The very best high school track and field athletes in the state of California will converge on Veterans Memorial Stadium in Clovis today to battle for the CIF state title in their respective events.
Two local athletes will be throwing their hat in the ring. Nevada Union senior Garrett Migliozzi will try to close out a stellar season with yet another win in the boys 1600-meter run, and Bear River junior Erica Higley will see if she can reach championship heights in the girls high jump.
Migliozzi enters the competition with the second fastest time (4 minutes, 10.34) in the 1600 from the section Masters meets. The senior distance runner has already won the Sierra Foothill League title in the 1600, the Sac-Joaquin Section D-I title, and the Masters championship leading up to today’s race. Migliozzi also set NU school records in the 800 and 1600 this year.
“I’ve already done what I wanted to do by this point,” Migliozzi said. “So, whatever happens — happens.”
Facing his stiffest competition yet, Migliozzi said he simply wants to qualify for the finals, and then he will go from there.
“I just want to qualify, be in the top-12,” he said. “I’m going to be as conservative as I can be in the prelims while still qualifying.”
NU track and field coach Sara Freitas said Migliozzi has the confidence, drive and skill to finish on the podium.
“He’s just so dedicated,” Freitas said. “He’s a year-round runner and he’s done it all by himself. To do it all by yourself, the dedication you need is pretty substantial. He’s very driven, very strong willed and very confident.”
Sydney Gidabuday of El Modena High School has the top seed in the 1600 with a time of 4:09.54.
Higley earned her way to Clovis by winning the girls high jump at the Masters, beating Athina McCaskil from Inkerdum. Higley’s 5-foot, 6-inch leap at the Masters meet puts her in the No. 8 spot among 30 competitors in the state event.
“The initial goal is to make it to the finals,” Bear River coach Dan Buxton said. “To be in the top nine by the end of the day.”
Buxton said Higley has what it takes to make it to the finals and possibly earn a podium spot (top 6).
“She needs to hit the 5-07 mark,” he said. “She’s been close three times. Everything has to work right, but she has a 5-07 jump in her.”
Asia Chesley from Stockdale High School earned the top seed in the high jump, setting the bar at 5-10.
In addition to the high level of competition, Migliozzi and Higley will have to contend with temperatures that are expected to hover around triple digits.
“The big concern is the heat,” Buxton said. “It will be brutal. I expect we don’t see any records fall. I think the top jump will hit 5-08 and the rest will fall in behind her.”
Freitas said the heat will be a factor, but with an evening start to the race there will be some relief.
“It’s a late race so that’s good,” She said. “We would have preferred a morning race, but the conditions will be what they are and every runner will have to deal with them.”
The state meet starts today with preliminary qualifying and the finals will take place Saturday.
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