The Indians senior won’t get to run in the California Interscholastic Federation State Championships because of the pandemic, but he now knows he would have stood a good chance at qualifying under normal circumstances.
West more than held his own last Saturday, May 8 in the Arcadia Invitational, a prestigious Southern California meet that attracts some of the top prep athletes in the nation. He ran the 400-meter dash and clocked a time of 49.71 seconds, good for fourth place in his heat, eighth overall and a school record.
“It was very exhilarating,” West said. “I was nervous leading up to it. It’s in (the Los Angeles area) and I’ve only ever ran against L.A. guys once before, so I knew it was legit. Just seeing everyone warm up I knew it was another level of athletes from what I normally see in the Central Valley. It was really cool and intense and something I’ll definitely remember forever.”
The new personal record ranks him No. 6 in the Sac-Joaquin Section and is the 24th best time in the state, according to Athletic.net.
The previous 400 school record belonged to Jose Munoz (50.43, 2015). West wants to improve the time before graduating and is also taking aim at the 100 (Eddie Martin, 11.24, 2009) and 200 (Kirk Anderson, 22.61, 2007) marks. He already ranks No. 2 all-time in both, with an 11.31 in the 100 and 22.72 in the 200.
An Eagle Scout with a basketball background, West began taking track more seriously his junior year after taking winning four events (200, 400, 4x100, 4x400) in the Timberwolf Invitational at Sierra’s rain-soaked Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium on March 7, 2020. That would be the final meet of the season, as the state soon began to shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“It was something I started doing for fun, but then it became something I could possibly do in college,” he said, adding that he has been in touch with multiple NCAA Division I and II programs in the state and that interest in him has picked up since the Arcadia meet.
West will have a few more shots at owning all of Ripon’s sprint records starting today with the Hughson Invitational. A tri-meet and the Valley Oak League Finals will round out his high school career.