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Last hurrah for state qualifiers Thiara, Hunter
TF--CIF State ADV file pic
Sierra Highs Bikram Thiara competes in the 300-meter hurdles during the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III finals at Bella Vista High. - photo by DAVE CAMPBELL/The Bulletin

School is out, but recent graduates Bikram Thiara and Isaias Hunter haven’t ended their prep careers just yet.

They’re the final two athletes still standing for a second straight year, and they’ll compete in the 99th annual CIF State Track & Field Championships on Friday at Buchanan High’s Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Thiara, who will leave as Sierra’s all-time best hurdler, looks to improve on his surprising sixth-place finish from a year ago. He clocked a career-best 37.82-second time in the 300-meter hurdles but is going into his second state appearance with an even faster mark.

In last week’s Sac-Joaquin Section Masters finals, Thiara bested Kimball star Deion Lightfoot and blazed to a 37.27-second finish — good for a new school record and the sixth-seeded time in the event. 

Thiara is assigned lane 6 in the third of four heats. The 300 hurdles preliminaries are scheduled to start at 8:23 p.m. The four heat winners and the next five fastest competitors advance to Saturday’s final.

Upland’s Joseph Anderson is the favorite to win both hurdle events. He has the top-seeded time in the 300 at 36.58 but has previously clocked a 36.36, ranking him 12th all-time in the state.  

Like Thiara, Hunter is taking aim at another Day 2 berth. Last year, he became the first Lathrop High athlete to qualify for state after a runner-up finish in the SJS Masters high jump. He placed second again last week, clearing 6 feet, 7 inches. His personal record is 6-8.

SJS champion Jake Grimsman of Vista del Lago leaped 6-9 and owns the top-seeded mark, but the favorite in this event is Trabuco Hills junior Sean Lee. Lee’s PR stands at 7-00.25 and he’s coming off bronze- and silver-medal finishes in his previous state appearances. Alemany’s Earnest Sears is the only other competitor to have eclipsed 7 feet this year.

The high jump begins at 3 p.m. Friday, and the top 12 move onto the finals.