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Mayfield shatters PR, qualifies for state final
Weston Ranch junior Angell Mayfield finished sixth overall in the 110-meter hurdles preliminary Friday to qualify for tonight’s state final. - photo by Bulletin file photo
CLOVIS – To fully understand just how difficult it is to qualify for the California Interscholastic Federation State Track and Field Championship Finals, consider this: When the CIF last released its participation survey two years ago, there were 735,503 California high school students participating in athletics.

To be called one of the nine best at anything in a state that boasts the world’s eighth largest economy is an unparalleled accomplishment.

Angell Mayfield, welcome to the next level.

Shattering his previous personal record in the 110-meter hurdles, the Weston Ranch junior turned in a 14.15-second finish Friday at Buchanan High in Clovis.

The time was the sixth fastest preliminary time turned in, just four hundredths of a second off Sac-Joaquin Section champion Kyler Martin’s mark.

By moving on to today’s state final, Mayfield is now guaranteed at least a top-nine finish.

“This is a dream come true,” Weston Ranch head coach Rick Cuevas said. “It’s unreal. It doesn’t get any better than this.

“This kid is just amazing.”

Perhaps the scariest aspect of Mayfield’s performance was the fact that it wasn’t his best.

Placed in the second and fastest heat, Mayfield got off to a slow start as he was outpaced out of the blocks by five hurdlers.

But as the saying goes, it’s not how you start.

“He turned it on over the last three hurdles, especially the last one,” Cuevas said. “He passed two guys after the last hurdle. All of the (Sac-Joaquin Section) coaches knew who he was. He had a whole section cheering for him.”

Mayfield finished fourth overall in his heat and didn’t realize right away that he had qualified for the finals.

“In the next heat, the best was a 14.2,” Mayfield said. “I was like, ‘Oh yes, I got it.’

“I was ecstatic.”

Cuevas said that he was far more nervous heading into the meet than Mayfield was.

“I told him, ‘It doesn’t get any higher than this,’” Cuevas said. “He told me, ‘Coach, it’s just another track meet. Don’t sweat it.’”

While Mayfield doesn’t have any time to work on his starts before the final, he realizes that getting off the blocks fast will be of utmost importance when he races tonight at approximately 7 p.m.

“I don’t know what it is, when I start, everyone seems to pass me,” Mayfield said. “But (today) I kept gaining ground as the race went on. Right now my starts aren’t strong enough. I just have to get it right.”

Said Cuevas: “If he has a good start tomorrow, he should be on the podium.”

After finishing second in the state a year ago, Taft High’s Dale Morgan headed into Friday the favorite.

The Los Angeles native didn’t disappoint, finishing with a 13.93 to win Mayfield’s heat.

Devon Blackman of Summit (14.08) and Kevin Finley of Granite (14.09) finished second and third, respectively.

Martin of Vacaville won the first heat, and Elijah Muhammad of Morse took second with a 14.14.

— Brandon Petersen