It's been a long season," said Corona, "but tonight we showed how much we have grown up."

CIF Prelims is always a buzzsaw--only the top nine performances can move on in every event and in the end despite some awfully good preformances, only two King athletes moved on. Reyte Rash made it in both the hurdle races-posting the best time fof the day in the 300's and Sarah Ann Frank made it back to finals in the 100 hurdles, just missing in the 300 hurdles. The girls 4 X 4 (Frank-Ashley Chrusuz; Kayla Sheldon; and Brooklyn black) which in mid-season had a 4:07 as thier best mark ran- 3:59 and finished 10th in the Division. Trey Anderson was also 10th in the triple jump.

At CIF Finals, Sarah Ann finished 6th in her race and won All-CIF Honors but then came Reyte. Out of the blue, he moved from 9th in the 110"s to a third place finish dropping his PR a full second. In the 300's he overcame a bad start and then went into high gear down the straightaway. He took over the race with about 40 meters to go to hang on and become a CIF champion!!

Coach Corona said, " No one saw that coming--I mean NOBODY!"   Reyte was King's third straight CIF Champion following Lauren Puerifoy in 2017 and Tyler Janes in 2016.

The next week, at the Master's Meet, the qualifying meet for State, Reyte suprised again by qualifying in both races AND winning the Master's Championship -the first King athlete t ever do that!!!! He re-set his record in the 300 hurdles and learned another PR in the 110 hurdles. Finally, competing at the State Meet at Buchanan High in Clovis, Reyte put the finishing touches on his great run. On Friday night qualifying he would go 14.59 in the 110 Hurdles, finishing 10th overall and out the finals in that event. However, he came back wit the best time of the night in the 300 Hurdles and set himself up for State Finals the next night. On Saturday, June 2, Reyte ran ANOTHER PR and school record and finished second in the state of California!!!! It was an incredible finish to a year that did not start out overly promising.

Reyte's rise and growth mirrored that of his team mates. by the end of the season this youthful and experienced group was no longer big eyed; intimidated or non-aggressive in their approach. They understood what it takes; the way to behave and they believed in each other and themselves.

With a little more help depth wise, they have situated themselves well for 2019

Monday, July 31
There can be no arguing that 2016 was one of the finest overall seasons King Track and Field ewer experienced.

Sometimes the expectations left over from such a season can lead to a sense of entitlement or it can lead to an overwhelming fear of measuring up. The challenge in 2017, for both the coaching staff and the team's athletes, was to understand that this year's edition of King track would have its own identity; it's own growth schedule and its own sense of purpose. There was no entitlement nor was anyone was simply a display of Class-Character and Courage-2017 style.

Faced with lack of depth in some events and an infusion of youth and inexperience at the varsity level, the Wolves opened the season against the always powerful Vista Murietta Broncos in a non-scoring meet. The entire team made this road trip to VM territory in 5 buses and their competitiveness did not disappoint. The unofficial score would have signaled losses on all four levels for the Wolves, but it was a highly contested event in which the base for the remainder of the season was set. The Wolves would also travel to Coach Corona's alma mater, Alta Loma High School, for a dual meet win and we made our annual trip down to Rancho Bernardo. At Rancho Bernardo. Lauren Peurifoy ran away with the Invite title in the 3200 against some of the best distance girls in San Diego County setting a new school record in the process. Our hurdle crew gave us a glimpse of what was to come in 2017 as Dillon Lay; Josh Fisher; Reyte Rash, Sarah Ann Frank and Larissa Cesena dominated the barrier action. "You guys ALWAYS have hurdlers" said Don Jones, the RB head coach

After a Big VIII opening wins against Norco and Santiago, the team enjoyed great successes at the APU Meet of Champions; the Chino Relays (where we won the Girls Division and the Sweepstakes Trophy) and the King Soph/Frosh Classic (the Wolves won both the boys and girls divisions and the Sweepstakes Trophy). Spring Break brought the annual trip to the biggest high school invite in the Country-the Arcadia Invitational. For the first time ever, both our boys and girls relays qualified and both showed well against a stacked field as did the other relay teams Dillon Lay would win his heat of the 300 Hurdles in a 3rd all-time King effort at 38.7. However, Lauren Peurifoy stole the evening for the Wolves with a record shattering 10"23.14 effort in the 3200 which placed her 9th against some of the best girls in the country.

Returning to school the following week and the annual showdown for the league championship between the Roosevelt Mustangs and the Wolves was on the agenda. In what has become the annual-tough and sometimes bitter battle, The Wolves lost on both the boys and girls varsity but not without a fight. In a rare situation, the Wolves set 89 PR's during the course of that meet, yet still came up on the losing end of things. The disappointment of those losses were quickly put aside as King responded over the weekend with some great performances. At the City Championships, King crowned 8 City Champions including Kela Malherva in the 800 and 1600; Alec Jones in the Shot Put throwing partner Elizabeth Curtis did the same as Alec; Gabby Sanabria in the triple Jump; Josiah Moscanlon and Lanie Bavier in the Pole Vault. The girls 4 x 100 team also walked away with a city championship. Over at the Mount SAC Relays, Phil Griggs finally broke the school record in the 400 and Dillon Lay picked up two medals with his team's win in the shuttle hurdles and an individual placing n the 110 Highs. The girls shuttle hurdles team of Sarah Al-Khalili; Jasmine Jimenz-Larisa Cesena and Sarah Ann Frank set a new school record i the event and the DMR team of Breanna Fatten; Amanda Sosa; Kathryn Hammar and Lauren Pueriofy set in a new school record in that event.

The Wolves won their final two dual meets, sandwiched around some solid performances at the Inland Empire Championships and then it was into the Big VIII Finals. Once again, the Wolves made eague Finals night "thier night " with a flurry of effort and courage rarely seen in this event. From the opening gun, when the boys 4 x 100 Relay, anchored by Jaylen Moore won the league championship in an upset, the Wolves showed they had come to compete. Individual championships would be won by Puerifoy in the 3200 and the 1600; Phil Griggs in the 400 and the 200, Moore in the 100 and Dillon Lay in the 300 Hurdles. Lay's win came against one of the top hurdlers in the state by by two one-thousands of a second!!! The boys 4 X 400 team of Jeremy Young; Blake Gelinas; Lay and Griggs set a new school record in that event in finishing second. Gabby Sanabria and Treasure Rucker in the triple jump; Rick Gore in the Long Jump; Alec Jones in both throws; Josiah Moloscan and Andrew Wilde in the pole vault; Kathryn Hammer in the 800 and 1600, Rebekah Pendleton in the 3200; Kela Malherva in the 1600; Sarah Ann Frank in both hurdles , Josh Fisher and Larissa Cesena were among those who qualified for CIF that evening. One parent said that the night was soul-filling and that it was!!!! In all, some 24 student athletes qualified for CIF competition.

Out of those 24 student-athletes 9 would make it out of CIF prelims into the finals. For the thrid straight year, the boys 4 X 100 team (Kyle Sana-Nick Beam-Phil Griggs-Jaylen Moore) got into CIF finals and in 2017, they placed 6th. Alec Jones was a fifth place finisher at CIF Finals in the Discus-the first discus medal ever won at that level by a King athlete. Dillon Lay would finish 7th in his 110 Hurdle race as would Phil Griggs in the 400 but he dipped below the 49 second mark and broke his own school record. The boys 4 X 400 team set another school record-the third week in a row for such antics-to place 7th in the division. The boys would end up placing 13th in the division. Puerifoy would win the CIF D-1 championship by some 50 meters, becoming the first girls CIF champ since 2002. Lauren then moved onto the Master's Meet where she qualified for the State Championships. Lauren would go on to be the 8th place finisher in the 3200 final .

Team MVP's went to Sarah Ann Frank. Dillon Lay and Phil Griggs. Both teams would be ranked in the Riverside County Top Ten at the end of the season. We would lose 29 4 year seniors at the end of the season-the most the program has ever produced.

Tuesday, July 19

When Coach Corona met in February with the members of the 2016 King Track and Field, he let the team know that this year’s theme would be “Take the Next Step.” This was in tribute to the great season they had in 2015 but it also sent the message that they couldn’t be satisfied; that there was still a lot more to accomplish in 2016. It was a team with immense potential and great depth but all that was on paper and paper stats never amount to much. Corona had confided to his coaching staff that “We have the chance to be awfully good ... maybe great.” However, despite victories in the first few weeks of the season, it didn’t appear that “the next step” was being taken. Some injuries, some fragmentation, key members of the team seemingly worrying about themselves, and team victories coming so easily all concerned the coaching staff. However, beginning with the Rancho Bernardo Invite--“The Next Step” began to take shape.

At Rancho Bernardo, the Wolves enjoyed such success, including winning three of the first four events, that the meet announcer said jokingly that “MLK wasn’t being a very good guest.”

Two weeks later, another step forward was taken when the King distance group did their annual PR high flying act at the Meet of Champions but it was Tyler Janes who set the tone for the rest of the season as he recorded a 4:04.33 1600, making him one of the top performers at the time In THE NATION.

A couple of weeks after that, at the Arcadia Invitational, the distance medley relay team of Daniel Gonzlaez, Mohsin Sabrin, AJ Boebinger and Janes not only set a school record and won the invitational heat of the event but they ran the fourth fastest time IN THE NATION at that time. With an undefeated dual meet season up to that point and the invitational successes, this team was gaining momentum.

The boys and girls teams dominated in both King Soph/Frosh and the Riverside City Championships

What may have cemented this team’s success, though, was not anything that took place on the track. It was a picnic really-a team get-together called for; put together by the team captains over spring break. It was three hours (unattended by the coaching staff-save Coach Vasel) of eating, playing games and socializing together. It brought the team closer and more willing than ever before to "take the next step”

Then came the annual showdown for the Big VIII championship with Roosevelt. It was a typical Roosevelt/King dual meet-close and tension filled. The stage for the day early was set when the boys 4 X 100 relay of Saadiq Jennings, Jaylen Moore, Korey Parsons and Jon Essien upset the Mustangs, setting a new school record. Gaining confidence from that win, the girls battled valiantly but ultimately lost 69-67 in an extremely close contest but the King boys won 70-66, dealing Roosevelt their first ever league dual meet loss EVER. It was a true TEAM win (and for the girls-a team loss) in which points came from every corner of the track and field-from every event. Despite the fact that Roosevelt got 11 first places on the boys side and their girls got 12, the King kids swept away the majority of seconds and thirds to stay close and ultimately push themselves over the top. It was a victory that put the boys in the driver's seat for their first Big VIII championship which they clinched a week later against Corona. The girls would finish second in the Big VIII with that two point loss the only blemish on their record.

King was in charge of hosting the Big VIII Finals and the goal from the beginning was to put on a show both on and off the track. That’s exactly what the King track team did and they filled the stadium with incredible performances. The Wolves were dominant. On the girls side, Tia Parrish qualified for in the 100 and the 200: Danielle Abboud and Maryjane Smith qualified in the 400: Four girls stepped to the podium in the 1600-Allison Janes, Lauren Puerifoy and Rebekah Pendleton all qualifying ; Alyssa Haring qualified for CIF for the second year a row. Both girls relays made it as did Sarah Ann Frank in both hurdles and Larissa Cesena in the 300 hurdles. Courtney Kolsinski was league champ for the second year in a row in the shot put; Elizabeth Curtis surprised with a PR to finish second n the shot. Sissy Underwood qualified in the triple jump and long jump; Gabby Sanabria was second in the triple jump while Shaylyn Johnson was a qualifier in the high jump. The boys were just as successful-Jon Essien was the winner fo the 100, Moshin Sabrin, won the 400 with a third best all time time; AJ Boebinger was league champ in the 800 and runner up in the 1600; Tyler Janes was league champ in the 1600 and the 3200; Ryan Laudermilk won the high jump and Dante Anderson won the triple jump. The boys 4 x 100 of Jenning; Moore; Parsons and Essien won the gold as well. Other CIF Qualifiers included Daniel Gonzalez in the 3200, the mile relay team; Dylan Lay in both hurdles and Alec Jones in both throws. In all, the Wolves qualified in 27 of the 32 events that would be contested at CIF Prelims. It was a show of depth never seen at King before.

Moving on from CIF Prelims is always difficult but the Wolves sent the most ever athletes in King History to CIF finals. The boys 4 x 100 team; Tyler Janes in both the 1600 and 3200; Sissy Underwood in the long jump; Courtney Kolsinski in the shot; AJ Boebinger lin the 1600; Ryan Laudermilk in the HJ and Dante Anderson in the triple all made it through to Finals. Courtney would finish third in CIF D-1 girls shot and earn a trip to the Masters Meet. The 4 x 100 relay won third place in D-1 while Laudermilk nabbed second place. Janes finished 3rd in the 1600 and Anderson finished in 5th place in the triple jump. Then in the race that was an afterthought to the 1600, Janes won the CIF D-1 title with a first place in the 3200 with a time of 9:01!!! The Wolves would go on to finish fourth in the entire division-the strongest boys CIF finish EVER in King Track history!

Some seven Wolves “took the next step” to the Master’s Meet with qualifying spots for the State Meet at stake and they did not

 disappoint. The boys 4 x 100 relay continued its late season surge with an incredible run of 41.54, eclipsing the school record by a full half second and finishing in second place…..from the 9th lane.!! Tyler Janes would make his second state meet in both the 1600 and the 3200 and Laudermilk qualified in the high jump. Only Courtney Kolsinski’s run to state came to an end with an 8th place finish. Finally, then in the final weekend of the season at the California State championships, the Wolves once again proved their meddle as the 4 X 100 team of Jennings, Moore, Parsons and Essien finished sixth in the entire state with a time of 41.65; Ryan Laudermilk finished 10th and Janes did what no Kling athlete has ever done-medaled in two events at the State Championships. Tyler nabbed a third in the 1600 (4:05) and a fifth in the 3200 (8:57). Tyler’s effort was one of the top 1600/3200 doubles in the last 40 years at the state championships. Only three competitors in history have ever done that double faster since they started running meters in 1980. As a team, the Wolves placed 13th in the entire state of California.

The incredible post-season run put a true punctuation mark on perhaps the best season King Track and Field has ever experienced. A four team combined record of 35-1: the dominance at the King Classic; the City Championships and the Big VIII Championships; the balance and competitive greatness displayed at the Roosevelt meet; a couple of NATIONAL marks; numerous records being broken and the number of qualifiers at every level of CIF was the most we had ever had. All those things point to the athletes in the King program “taking the next step.”

Hopefully, that next step will not be the final step as we move toward 2017. We will need to take another.


Wednesday, July 8

Since the beginning of the King Track and Field program some 16 years ago, the goal has been to get better; to improve and become a program known not just on the local stage but at the CIF and State arena as well. Every few years, we have met a crossroads season. Will the program continue to move forward or will it hit the wall...will it stagnant? We ultimately met these challenges when we moved into the Sunkist League in 2001 and once again when we went into the Ivy League in 2005 and

we have climbed the obstacles of the very competitive Big VIII since 2009. Despite those successes, the 2015 season loomed large in the programs's continual attempt to climb upward. The combination of depth and talent on both the boys and girls side looked to be the best it had been in awhile and the future seemed to promise big things. However, doing big things on paper and doing them in real time are two different things. Coach Corona laid out the goals for the season -which as usual were to compete for the league championship and send more kids to CIF prelims/finals/Master’s and State than we ever had. "We have a chance to be awfully good," he told his team. "The question is--are we willing to do what we have to in order to attain that goal?"  Therein lay the challenge in front of the 2015 squad .

Once again both the boys and girls JV teams won the Big VIII Conference championships with undefeated seasons both going 9-0. Both varsity teams were 8-1 with their only losses coming to Roosevelt High (again!). The girls, despite the key losses from a year ago, used their depth and experience to dominate all their other opponents, averaging some 95 points per dual meet. They finished second at the Paloma Valley Relays with no distance squad; they won the mythical City Championship; the S/F girls once again won the King Classic and finished second at the Inland Empire Championships. The girls led by seniors Leighana Weaver, Hannah Chang, Khaysa Cunningham, Emily Sanchez, Lexie Opoku and Jackae Yarbrough seemed on it every meet especially with the help of talented newcomers, Sydney Ried, Ashley Chruscz, Sarah Ann Frank, Courtney Klosinski and veterans Tia Parrish and Sissy Underwood. The boys led by team MVP Nick Abboud, as the girls dominated thier opponents as well, averaging almost 100 points per meet. The boys varsity also finished second at the Paloma Valley Relays behind eventual CIF and State Champions Vista Murrieta.They also won the mythical City Championship and the S/F boys were second at the Inland Empire Championships and the King Classic. They also garnered a third place finish at the Hemet Southland Invitational. For a period of time, the fastest shuttle hurdle team in the country were the King Wolves. That team, made up of Abboud, Ryan Moussad, Dillion Lay and Josh Fisher finished first at the Arcadia Invite and the Paloma Valley Relays. For a period of time, our distance medley team of Jacob Norys, AJ Boebinger; Tyler Janes and Carlos Ramierez were 9th in the country! Besides Abboud, the team was lead by seniors like Norys; Rolando Phalen; Marcos Zavaleta; Delynn Holland. The emergence of guys like Jon Essien and Ryan Laudermilk were key to our success as well. In the end, King has 9 league champions-the team qualified 38 students for CIF prelims-close to our most ever-17 kids to CIF finals-the most ever, 4 kids to the Master's Meet - our most ever, and pole vaulter Hannah Chang and 1600 ace Tyler Janes qualifed for State, our most ever. Along the way we broke 9 school records and put up some 25 Top five performances.

There were three meets that truly defined the season for the Wolves. The first coming in our pre-league meet with cross town rival Riverside Poly. It was to be the first real test of the dual meet season and though the two teams hadn't seen each other 

on the track since 2012, it figured to be intense and it figured to be close. In the girls 1600, Emily Sanchez appeared to be headed for a third place finish behind two very talented Poly gals. No one could have blamed her really as those two girls have decisively better marks. However, slowly she made her way up to second place and then in a final frenzied charge, Emily ended up dropping her PR some ten seconds and won at the tape! Seeing her win a race she wasn't supposed to inspired her team mates and , after that it was an avalanche of King points that met the Bears. In the end, the girls won 100 to 36 and the boys won 118-18. It was after this meet, the team knew how good they could be.

The second meet which was defining was the Roosevelt meet held at King. In the end the girls lost by some 30 points to the eventual third place team in CIF and the boys lost on the final event of the day (the mile relay) despite running the second fastest time in school history . it was a day that despite the odds and despite the many superior marks of the Mustangs going into the meet, saw the Wolves compete in the highest fashion possible. Race after race and event after event, King dug in and battled. These Wolves never stopped coming and certainly did not back away. If there was ever a day when they left it all on the track…this was the day! Jon Essien won the 100 in a major upset; Moshin Sabrin and Jacob Norys got key points in the 400, Rolando Phelan stole 3rd place in the 800 while AJ Boebinger was able to win it. Marcos Zavaleta won the PV and Montel Johnson PRed in the shot giving King a key third place...and who will ever forget, Daniel Gonzalez's final 300 kick giving the Wolves a vital second place finish behind Tyler Janes? The Roosevelt coaches would acknowledge to others later, "We ran into a buzzsaw at King." Coach Corona would say to his team after it was over, "I have never felt so good about losing." It had truly been a day of Class, Character and Courage.

And finally, at League Finals, the Wolves delivered a message to the present and for the future with a ferocity of competiveness that has been rarely seen. In the 64 Varsity and JV races/field events preformed during league finals, the Wolves placed/medaled at least one person –sometimes more- in 54 of those events!! The parade was led by the King pole vaulters Marcos Zavaleta (1st) and Daniel Mukasa(3rd) as well as Hannah Chang-1st-Alexys Boonkukoa-2nd and Madison McPeak-3rd. In other words of the 6 CIF berths available in that event King got 5!!! In the boys 110 Hurdles 4 of the top 5 spots went to King kids! Four of the top 6 in Girls shot put were King athletes!! Three of the top 5 in the boys 1600 were Wolves……..and on and on. Varsity League Champions included Jon Essien in the 100; Ryan Laudermilk in the HJ, Nick Abboud in the 110 Hurdles; Chang in the HJ as well as the PV; Sydney Ried in the 200; Jackae Yarbrough in the Discus and Courtney Klosinski in the Shot Put. As mentioned before, 38 kids went onto CIF from League Finals and, in addition, 15 King kids came away with a JV league championships. From a simple statement, “We have a chance to be awfully good” to a sense of pride and exuberance in having made it happen.

This team answered the challenge and was awfully good!!!! The 2016 edition will have a lot to live up to when they toe the mark next year.

Monday, June 16
The 2014 King Track and Field season opened with the theme of UNFINISHED BUSINESS. The 2013 season, though very successful, had left a poor taste to the mouth. It had been a season of-so close but yet so far. A season of close misses and disappointments. the idea for 2014 was to finish where 2013 had left off-to close the deal. This team dedicated itself to that end and from the beginning-that's what the mindset was. It showed not just in the competitions but on the practice field. there was a different vibe than in years past-one in which the Wolves would not be denied from competing at their very best and in doing so exercised some fo the demons fo the past.

As far as team accomplishments went, it was another banner year.The Boys and Girls JV's won the league championship---again. For the boys JV it is now 5 in a row and 8 of the last 9 and for the girls JV-9 straight JV championships have adored their heads.

For the boys varsity-they finished tied for second in the Big VIII, losing to Corona by 4 and Roosevelt-which won its 6th straight title-by 27. A six point win over an improving Santiago team secured the second place finish. Coupled with a 2 point loss to Chaparral, the boys finished 6-3-only 6 points from 8-1. They won the Valley View Relays; the boys S/F finished second at the Beaumont Invite and the King Classic; finished 4th at the Inland Empire Championships. Anchored by the efforts of team MVP Jamal Orme and TJ Noland in the sprints, sophomores Tyler Janes and AJ Boebinger in the distances; Nick Abboud in the hurdles; newcomer Ryan Laudermilk in the high jump and Vince Anderson in the horizontal jumps, the boys would finish ranked 9th in Riverside County.

For the girls varsity, one couldn't ask for a much better season. They were the undefeated league champions with an overall record of 9-0. After three straight years of losing to Roosevelt on the final event, the "Queens of King" overcame both Corona and Roosevelt to secure their first league title since 2010. They would win the Valley View Relays and the Beaumont Invitational. They would win the King Classic by a single point and finish fourth on the varsity and second on the S/F at the Inland Empire Championships. Led by the breakout season of Courtne Davis; follow sprinter Tia Parrish, hurdler Leighana Weaver; long jumper sissy Underwood; distance ace Ruthie Wiggins, state pole vault qualifer Hannah Chang and the strong throws contingent led by Anissa Claiborne, the girls finished ranked 3rd in Riverside County-thier highest ranking ever.

Collectively, the team qualified 32 athletes to CIF, set 8 new school records, and landed 25 kids in the Top 5 all Time. We had six league champions and numerous City Meet champions. The girls 4 x 100 relay consisting of Jordon Lofton; Tia Parrish, Khaysa Cunningham and Courtne Davis finished 6th in CIF Division 1; Ruthie Wiggins became the 4th fastest sophomore ni the state and finished 5th in the Division; Leighana Weaver finished 6th in the 300 hurldes as well. Pole Vaulter Hannah Chang made a great run through the post season winning the Big VIII championship; finishing second in Div. 1 and losing the Master Meet championship in a jump-off-again finishing second. She made it to the State meet and finsihed 12th in the state of California. It is the 6th time in the last 7 years, King was represented at the State Championships. For the first time ever, all our particpants in CIF Finals earned medals.

So ... did we finish our business? In the minds of the coaching staff most decidedly so!!! However in doing that what the program has done has set the goals for 2015 even higher. An old coach once said that " In terms of winning and losing-once the outcome is decided, it's in the past. it's over. One can't get too high about their successes or too low about their failures. What matters is 'what are you going to do NOW!?" We finished our uncompleted business from 2013 but very soon we will have the challenges and ramped up goals of 2015. The "NOW" will be coming soon enough.

Monday, June 10
fleming masters 2013

Off the track, the 2012 season had shown that there needed to be some sort of redemption for the King High Track program.  There had had been numerous issues and incidents that season that had detracted from the team's overall success; it's tradition and it's culture. Changes had to be made and they were. No longer could athletes just come out: they had to go through a time trial. No longer was just "wearing the uniform" and showing up for the team photo tolerated. A shoring up the attendance policy was implemented . The coaching staff was more direct and more forceful in demanding the standard of excellence we were used to.

Despite all of that, however, the start of  the season, though appearing to be solid, was built on a base of quicksand. Oh, the Girls Varsity broke out to a 3-0 start and the Boys varsity to 2-1. but something was definitely missing; there was still something wrong. The lackidasical attitude fo a number of our athletes; the failure to understand the term "empty the tank", the effort it took Coach Corona to get the team on  and around the track AND pay attention for the 4 X 400's at the end of meets, pointed to a bigger problem. A lack of cohesiveness; a lack of family; a lack of pulling together. "Let the others do that", a number of our athletes seemed to say in their actions. "I'm too cool for that. Besides, somebody else will take care of it."

This attitude was evident when the Wolves varsity teams lost back to back close meets to thier major league rival, Roosevelt and Corona.  These were meets where indivivdual effort was there but the Spirit of the Wolf was not and for the first time in history both teams stood at 0-2 in league.  The night of the Corona defeat, the team filed into the weight room to witness Coach Corona's shattering of a clipboard and where they received a calling out for their overall attitude. The next day Corona told the team that "this was the lowest this program has ever been." He then told them that their belief in the 3 C's was being tested and the only way out of the hole we had dug for ourselves was to start climbing back step by step. It would not be an overnight process but a day to day proposition. On that day, this team started the journey back to who they were.

Things went well at the Azusa Pacific Meet of Champions for the distance kids while the rest of lthe team went to the Beaumont Invite and placed in the top 3 in all four divisions contested.  The girls won the King Soph/Frosh Classic while the boys finished 3rd which earned us the sweepstakes trophy. Arcadia was a roller coaster affair from Friday afternoon to Saturday evening but the Wolves acquitted themselves well overall.

The teams would go on to win the three remaining league meets sandwiched around some great performances in the Riverside City Championships and very high team finishes at the Inland Empire Championships.  Step by step, this team was making its way back. On the night of May 2, at the Big VIII Finals, the Wolves showed they had made it all the way. Led by league Champions, Blake Bergstrom in the 300 Hurdles, the boys 4x400 of Bergstrom, Travis Thomas, Ramialo Cosey and Nathan Torres; Raelyn Werley in the 3200; Tayler Fleming in the 300 hurdles; Kiarra Ginwright in the High Jump and Niarobi Watson in the triple jump, one could find King  competing for glory in almost every event. The boys and girls 4x100 teams both turned in steller performances;  Fleming and Nick Abboud qualified for CIF in the 100 hurdles; Ruthie Wiggins, the 9th grade phenom, nabbed a third in the 1600 and Perry Elerts got second in the same event. Travis Thomas earned second in the 400 and Hannah Blache got 3rd. Jamal Orme set a new school record in the 200 while Tia Parrish and Courtne Davis placed lin the 100; Torres and Bayleigh Porter made CIF in the 800 and Leighana Weaver joined Tayler in CIF in the 300 Hurdles. Joe Casco pulled a third in the 3200 and the girls 4x400 team of Fleming, Weaver, Blache and Davis finished second to get into CIF.  Anissa Claiborne became our second-best shot puter in school history with a heave of 37-0. Bergstrom pulled off the CIF quadruple by placing in both the long jump and the triple jump in addition to his running events. Kiazha Ginwright got third lin the triple jump. Add to this the many  JV medals and PR's  that came along that evening amidst the support and comradare that the team showed for each other, it was evident that this team had reclaimed who it was.

In all, 23 student-athletes went to CIF Prelims and there were a lot of close calls as to who went on and who didn't. Torres, Watson, Bergstrom and Fleming  made their way to CIF Finals. Despite a huge upset to even get to the finals, Nairobi Watson couldn't sustain the magic. Bergstrom finished 6th in the 300 Hurdles earning All-CIF honors. Tayler Fleming rebounded slightly from a poor showing at Prelims to place 5th in Division 1 in both hurdles and move onto Master's. Nathan Torres was CIF Runner-up in the 800 and set a new school record in 1:52.6 and also qualified for the Master's.  At the Master's Torres failed to move on but Tayler set two new school records in the 100 and 300 Hurdles getting to the State meet for the second year in a row. Tayler then capped off a brilliant high school career with a sixth place finish in the 300 Hurdles at State Finals.

Despite those personal victories the 2013 season will be remembered for one very huge lesson and that is "it ain't over until it's over."   This was a team that was near death and resuscitated itself with a renewed vigor and renewed dedication.  However, despite the great team finish, this season has left a feeling of unfinished business. It'll be up to the 2014 team to take care of that.

Saturday, June 30
cif prelims fleming2012
When the King High Track coaching staff sized up the 2012 season expectations, there was a general acknowledgment that it could be a rough season. As in every season, there were a number of holes to fill left by the Class of 2011-especially on the boys side-and as the staff surveyed the roster of returners, it was evident that immaturity and inexperience would be major obstacles to overcome.

It was exactly that-a rough year- off the track. Every day there seemed to be a crisis either major or minor. Every week something came up that would disrupt the continuity and flow of the season. Things like pettiness; lack of commitment; injuries; a lack of depth and ineligibility reared their ugly head over and over again. However, somehow, all of that was overcome and a successful season-ON the track- was attained.

Not since 2007 had the boys team dealt with such adversity and youth. At various times, the King varsity was made up partly of 8 sophomores and 3 freshmen. One step forward was often met by two steps backward. However, the team would finish 3rd in the ever tough Big 8 League with a 5-2 record and finish 6-2 overall. They would eke out wins over Chaparral; North and Poly. Roosevelt High and Corona would administer the Wolves only losses of the year. Roosevelt would win their fourth straight league championship and finish 3rd in Division 1 at CIF Finals. Josh Jeter stepped out , in this his senior year, to a school record in the 300 hurdles,would win the league in both hurdle races; finish 3rd in the CIF D-1 300's and be named team MVP.  Nathan Torres ran to a great junior season going to CIF finals with a 1:55 in the 800. The Boys 4 X 400 team set a new school record finishing 7th in the CIF D-1 with a 3:21.8. Others like Travis Thomas, Brandon Berz, Jesse Cazares, Anthony Calvillo, Will Foody and Blake Bergstrom contributed mightily to the cause as the Wolves finished with a flurry.

For the first time ever, the Girls team finished lower than second place. A 5-2 league record (6-2 overall) carried them to a third place finish. However, thier two losses were of a very close nature losing to Corona 69-67 and to Roosevelt 73-63. Roosevelt's girls would win the league for a second straight year and finish 2nd in CIF Division 1. The girls team was led by a three headed monster in Cydnie Jones, Noelle Abboud and Tayler Fleming. With depth being a problem, it fell to these three team MVP's to provide the leadership and the competitiveness for the girls team to succeed. Together they would set school records in both relays while individually Cydnie set records in the 100 and 200; Noelle, after missing her jjunior year with a severe foot injury, set the 400 record and Tayler set records in the 100 and 300 hurdles-including a new Inland Empire Meet record in the 300s. They were supported by the likes of Asia Johnson in the jumps; Megan Melton in the pole vault (new school record of 11-4); Marissa Levine and Tiara Edwards in the throws;Baleigh Porter in the 800 and newcomers Hannah Blache (400 and 4 X 4) and Leighanna Weaver, (hurdles) the girls finished second in the Inland Empire Championships. Tayler became a State Meet Qaulifer as she moved through the CIF rounds and ultimately she would finish 10th in the state, just missing a spot in the elite final 9 for finals.She was the first female to make state since Orlisha Henlon in 2003. 

So on the track, things went well but as stated before the off
 the track challenges were almost crippling in our endeavors to get better and be more competitive in the ever improving and super competitive Big 8. What next year's edition of King Track and Field is going to do about those obstacles and issues remains to be seen but one thing is sure. King Track is at a crossroads in terms of attitude and commitment and things are due for change. Stay tuned.

Friday, June 10

TEAM. It is a small four letter word that carries huge impact. It's dictionary definition is "any group organized to work together". It is a word not usually reserved for Track and Field. Track is often seen as an individual sport where many believe, teamwork and cooperation isn't necessary for success. However, TEAM aptly describes the 2011 edition of King Track and Field. This was a group of athletes who came together meet after meet. They sacrificed for each other, worked for each other, covered for each other and picked each other up along the way. If you look at the final numbers our overall program finished at 30-2, surpassed only by the 2009 team that ended 31-1. The truth is that this 2011 team was not as talented as the 2009 group. They HAD to be a TEAM if they were going to be successful . This group answered that call.

On the boys side, there were a lot of holes to fill and in reality, we didn't quite filll all of them in. Lane Werley led the way as he had in 2010, as he finished 4th in the state of California in the 3200. Lane would set four school records during the course of the season and set a new Riverside County Record in the 3200 eclipsing a 33 year old record. Lane's ability and probably more important, his leadership led our boys to heights we had little faith we could reach at the beginning of the season. Other seniors like Mat Vasal in the sprints; Jonny Barnes in the pole vault; Amed Abdul Rahman and Brandon Alcantar in the throws; Keston Roach in the hurdles; Chris Miller and Nick Rini in the distances stepped out from the shadows and performed at a high level every week. They were supported by underclassmen like Jake Porter; Will Foody; Jesse Cazares; Nate Torres; Brandon Berz and frosh sensation Blake Bergstrom. Porter and Vasal, especially were asked to go above and beyond, sometimes moving from their strength events in an attempt to shore up other events. New varsity performers were a norm every week as the coaching staff tried to improve the teams ability and its depth. But in the end their success rested on their grit, their courage and their willingness to do what it took for them to be successful as a group.

It was these attributes that created a close victory over Corona despite being swept by the Panthers in the 100; 200 and the 4x100 relay. It was these attributes that kept the meet close against the eventual league champion and 4th place team in CIF-Division 1, the Roosevelt Mustangs.

The girls were no less gritty or determined. Certainly they were favorites going into the season as the Lady Wolves had won the previous two Big VIII Championships but the usual depth and experience were missing. The coaching staff knew that against the right team, they could be in trouble. The seniors did thier thing as predicted; Hannah Petersen was a master's meet qualifier in the 3200 and. like Lane,  set four school records along the way. Carrie Soholt moved with relaltive ease through each distance race and Jessica Weise became the best thrower in King History. Kelli Boyd bounced back from illness early in the season to make it to CIF Finals for the second straight year. Abby Creel and Kayla Cunningham led the way in the 400. These seniors were supported by underclassmen like Tayler Fleming in the hurdles; Megan Melton in the pole vault; Cydnie Jones in the sprints and Asia Johnson in the jumps Despite that, every week, the question was; Do we have enough?  Except for a 69-67 loss to Roosevelt; it was. Roosevelt went on to win the league championship and finish 2nd in CIF-D-1.a classic piece of King teamwork was against Corona when Creel went down with an injury. Kayla Cunningham , normally our number 2 400 runner, stepped up for a big second place and her all time PR  to keep us in the meet which eventually we won. After the Roosevelt loss, both Hannah and Rachael Webb stood up and addressed the team-"I don't care if we lost." they said almost in unison,  "You guys remember that we're King High!!"

As far as accomplishments goes, there were many. We broke 20 school records and recorded 35 top five times. We sent 21 athletes to CIF and one of those, Lane Werley, made it to the State Meet. Four of those 21 advanced to CIF Finals and Werley, Hannah Peterson and Keston Roach medaled and earned All-CIF honors.

Our JV teams won undefeated league titles and our two varsity teams finished second. Both varsity teams finished ranked fourth in Riverside County and the Boys were ranked 10th in CIF Division 1 for a great part of the season. The girls finished second at the King Soph/Frosh Meet and the boys finished third. Our girls won the inaugural  Corona-Norco Soph Frosh Showdown. Our boys and girls finished second at the Chino Relays.

However, this group of King Wolves will not be remembered for those accomplishments or those  numbers. They will be remembered as the group that collectively got the most out of what they had. Without question, they were a "group that worked together" for the common good. They were a TEAM.

Thursday, June 24
werley lane state track finals 2010

It could easily be termed "The Longest Season." For a number of the members of the 2010 King Track and Field season, we began well before the official date of Feb. 15th.It did not end until the one Wolf left standing -- Lane Werley -- crossed the line in 6th place on June 15th at the New Balance National Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina. 

It was a season where the coaches often faced frustration, obstacles and outside criticism. It was a season where the team was displaced for the second time in four years; a season where the different events worked out separately; when some got home at 4:30 and others at 6:30 or 7; a season where home meets were almost non-existent and a season where late bus rides were a constant even to the few home meets we had at Citrus Hill High School.  Injuries piled up. A total of 40 athletes would end up on the injury list. Some, like Justin  Decoud, the '09 team MVP were knocked out for the whole season.There were numerous long days and every day seemed to bring new challenges in terms of where to practice, how to practice and how to keep things together. One day assistant baseball coach Alvin Davis -- a one time major league All-Star -- said to Coach Corona as he watched the track team work out on the soccer field at King,  "Coach, I'm no track expert but it looks like to me that you guys are making a whole lot of lemonade."

Despite the lemons tossed their way, the King Track and Field Program made good on Coach Davis's observation and enjoyed another great season highlighted by gritty performances, state and national recognition and a continued improvement in the tough Big VIII Conference. The big news of the year would seem to center on the Lane Werley story. From a  pulled muscle that kept him out of action the first 4 weeks of the season, Lane's final six weeks were a blur of accomplishment. Focusing on the 3200 he earned  a league championship, a second place in the CIF-Division 1, a fourth place finish in the Master's Meet, a 9th place in the state of California and a 6th place in the 5000 at the National Championships. He was the only non-senior in that top six at Nationals and made high school All-American.

But Lane's story was not the only one that highlighted the season.  The girls 4xMile relay of Rebecca Asplund, Kelsi Tippetts, Carrie Soholt and Hannah Petersen were ranked 8th in the COUNTRY for a time. The boys shuttle hurdle team were the first King Arcadia champions and finished the season rated first in the state of California. Josh Jeter, Khyber White, Ryan Reeves and Keston Roach raced to a 1:01.43. Kelli Boyd bounced back from injury as well and finished the season as a Master's Meet competitor and two CIF sixth place finishes in the HJ and TJ. Hanna Petersen also finished sixth in the CIF D-1 3200 in a record breaking the school record in the event and going 10:55. King had a total of 9 league champions (Boyd and Jessica Wiese had two each). 20 athletes qualified for CIF competition.  Amber Sanford became our team MVP for the forth year in a row.The team broke a total of 11 individual school records and had 36 top 5 performances. All this with no track as the District embarked on a stadium renovation before the season commenced.

The Girls team finished with it's second straight Big VIII championship and were ranked 4th in Riverside County. The boys finished third with an overall record of 5-3 and were ranked 10th. Despite some holes in their depth and a lop-sided loss to Corona, the boys went toe-to-toe with league champion Roosevelt in the final meet of the year, a meet nobody gave them a chance to even compete in. The Chino  Relays were another success as was the King Soph/Frosh meet where the male Wolves won by one point and the girls finished a close second. All this with no track.

Once again, King track hosted the King Classic with great success and this year, after a 23 year absence, brought back the Riverside City Championships....again with no home track.We graduated 19 4 year seniors who contributed mightily to what we accomplished  over the years. And of course, it was a season where Carrie Soholt showed us all what athletics is really about. (See her story in 2010 results-City Championships)

The accomplishments of the 2010 season can be chalked up to a game group of athletes who decided not to let "the lemons" get to them. This team decided to focus on what could be done instead of what couldn't be done.If nothing else, the legacy of the 2010 team will be  that of perseverance. The 2011 season promises to be not so challenging as our new track and field facility will be completed by late July of 2010. A lot of the obstacles we faced this year will disappear. However, what the 2011 edition of King Track will not be forgetting any time soon is how to squeeze those lemons. Given the competition they will face in the ever improving Big VIII and the tradition they are responisble for; that's the way it should be.

Tuesday, December 15
abboud noelle LF 2009

The first ten years of King High has gone fast, especially for the Track and Field program. Was it really ten years ago when that fledgling program got off the ground? There was no stadium and there were orange trees all around the athletic facility. There was certainly little or no experience as the team was made up of freshmen and sophomores. We were in the Arrowhead league which was made up of a combination of small private and public schools. We entered the 2000 season not sure of the challenges in front of us or what the future held.

Things can sure change in ten years!  Houses now stand in place of the orange trees. A stadium has risen where people once sat on blankets and lawn chairs to watch football games and track meets. With the Class of 2009, we will have had 8 graduating classes and 94 student athletes who have been four year members. We have gone from the Arrowhead league to the Sunkist league to the Ivy League to the biggest challenge to date, the Big VIII. The King Track team has come a long way in terms of growth, maturity and facing the challenges placed in its way over the past ten years. All of that showed in 2009.

Despite the obstacles of running 6 out of 8 meets at home; despite the uneven schedule for practice because of Wednesday meets, despite how tough the early part of the dual meet schedule was and despite the jump to a bigger, tougher league, the Wolves never lost their focus or their drive. The girls’ varsity would sweep the table with an overall record of 8-0 and win the Big VIII at 7-0. the Boys varsity stubbed their toe only once, losing to Roosevelt in the very first league dual of the season and then finishing with 6 straight wins-7-1 overall. Roosevelt would go on to win its first championship of any kind at the young school. Both JV teams for King would finish 8-0 and win their respective championships. Overall-a 33-1 record. Almost perfect.

Besides the win/loss records and league championships, there were numerous other accomplishments in this tenth season. There was the domination of the Chino Relays with the boys finishing second-the girls claiming first and King claiming the Sweepstakes Trophy. This was done without the distance group that was tearing up the track at the Meet of Champions that same day. There were a total of 12 school records broken and numerous top fives that made their way into the record books. At the Rancho Bernardo Invite, King was the lone Southern Section entrant and by the end of the meet, the spectators were asking "Where's King?" At our own Soph-Frosh Classic, the teams put the push on Vista Murrieta, the current IE powerhouse and the girls pulled out a victory by half a point!! The boys were less than 20 points behind the Mustangs. This may have been the deepest team we have ever had and the Big VIII Finals showed that as the girls scored in EVERY event. If scores were kept at League Finals, the Wolves outdistanced the second place team, North, by 93 points. In the same scenario, the boys’ varsity would have avenged their early season loss to Roosevelt, 104-95. A look at the state lists revealed a number of King individuals and relays that were ranked in the top of California High school performances. There is little doubt that after ten years, King Track and Field has arrived as one of the top programs in the Inland Empire.  Almost perfect.

The youngsters that got this started back in 2000 could not have known any of this when they embarked on that season's journey. They can take great pride in where the program has gone. The Wolves who have come since can feel a great deal of pride as well, because they accepted the responsibility of that legacy and ran with it, building it every year, overcoming the obstacles seizing the opportunities presented them and culminating it all in 2009.  Almost perfect. Ten years has gone fast. It will be fun to see where we are in another ten.

Thursday, July 17

In looking back over the 2008 season the casual observer would say that it was the best season ever for King Track and Field. They, of course, would be correct in that assessment, especially in light of the list of accomplishments the team amassed.  

-All four teams won the Ivy League Championship for their respective division -
The four teams were a combined 33-3

-Our girls finally defeated North in a gut-wrenching 69-67 upset-paving the way to their first ever Ivy League Championship and ending North’s 12 year run of undefeated League Championships
-Our girls won the Chet Nicholson Relays and our boys finished fifth.
-Our Girls won the Inland Empire Championships beating out 43 other schools
-We qualified 100 kids to league finals-30 kids to CIF Prelims-2 kids to CIF finals and one student athlete made it all the  way to the Master’s meet and to the State meet
-We had four relay teams ranked in the top 20 in the state. 2 of those teams were in the top eight in California and ran  the second and fourth fastest times in Riverside County History.
-Our boys S/F team finished second at the Hemet West Valley Invite
-Manny Santiago became the first male King athlete to qualify for the state track meet. He finished 14th in the state. -We set a slew of new records and top five marks
-The King Classic has become one of the premier Invites in the CIF-Southern Section  

Contributing to all of this was a group, a rather huge group, of talented King athletes, coaches and boosters whose individual talents and gifts were invaluable in putting the parts into the whole. What is kind of funny is that NONE of these accomplishments were planned nor expected. Yes, it was our best season ever but the reason for it goes beyond the surface of what the casual observer would have seen.  

2008 will be the season where King High Track and Field “grew up.” It was a season where, after years of pushing and prodding by the coaching staff, our kids took at least the first step to the next level. We have always been competitive. We have always been successful. We have always represented ourselves well. However, we weren’t always convinced we belonged at that next level. Our performance at the 2007 CIF prelims was evidence of that. What a debacle it was, as we seemed to cave into the idea that we weren’t good enough to be there or wanted to pay the price it took to get there!! Our performance in the 2008 Arcadia 4X 800 was also evidence of that. Our four girls basically withered under the pressure of Arcadia. The difference from 2007, however, was that very next week, those same girls came back in the Inland Empire Championships and 3 of them placed in the top 6—all in PR times. The difference in 2008 was Manny Santiago’s magical run to the State meet. Here was a guy who no one thought was state material (including his coaches) and for four weeks performed clutch jump after clutch jump, never giving in to the pressure-never believing that he did not belong. The difference in 2008 was watching Sara Strasbaugh charging the final 100 meters at North to pass her opponent and give us a vital third place that, along with some other clutch performances, gave us that slim margin of victory over North. It was Joe Gilleland, with a leg that a lot of people wouldn’t even walk on let alone run on, begging Coach Corona to let him run and then turning in the best split on a mile relay that lost. Ariel Casco couldn’t even make the standard to get on our bus trips at the beginning of the season and she ended up the league champion in the JV 300 hurdles. It used to be our only goal was to be the best at King. Now, a large number of our kids set goals based on competing with the best our league, the Inland Empire, the CIF and even the state have to offer.  

This new attitude is still in its infancy but it has come to our program at the right time as we leave the Ivy League in 2009 and join the newly formed Big VIII conference. North, Poly, and ourselves will join Corona, Norco, Santiago, Roosevelt and Centennial High Schools in a league that promises to be extremely competitive. It will take everything we have to maintain the tradition and the strength of our program against those schools.  It will be a challenge every day.   Normally, we recount the accomplishments of individuals in our summary every year  and certainly the individual accomplishments of Kelsi Tippetts, Carrie Soholt, Tiffany West, Amber Sanford, Chantel Hicks, Katie Coggins, Vivian Ibewrio, Dexter Jackson, Charlie Alvarez, Chris Belfield, Trent Parrish, Brandon Walker, Marques Lea, and Mike Albrecht are among the many stories that could be told in this too small a space. However, their successes are not the major stories of this year. The bigger story isn’t so much what they did but HOW they and their teammates did it and how our program grew because of it. That will be the legacy of 2008. How we maintain that legacy will be up to the Wolf teams to come.

Monday, June 4
sibley poly 07
CHALLENGE. If any word could be used to wrap up the 2007 King High School Track and Field season, it would be CHALLENGE---at almost every turn. One of the initial challenges was our lack of maturity That lack and the eventual aquisition of this sometmes taken for granted quality created a lot of work for our coaching staff. We spent almost the entire season in pursuit of changing it. Besides wrestling with this issue, we had to do it on a foriegn home track, spending all our meets and a great deal of practices at Citrus Hill High, some two miles down the road. RUSD had displaced our team of almost 200 athletes so as to work on the field and the track, bringing what they had said would be a field turf field and an all weather track. In Feburary, the school board would vote both of these items down, but we were still displaced as the district went to work renovating the field with new sod, a new irrigation system and new drainage. This team, because of being split apart for workouts, etc. had a hard time finding themselves and each other, unlike teams in the past. It seemed like every week, almost every day, we were met with something that we had not planned on.

However, we met those challenges head on and as the season progressed, we got better. In some ways the 2007 season ended on a somewhat bitter note at CIF, because we did not complete the journey we had set out on in February. However, looking at the bigger picture, our program literally grew up, battling the odds in a tough situation not of our own creation. In doing that, this team did what Coach Corona has asked every team he has coached at King....that is, to leave an example for following King track athletes to follow.

The boys varsity finished 4-6 and on the face of it, that's not too good. In fact, this EXTREMELY young varisty team, lost six in a row and only one of those was close. By the end of the season some 15 sophs and 1 freshman, would compete at the varsity level. One of our best returning athletes, Brian Deslonde, was hurt n the very first meet. Coach Corona and his staff were constantly trying to plug holes ... trying to find a team that would not just compete but also not use their youth as an excuse. The break through came against North High, the defending league champions as the Wolves won 71-65. Led by Matt Cummins, Danny Stark, Ryan Sibley, Marcell Smith, Colin Munro,and Team MVP Sam Jeter, they proceded to win their final three in a row and for the third straight year, the boys varsity finished in second place in the Ivy League. Toughened by their early season losses and by their ability to rebound, the boys look to be in good shape for 2008. Sibley and Jeter were league champions and 15 boys qualifed for CIF.

The girls varsity continued it's annual winning ways. Led by MVP's junior Vivian Ibewiro and frosh standouts Amber Sanford and Kelsi Tippets, the girls went out with a 7-3 record. Two of those losses came to pre-league rivals Los Osos and Chino Hills and the other loss came to North (only league loss for King in the last three years), who eventually won the Div. 2 CIF championship. Despite that loss, the girls team hung with North most of the way before finally succumbing. The girls too, were very young with only four seniors(Anna Duffy, Kaitlin Traver, Brenda Hanrahan and Monika Valenzuela) who consistently scored. Junior Carissa Bowman and frosh Kelsi Tippetts dominated the distances; Tiffany West came to the forefront as a soph in the 400; Chantel Hicks and  Loto Franklin anchored the throws. Newcomers like Rachel Schulte, Casey Candaleria and Carla Villalobos gave the team a real boost. The girls lost some key personel early and as the season went on, but they overcame all of that for their second palce finish.

Overall accomplishments on the season included 5 school records, 17 Top 5 performances(Fellow Freshmen Amber Sanford made 5 lists and Kelsi Tippets made all three distance lists), 32 CIF qualifiers, 4 individual league champs, 3rd place in the Chet Nicholson Relays for the girls and a fifth place finish for the boys , a girls championship at the King Frosh Soph Classic and a third for the boys at the same meet; the girls finshed 6th at the inland Empire Championships; and both teams finished ranked 10th in Riverside County.

All in all-a good season by most standards. Good-yes-satisfying no. In the aftermath of a dissappointting CIF prelims, the coaching staff has started to work on improving, changing and some some cases overhauling the program. There will be changes and there will be new challenges but the goal of getting to the next level is what the King Track and Field Program will be shooting for in 2008. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 17
jeter lf 06
Going into the 2006 season the King Track and Field program was presented with a different challenge ... a challenge it had never faced before. In the years past, the Wolves had been faced with the challenge of keeping their competitive edge in the Sunkist League; faced with the challenge of entering the Ivy League as a new school and a new target for the opposition and faced with the challenge of maintaining the great tradition that had opened the school. The word “rebuild” had never entered into the picture…until 2006. With only ten letter-winners returning to the girls team, it appeared that an awful youthful and inexperienced team would take the field. On the boys side, though there were some quality performers returning, the depth that we had enjoyed over the years was not there. Thre was only 26 seniors total and only 13 of them had seen four years in the program and only 13 of that 28 had seen significant varsity action. It was a season that opened with a certain amount of trepidation from the coaching staff as to how good the Wolves might be.

Our opener against Chaparral did not ease those feelings very much. Dropped batons-missed races- a general feeling of “what is going on?” was shared by the athletes and the coaching staff. Somehow we stumbled and bumbled our way through to victory in the boys and girls varsity and two very close losses at the JV level. It was nice to win but there was a lot of work to be done. The next week in a tri-angular meet against Hemet and Santiago-the Wolves showed what they were capable of. As the King Track team flew all over the place, piling up points and quality performances-this team grew up. The victories against these two quality programs showed what we could do and we followed through for the rest of the year. Though there would be a tough spot for both teams just after spring break in which we were hit by ineligibility, spring fever, general fatigue and people just up and quitting the team, we were able to battle through it.

The girls team led by seniors Caryl Sjogren, Brittany Thurman, Brittany Haynes, Krystal Solonoma, Stephanie Karas and Diedra Russell would finish the season with a 9-1 record (4-1 in league) which including a tough come from behind 1.5 point victory over Chino Hills. They would finish second at the Chet Nicholson Relays, fourth at the Inland Empire Championships and our girls soph/frosh would win the King Classic in dominating fashion. Our boys team would also finish second at the Chet Nicholson Relays, sixth in the Inland Empire Championships and our soph/frosh boys would win the King Classic and finish third at the IE’s. Outstanding senior leadership came from Jon Ashley, Jeremy Baugus, Pavel Minenkov, Matt Malcuit, Robert Malone, Rashad Bias and Nate Bradshaw. We saw a total of seven school records broken: 36 top five marks, four league champions, 27 kids to CIF and 2 athletes, Minenkov and Malone to CIF Finals. Quite an ending to an uncertain beginning.

Youngsters who stepped up and contributed mightily to the cause were sophomores like Amber Mooney, Brittany Rue, Lacy Russell , Vivan Ibewiro, Carissa Bowman and Larissa Davis on the girls side and outstanding freshmen included Juli Lambert, Tiffany West and Allie Finch. Brian Deslonde, Chris Belfield, Marques Lea, Ryan Sibley and Colin Munro will be leaders coming back on the guys' side.

There can be no telling what the challenges for 2007 will be but inexperience will not be one of them. The girls varisty will return 20 letter-winners and the boys will return 16!!

Tuesday, April 11
stark caroline record vault 05
The 2005 season marked a new era in King Track and Field. The Wolves made the step up in class and competition as they joined the Ivy League for the first time. It was a move that had been anticipated by the coaching staff for the previous two seasons and one in which they had prepared thier athletes for with withering workouts and a tough non-league schedule. The work of 2003 and 2004 paid off as the Wolves had a most successful inaugural season in the Ivy. The Class of 2005-the standard-bearers -for this transitiion led the way with great performances and great leadership.

The Wolves faced an upgraded non-league schedule with dual meets against Temecula Chaparral, Corona Santiago and a trianguliar meet vs.Los Osos High and Chino Hills High School. The boys emerged out of this competition 2-2 whiile the girls came out 4-0, including a desperate comeback against Chino Hills in the last few events to win it. The Ivy league proved to be every bit as tough as advertised but the Wolves-relying on "Class-Character-Courage" were more than up to the challenge.The boys would finish 4-1 in league with a close victory over Riverside Poly. Unfortuantely, the boys were pummelled by eventual champion La Sierra-100 to 36 for thier only league loss. The girls varsity also finished second with a 4-1 record with thier only loss to perennial power North High -75-61. It was one of the closest dual meets the North Girls have had in a long time. The girls would finish with an overall record of 8-1. Both La Sierra and North would be CIF Division Runners-up at CIF Finals.

In additon to thier solid league finishes, there were other acolades as well. The girls would win the Chet Nicholson Relays and finsih third at the Inland Empire Championships. The boys would finish second at Chet NIcholson and our boys team would finish third at our ingraugral King Soph/Frosh Classic Invitational. At the end of the season, our girls team would be ranked third in all of Riverside County and our boys would be ranked 10th. King medaled numerous athletes at League finals. The performances were outstnding and many a deserving athlete had to stay home from CIF because of the competitivness of the league. For example, Ian Peebles ran the 400 of his life with a 50.7 and finished fourth. He would have won the Mountain View League with that performance.We sent 22 student-athletes to CIF and three of our girls made it to CIF Finals. Caroline Stark in the pole vault-Kristina Moore in the mile and Zenobia Bracy in the hurdles. Zenobia would finish sixth in her race and make the school's Track Hall of Fame.

All of this could not have been possible without the Class of 2005. Their leadership and competitivness helped drive the team all season. They were examples of hard work and truly bought into the concept of Wolfpack Pride. They brought this to every workout-every meet-every meeting and it showed. Coach Corona asks the seniors every year-"How do you want to be remembered?" The Class of 2005 will be remembered beause they left a bit of themselves behind on the track every day. They were the ones that led us to a new level of competiton and expectations. This standard will be what future King teams will strive to live up to.

peebles brea 04
The 2004 King Track and Field season was billed as “Finishing up in order to Move up.” That is, we wanted to finish our final season in the Sunkist League with the type of work ethic, dedication and focus that it was going to take for us to compete in the Ivy League in 2005. We didn’t want our past success to put us into a mode of “all we have to do is show up” and then have that carry over into Ivy League competition. Though there were a few letdowns during the course of the year, the King High Track athletes did exactly what the coaching staff hoped they would do---that is---COMPETE---no matter the strength of the opposition. One of our finest moments of the season is when we took on future Ivy League rival Canyon Springs. Our girls beat the Cougars for the second year in a row and our boys came within four points of an upset. Symbolic was the effort and guts of Adam Schwarz and Ivan Guevara in the Boys 3200 with the Canyon Springs meet hanging in the balance that day. We needed a second place at the very least to stay in the meet and they got us a 2-3 finish. Even though we eventually lost the meet, it was their effort, and the effort of all our athletes that night, that told us that we were on the right road.

That road led to a 7-1 season for our girl’s team and another undefeated league championship-the fifth in a row. Our boy’s varsity team won their third league championship in a row and were only 12 points from an undefeated season, losing only to Southwestern League champion, Chaparral and Ivy League champ-Canyon Springs in non-league contests. Both our boys and girls junior-varsity teams won league championships as well. We took our second overnight invitational to Silverado High School in Las Vegas; Nev. where our girls finished 2nd out of 16 schools and our boys finished a respectable sixth. That road also led to 17 individual league championships and almost 30 qualifiers to CIF as well as seven of those to CIF finals. At prelims, we established ourselves as a top pole vaulting school with two of our girls in the final 10. We set 14 school records, including a 3:22 in the Boys 1600 relay which put us 12th in the entire section and second in Division II. Megan Fairley ran her way into a 5th place in the Div. II 3200 earning a scholarship to compete at UC-Irvine in the process. We finished the season with approximately 130 student athletes after starting with 190-the most ever in both categories. The list of 2004 accomplishments could go on much further.

In the final analysis, we grew up a lot as a program. We took the steps to get ready for the challenges that await us in 2005. There is no question that there will be many. We came a long way in the development of the 3 C’s—CLASS-CHARACTER-COURAGE and those things will help carry us into the future—win or lose.

henlon sprinting 03
The program changed hands in 2003, as John Corona took on head coaching responsibilities. The program grew in numbers as well, with over 130 finishing the season.

In the yearly excercise of growth, the King Track and Field teams made strides forward in 2003, continuing undefeated ways in the Sunkist League, while adding a tougher pre-season and invitational lineup in preparation for arrival in the Ivy League in 2005. While both the boys and the girls were able to win the Sunkist League quite handily, the boys found the increased competition from the likes of Santiago-Corona and Canyon Springs a wakeup call of things to come.

The girls varsity team continued to amaze, extending their incredible string of wins over the first four seasons. The quality programs from Santiago and Canyon Springs found themselves on the losing end against the Lady Wolves, unable to match the depth and breadth of the King attack. Able to field standouts in almost every event, King's girls routinely ran up scores close to and over 100 points a meet. By season's end, the troupe had a number of CIF qualifiers, led by Orlisha Henlon who earned a CIF Championship in the high jump and finished in the medals in the 200 meters. She went on to qualify for the State Finals, finishing seventh overall with a leap of 5'6" in the high jump.

The boys were missing some key members of the '02 squad to graduation, but worked together and found some new talent in overcoming the Sunkist League opponents for the second year in a row. After losing hard-fought battles to Santiago and Canyon Springs, the boys came out charging in league and finished that segment of the season undefeated. Sharing the glory, each of the close wins (Ramona and Rubidoux primarily) were secured by the strength of different event groups, the distances shining against Ramona, while the sprints dominated Rubidoux. Jonah Katende, Ian Peebles, Brian Brierly, and Daniel Beld were among the highest scoring athletes on the boys team.

Orlisha Henlon and Ian Peebles were chosen the teams' Most Valuable Athletes.

The track and field program at King High turned somewhat of a corner in the third year of existence, as the boys teams surged in quality and achievement to keep pace with the girls. The Lady Wolves, who haven't lost a dual meet in league since the program started in 2000 (and have only lost one dual meet total) were matched by the boys in 2002 with an undefeated record in the Sunkist League. Where once the boys were handled easily by the likes of Norte Vista and Rubidoux, this season saw the Wolves dominating each of the contests they entered.

The boys were led by tremendous improvements in three events: The throws, sprints and distances. The tandem of Warren Ray and Chris Barnes simply took charge in the discus and shot respectively, with Barnes upping his own school record in the shot several times. Michael Myers and Lamont Jones improved dramatically in the sprints, with Jones adding a 400 meter record to his existing duece and century marks. In the distances, Brian Brierly shattered the 3200 mark and Daniel Beld continued his dominance of the 800. For the first time in three years, the boys earned the right to hang a league title banner in the gym.

The girls continued the incredible streak of wins they've carried since the inaugural season. Including the three pre-season meets, the girls added 8 more victories to the record, not including a victory in the competitive Covina Invitational. The sprint corp carried the team, with masterful, season-long performances turned in by Gayle Hunter, Markisha Lea, Olisha Henlon and Kellye Lazarus. Gayle qualified for the State Championships, finishing second in the long jump, while Markisha and the 4x400 team of Kellye and Daphney Lazarus, Orlisha Henlon and Markisha Lea finished fourth in CIF Finals. Orlisha Henlon also medaled at the Finals in the high jump and was the alternate going into the CIF Masters meet. Krystle Ruiz improved dramatically in the pole vault, earning an "alternate's" position into CIF Finals.

At the end of the season, Head Coach Peters resigned to take on assistant coaching duties, and John Corona stepped up from his assistant role to take the reigns of the program.

The Track and Field team changed dramatically in its second season. Of the 65 athletes that made up the teams in 2000, many of them left for other endeavors, but regardless, the current group numbered 120 athletes throughout the season. The coaching staff also changed, with the addition of several new coaches; John Corona, Edwin Jones, Ken Mushinskie, Ron Ybarra and Kathy Griesinger. Sean Roll continued his tenure from the inaugural season. The team also entered the more competitive Sunkist League and moved up to Division Three in CIF. The challenges that come with change were evident.

But overcoming challenges is what track is all about. The teams started the season with a split decision with Ontario HS, the girls losing by five points and the boys winning by a large margin.

Once the league competition began, the boys had their hands full. Norte Vista and Rubidoux both handed the Wolves losses in their first two meets. Impressively, however, the early set backs didn't cause the guys to falter, instead, they came back to win the last three meets, including an emotional win over Kaiser, who had handled King in the inaugural season.

After the intitial loss to Ontario, the girls just simply rolled through the season. Using athletes whereever and whenever called upon, the team put together five very convincing wins, and went into the League Championship meet the unquestioned dominant team in the league. At the Finals, the girls amassed 10 individual event titles, with Gayle Hunter winning three, and Markisha Lea winning two.

King was well represented in CIF, though did not have its best day at the Prelims. Despite being off, the team qualified four athletes for the Finals; Gayle Hunter, Markisha Lea, Orlisha Henlon and Marvin Lea. In the Division 3 Finals, Markisha Lea ran All-CIF in the 400, and Marvin Lea was also All-CIF in the high jump, finishing third at 6'6".

Gayle Hunter and Shamari LaCour were chosen as the teams' most valuable athletes.

It was the best of times and the worst of times. Charles Dickens' immortal words could well describe the first season of King Track and Field. More than 60 athletes showed up for the first week of practice and for the most part those numbers held strong throughout the season. What didn't show up that first week was more than half of our needed equipement, including all of the pads and hurdles.

Despite that challenge, the teams entered into a varsity schedule against the Arrowhead League, and as the meets began to unfold, it was obvious that the Wolves had some talent, despite our youth and inexperience.

The boys finished the season in third, behind Kaiser and LaVern Lutheran, while the girls captured the league title in an exciting battle to the very end against Kaiser.

King was also represented well at CIF, with over 15 athletes qualifing for the prelims in Division Four, and four athletes qualifying for Finals. Those were Ashley Hearle in the shot put, Melissa Huntley in the pole vault, Katie Chouinard in the high jump and Markisha Lea in the 400. Melissa finished second to become King's first All-CIF athlete.

King Track & Field
King Track & Field

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"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog." - Archie Griffen, two-time , 5'9" Heisman winner