Fans of local high school track and field athletes know the big names — San Luis Obispo High School’s Callum Bolger and Paso Robles’ Trad Berti come to mind.
Bolger and Berti make headlines and are two of the top 1,600-meter runners in the CIF-Southern Section coming into Saturday’s Division Prelims. But there are plenty of other athletes from around SLO County looking to make a name for themselves and navigate all the way to the CIF State Meet in Clovis on June 2. Here’s who to keep your eye on over the next few weeks:
Arroyo Grande, Division 1
Talley Hill, 800m
The senior University of Kansas commit enters the Division 1 Prelims at Trabuco Hills High School in Mission Viejo as the No. 4 seed coming off a first-place finish at the PAC 8 Finals with a season-best time of 2:14.63 — more than four seconds faster than her previous best.
Hill said her improvement this spring can be traced to a change in her race strategy that started at the PAC 8 Finals last Thursday.
“I went out the first 200 a little more conservative, and I have been going out too fast,” she said. “And I think it has been tiring me out so I was like, ‘oh I need to change something.”
Vincent Ketelaar, high jump
The higher the stakes, the better Ketelaar jumps.
“I love the crowd, and I love when people are watching and the adrenaline gets going,” Ketelaar said.
The junior’s personal best in practice is in the “low 6s,” but his personal record of 6 feet, 6 inches was set in the first meet of the season. Later, he cleared 6 feet, 4 inches to win the PAC 8 Championship and the SLO County Meet.
“Right now, the goal is to make the CIF Finals and hopefully just make as much noise as possible and go as far as I can,” Ketelaar said.
Other Top Eagles
A large group of runners will also compete in distance and relay events for Arroyo Grande, including senior Ban Taylor and junior Malia Simon. Sophomore Justice Fair finished second in the high jump to Ketelaar at the PAC 8 Finals and will compete in the high jump, 110-meter and 300-meter hurdles on Saturday. Senior thrower Eddie Chagoya enters the prelims as the No. 2 seed in discus and shot put. Chagoya made it all the way to the CIF-SS Masters Meet last season.
Paso Robles, Division 2
Codie Wilshusen, pole vault
Wilshusen broke her own school record — set during a special moment last year — by clearing a personal-best 12 feet, 4 inches at the PAC 8 Finals last Thursday.
The senior enters the Division 2 Prelims at Moorpark High School as the No. 2 seed and the No. 4 overall seed with a good chance to make a deep run.
Madison Mitchell, hurdles and 4x100m relay
Mitchell has dominated the girls hurdles this season with first-place finishes in the County and PAC 8 meets. Her 15.39 in the 100-meter hurdles at the PAC 8 Finals landed her as the No. 10 seed on Saturday. The senior is also seeded No. 11 in the 300-meter hurdles. Mitchell is also a member of the No. 13-seeded 4x100 meter relay team.
Senior Annie Meeder enters Saturday’s race as the No. 3 seed in the 1,600 and No. 9 seed in the 3,200, while Berti is the top seed in the 1,600 and No. 10 seed in the 3,200. Senior Kiara Mabien enters as the No. 11 seed in the 400-meter race.
SLO High, Divison 3
Maddie Fletcher, 800m and 4x400m relay
Fletcher, a sophomore, won the 400-meter race at the PAC 8 Finals in a personal best 58.55, but she is dropping the event in favor of the 800-meter race on Saturday at Estancia High School in Costa Mesa at the Division 3 Prelims. Fletcher is the No. 9 seed after running a 2:20.22 to finish in second place in the PAC 8 Finals.
“I’m excited to have a fresh day to do the 800 instead of doing the 400 first,” Fletcher said.
Fletcher is also the anchor of the No. 5-seeded 4x400 team that includes Lily Svetich, Shaina Morris and Kylie Haidet. The team is coming off a winning performance at the PAC 8 Finals with a time of 4:01.12.
“We are trying to go sub-four,” Fletcher said.
Anneke Moersdorf, high jump, long jump and triple jump
Just a sophomore, Moersdorf enters prelims on Saturday as the top seed in the girls high jump after clearing 5 feet, 4 inches to win the PAC 8 Finals last week. Moersdorf also won the triple jump — in her third time ever competing — with a mark of 36-04.00. She earned a No. 5 seed with that performance.
Moersdorf will also be a No. 13 seed in the long jump. Morris, the PAC 8 champion, is the No. 3 seed.
Junior Caius Cowgill will run the 100, 200 and 4x100 meter races Saturday. His best event is the 200 meters, where he is seeded No. 4 after winning the PAC 8 Finals with a time of 22.24. Bolger is the top seed in the 1,600 and 3,200 events by 7.7 seconds and 12.5 seconds, respectively. Sophomore Samantha Simard enters as the No. 8 seed in the 1,600 after finishing third at the PAC 8 Finals.
Atascadero, Division 3
Brittney McKinley, 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay
Coming off wins at the PAC 8 Finals and the County Meet, McKinley enters the Prelims as the No. 8 seed in the 100, the No. 16 seed in the 200 and part of a relay team that’s the No. 14 seed.
Ellie Nisbet, 1600m
Nisbet finished second at the PAC 8 Finals with a personal best time of 5:04.52 and will be the No. 3 seed on Saturday.
A talented pair of throwers will represent Atascadero in Costa Mesa. Senior Sabrina VanBeek and freshman Kylee Degnan are seeded No. 9 and No. 10, respectively, in the discus. VanBeek is also the No. 6 seed in the shot put.
Morro Bay, Division 4
Joseph Ruddell and Jacob Furbee, high jump
A young pair of jumpers competing for the first time this season will try to advance from Saturday’s Division 4 Prelims at Carpinteria High School.
Freshman Joseph Ruddell enters as the No. 1 seed after winning the Los Padres League championship with a 6 foot 2 inch clearance. Sophomore teammate Jacob Furbee, who also cleared 6-2 at the LPL Finals, enters as the No. 3 seed.
Ruddell, who stands 6-foot-6, took a break from volleyball and basketball to give jumping a shot, and it’s worked out.
“There is a lot more thinking and planning on what you are going to do,” said Ruddell, who is just looking to place Saturday. “Learning the form has been the craziest. I am still pretty terrible at it.”
Audrey McClish, a sophomore, enters as the No. 10 seed in the 1,600 and the No. 9 seed in the 3,200. Senior Savannah Garcia is seeded No. 2 in the pole vault with a clearance of 11 feet.
Los Padres Champs
▪ Los Padres League champion Sienna Stinson, a senior, is the top seed in Division 4 after clearing 11’4” last week.
▪ Nipomo senior Matthew O’Henley is the No. 2 seed in discus and No. 1 seed in shot put for Division 4.
CIF-Southern Section Track and Field Prelims
All meets held Saturday.
Division 1: Trabuco Hills High School, Mission Viejo
Division 2: Moorpark High School
Division 3: Estancia High School, Costa Mesa
Division 4: Carpinteria High School