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Local state qualifiers head into CIF meet in top form
Dario Rodriguez takes off after receiving baton from Manteca 4x400 teammate Isaiah Arechiga during the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters finals last Saturday at Davis Senior High. - photo by Dave Campbell

 The sports calendar for the 2023-24 school year concludes with the 104th California Interscholastic Federation State Track & Field Championships, which start today with the qualifying rounds at Veteran’s Memorial Stadium in Clovis.

The top athletes from the preliminaries advance to Saturday’s finals.

Manteca and Ripon high schools will be represented by athletes who are peaking heading into the state meet.

Juniors Jayden Scarver and Starla Skiles are each competing in two events.

Scarver and the rest of the Manteca boys 4x400 will get to run alongside some of the fastest sprinters in the Golden State. He ran a personal best 48.79 seconds in the 400-meter dash last Saturday, May 18 in the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters finals, placing third.

A converted hurdler, Scarver has hit sub-50 times in five straight meets after clocking a 56.66 in his first varsity 400 race back in February. He’s in the same heat as Long Beach Poly standout Xai Ricks, who has signed with Georgia.

Joining Scarver in the mile relay are seniors Isaiah Arechiga and Dario Rodriguez and junior anchor leg Julian Moncada. They’ll also run with Ricks and the Long Beach Poly quartet that includes two state-qualifying freshmen in the 100 and 200.

Manteca’s foursome recorded its fastest time of the season — 3 minutes, 20.95 seconds — in the SJS Masters trials and earned the top-seeded time for the finals. The Buffaloes ended up qualifying for state with a third-place finish at 3:23.62

Also in Manteca’s 4x400 heat are St. Mary’s and Folsom, the two teams that topped the Buffs in the SJS final.

Skiles is coming off PR performances in the hurdles.

Ripon’s Starla Skiles on her way to winning the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V 300 hurdles title at Riverbank High.

The Ripon junior is an at-large qualifier in the 100 hurdles after placing fourth in 14.46 in the SJS finals. She also took third in the 300 hurdles in 44.98. The girls 300 hurdles field includes Morgan Herbst of Carlsbad, who is ranked ninth nationally.

The three heat winners and next six fastest times in the sprints, relays and hurdles move onto the finals.

Ripon sophomore Clara Schoolland is the lone state qualifier in field events.

She is the SJS runner-up in the high jump, tying her own school record at 5 feet, 4 inches. The starting height for the state prelims is 5-2, and the top 12 qualify for the finals. Top-ranked Meagan Humphries of Castaic — one of just five competitors to hit 5-8 this season — dropped the high jump to focus on other events.

Lathrop senior Adonis Siga is the only area athlete to repeat as a state qualifier, but he will not make a return appearance in Clovis so that he can attend his graduation.

He made it last year in the 300 hurdles and turned in the 13th best time in the preliminaries. This year, he earned a spot in the 110 hurdles with an at-large berth.

Siga goes out as a three-time SJS Division IV champion in both hurdle events, and he helped the Spartans capture their first Section team title two weeks ago.