BY ZACH EWING Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
The high school track and field season is still young, but several local high school track and field athletes have already made the state take notice.
Ridgeview senior Ivan Gonzalez ran a 1:52.02 in the 800-meter race at the Mount Carmel Invitational in San Diego on Saturday. That time briefly ranked first in the nation this year until Corona-Santiago's Brett Moulton ran a 1:51.78 to push Gonzalez to No. 2 later Saturday night at the adidas Distance Meet of Champions in Azusa.
Gonzalez and Moulton will run against each other for the first time this season at the Arcadia Invitational on April 6.
Also in Azusa on Saturday, Stockdale junior Blake Haney took over the state lead in the 1,600 meters, winning the race in 4:12.36. Haney, who finished third in the 1,600 at the state championships a year ago, ranks No. 4 nationally in the event in this young season.
Two horizontal jumpers from Bakersfield High also joined the ranks of the state's elite at the California Relays in Norwalk: Scotty Newton, a junior who jumped 49 feet in the triple jump at last year's Central Section championships, hit 47-11 in the TJ, good for second in the state this season. Bryce Huggins, a sophomore, is fourth in the state in the long jump after a 23-1 at the same meet.
Earlier this month, Liberty sophomore Morganne Hill ran a 43.43 in the 300-meter hurdles, good for third in the state. Stockdale senior Kiare Tanner ranks fourth in the girls triple jump at 36-11.
All of these local standouts could be featured in the annual Patriot Games meet at Liberty, which allows only the top 16 locals in each event to compete. This year's Patriot Games are April 19.
USA Basketball has selected Garces freshman C.J. West to try out for its U16 national girls team, May 23-27 in Colorado Springs.
Thirty high school players around the country were selected for tryouts; 12 will be selected for the U16 team, which will compete in the FIBA Americas U16 Championship in hopes of qualifying for the FIBA U17 World Championship next year.
West, a 6-foot-2 freshman, averaged 16.2 points and 15.9 rebounds per game for the Rams, who finished 27-4 and reached the Central Section Division II championship game.
Frontier's softball team, ranked No. 8 nationally in MaxPreps' Xcellent 25, lost its first game of the season in this week's Fresno Easter Classic, 4-3 to Clovis.
The Titans, who had won their first three games of the tournament and the first 16 of the season, trailed the Cougars 4-1 before rallying for two runs in the sixth inning. But they fell short in the game and so were eliminated from the tournament before the semifinals. They still lead the Southwest Yosemite League at 3-0.
Former Liberty football player Jason Diffee has committed to play for Central Washington, a Division II program, as an offensive lineman and long snapper.
Diffee started on Liberty's offensive line in 2010 and 2011 and attended College of the Sequoias last season.