Whitney girl soars to school’s first CIF state track and field championship to lead locals

The goal for Sacramento-area athletes was to reach the medal stand Saturday night in the 103rd CIF State Track & Field Championships in Clovis.

The highest step belonged to a local champion from Placer County who went out on top at Whitney High School.

Competing in ideal conditions at Veteran’s Memorial Stadium, Ashanti Elie won the girls high jump with a 5-foot, 10-inch effort. The senior capped a stellar prep career for the powerhouse Wildcats program in becoming the first athlete in school history to win a state track gold medal and the third girl in regional history to win the high jump.

Karen Lysaght of St. Francis won the CIF state high jump with a 6-foot effort in 1980 and Tanya Smith of Cordova cleared 5-11 to win in 1991.

A week after an inspired double win at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Meet, Keilee Hall of Christian Brothers placed third in girls 300 hurdles in 41.90 seconds. That effort came some 30 minutes after Stephen Dahdouh of Pleasant Grove took third in the 110 hurdles in 14.21 a week after he won the Masters race.

Hall capped her prep career by running anchor leg in a gutsy seventh-place finish in the 4x400 relay in 3 minutes, 52.87 seconds in a field that included some of the fastest runners in the country.

Around the section

Joseph Lighthall of small-school Hughson High won the 800 in 1:52.06. The BYU-bound senior held off a charge from a loaded field and fell at the finish line after getting clipped. He is the section’s first CIF state winner since James Levine of Golden Valley-Merced, who clocked a 1:50.68 in 1997.

The other CIF state 800 or 880 winners from the section are Earl Lockhart of Sacramento High in 1923 and Jerry Lopez of Placer in 1936.

Masters champion Katie Kopec, headed to Oregon State, was sixth in the 3200 in 10:20.64, a race run by national leader Rylee Blade of Santiago of Corona in 10:02.19. Anna McNatt of McClatchy placed 14th.

Juliana Roberson of Whitney was seventh in the triple jump at 37-8¼. Grace Sloan of Rocklin was ninth at 37-5½ and Agunanne Chidiebere of Modesto 10th at 36-9¼.

Brandon Moreno of Jesuit was seventh in the 1600 in 4:10.39.

Whitney was seventh in the 4x800 relay in 9:17.46 and St. Francis was 14th at 9:30.52.

Zenallah Hatcher-Simmons of Del Campo was eighth in the girls shot put at 40-3.

Abigail Wagner of Pleasant Grove was ninth in the pole vault at 11-11.

Jesuit was ninth in the 4x400 relay in 7:56.23, a hair ahead of Davis at 7:56.24.

Tyler Lange of Oak Ridge was 11th in the shot at 50-7½.

Laguna Creek placed seventh in the final race of the season, the boys 4x400, in 3:19.34.