REGION — Multiple prep athletes from North County schools competed in and earned spots on the winners’ podium at the California Interscholastic Federation State Track & Field Championships.
Held May 24 and May 25 at Veterans Memorial Stadium at Buchanan High School in Clovis, California, those placing in the top six did so in events ranging from sprinting, jumping and long-distance running. And one of them, La Costa Canyon High School senior Kristin Fahy, came home with a state title in the Girls’ 3,200 meter run (just shy of two miles).
Fahy won the event in a time of 10:11, a personal best and a first state title, pulling away from the field with a half-mile to go and winning by six seconds over the second-place competitor. In an interview after the race, the Stanford University-bound Fahy said she achieved her goal of winning the title after taking fourth there last year and coming into this year’s rendition as the top-placing returner.
“Right from the start of the race I took the lead and tried to keep a hard, consistent pace,” she explained. “My strategy was to take it out fast in hopes of stringing out the field and not allowing it to be a close finish. Thankfully the race went according to plan and going into the final lap was when I realized I could actually win.”
Fahy said that nothing can top going out on top as a senior.
“It meant the world to me to be able to finish off my senior track season on such a high note and it’s an experience I know I’ll cherish forever,” Fahy said. “To me, this victory represents not only the years of work I’ve poured into the sport, but also the commitment and support of my coaches, teammates, and family all throughout high school.”
Fahy will close out her high school tenure at a national meet, the Brooks PR Invitational, in Seattle on June 15. She will then transition to training for her first collegiate cross country season at Stanford.
La Costa Canyon’s success in the 3,200, too, extended beyond Fahy’s efforts. In the Boys’ race, her teammate Caleb Niednagel also landed on the podium in fifth place with a time of 9:01. The junior’s time was also a personal best by eight seconds for Niednagel, who also qualified for the 1,600 (about one-mile), but dropped out of the race to ensure fresh legs going into the 3,200.
Niednagel said he was “very happy” about his race, meeting his goal to get on the podium and just barely missing out on his goal to break nine minutes. He said he has already been in talks for collegiate running at elite programs such as Stanford, Washington, Colorado and UCLA.
“I am very excited for next year to try to challenge the school records and improve my times as much as I can,” Niednagel said.
In a race that is in all ways the opposite of the 3,200, the 100-meter sprint, Orange Glen High School senior Moray Steward took fourth place in a time of 10.54 seconds. Steward, also a football wide receiver stand-out on the team which won a state championship in 2018, said his goal was to come in at least second place behind Kenan Christon. Christon, hailing from James Madison High School in San Diego and a recruit to play football at USC, now ranks as tied for the fastest 100-meter runner in state high school history after his 10.30 run in Clovis.
Though he did not hit his top-two goal, Steward said that the “experience was just wonderful and it felt so natural” at the state meet for him.
“I just love sprinting at big meets in front of many people and competing against some of the best sprinters in the state makes me more competitive and pushes me to run even faster,” he said, adding that he plans to run track in college. “I will miss running track at Orange Glen and all the hard work and fun times I had on that track.”
Steward also placed sixth, and again landed on the podium, in the 200-meter dash in a time of 21.49.
San Pasqual High School sophomore Elise Miller took third in the triple jump, launching herself a distance of 40-2.
“This was my first time at the state meet, and I was extremely excited to be able to compete with such talented athletes,” Miller said in an email of her experience in Clovis. “The whole experience was amazing, and I’m so grateful to have experienced it.”