Orange isn’t the new black.
It’s neon green.
At the biggest track and field meet of the season, De’Anna Nowling and her Calabasas High teammates chose to wear neon green. It was the seventh different jersey the Coyotes have donned this season since debuting in black-and-white uniforms at the Texas Relays in March.
Nowling has dazzled in all-white, all-black and pink regalia, but the junior sprinter always ends up with glitzy gold dangling from her neck.
In her third trip to the CIF State Track and Field Championships, Nowling captured her first gold medal by blazing through the 100-meter dash in 11.47 seconds on June 2 at Buchanan High in Clovis.
She’s the first Calabasas athlete, in any sport, to win a state championship.
And she’s unofficially the fastest girl in California.
“That’s crazy,” Nowling said. “The crazier part is that they didn’t even announce it on the morning announcements.”
Nowling, a nine-time section champion, has proved she has what it takes to finish on top at state. With the new hardware, the junior has won 112 races in her track career.
“Going into the (state) finals, I honestly didn’t think I was going to win because of the technical things that are wrong with my start,” she said. “Surprisingly, I held it all together. I had a perfect start with perfect form. I held my form all the way throughout the end. I’m proud of that.”
Nowling, who finished fourth in the 200 in 24.02, helped Calabasas place third as a team at state.
Kyla Robinson-Hubbard, a Coyote junior, placed second in the 300 hurdles in 42.07. Robinson-Hubbard and Nowling teamed up with junior Kennedy Waite and freshman Mya Collins to take silver in the 4×100 relay in 45.91.
Many local athletes represented their respective schools at last weekend’s finale in Clovis.
Simi Valley junior Riley Hunt, a football standout, placed third in the 110 hurdles in 14.09. Hunt, a receiver who will rejoin the Pioneer football squad June 11, said the state meet was unforgettable.
“I got to race against the best athletes in California,” Hunt said. “It was a great facility we got to run on. It was one of the greatest experiences I’ll ever live in my whole life.”
He said he didn’t even have time to celebrate immediately after his race.
“I was excited, but I wanted to know how Dexter Stephens was doing,” Hunt said of his teammate, a senior discus thrower. “We were there together representing Simi Valley together. I really wanted to know how he did.”
Stephens, who is bound for Brigham Young University, placed fourth in the discus with a toss of 181 feet, 1 inch at his first state meet.
Hunt and Stephens have rooted each other on since they were children with the Simi Valley Running Rebels.
“We were both really excited,” Hunt said. “We’re really good friends. It’s great to come this whole way with him.”
Westlake freshman Paige Sommers wrapped up her impressive rookie season with a third-place finish in the pole vault. She cleared 12 feet, 6 inches for bronze.
“The first day, my nerves were really high because I’d never been in such a big competition,” Sommers said. “The second day, I kind of got used to it. I viewed it as more fun of a competition. It was great because there were a lot of amazing talented girls there.”
Sarah Shulze, an Oak Park junior, crossed the finish line in 10:39.02 in the 3,200, good for 14th place.
Shulze was the lone Eagle at the state meet this spring. Sylvia Cruz-Albrecht, who qualified in the 1,600, was preoccupied with an SAT test. Shulze attended last year’s state meet—as a spectator rooting for Cruz-Albrecht.
“It was great to actually compete this year,” Shulze said. “The competition was just unreal. I was really grateful I got to compete at that level.
“Teammates, teachers, everybody texted me wishing me luck. It was really cool to be the Oak Park athlete there representing the school.”
Shulze, who wrapped up her 11th season of competitive running, was already looking forward to starting her cross-country summer training program.
“I’m excited for my senior season,” the Eagle said. “I have big plans, as far as individual performances go, in cross-country season. We all have big plans as a team.”
Thousand Oaks junior Mitchell Burr placed 15th in the 800 prelims in 1:54.74. Burr missed advancing to the finals by 0.25 second.
Grace Brethren senior Jermel Jones, who will play football at Azusa Pacific, placed ninth in the long jump with a leap of 22-9.
Talin Lewis, an Oaks Christian senior bound for North Carolina, finished 11th in the long jump with a distance of 21-10. He also placed 16th in the 300 hurdle prelims.
Newbury Park junior Gino Cruz closed out a breakout year with a toss of 180-9 in the discus, good for seventh place.
Nico Young, a Newbury Park sophomore, finished the 3,200 in 15th place in 9:09.56.
“I went out at a decent speed, but it picked up a lot at the end, which is kind of where I fell behind,” Young said. “It was a really big meet. It was really cool to be there.”
Young’s track and field season isn’t over just yet.
He’s training to run the 4×1,600 relay at the New Balance Nationals Outdoor on June 17 at Aggie Stadium in Greensboro, N.C. After that trip, he said, he’ll take a short break before jumping back into cross-country.
“I’m obviously going to set higher goals for next year,” Young said. “I want to run a lot faster next year.”
Top Acorn finishers
• De’Anna Nowling, Calabasas, 100-meter dash, 11.47 seconds, first place; 200, 24.02, fourth
• De’Anna Nowling, Kyla Robinson-Hubbard, Kennedy Waite, Mya Collins, Calabasas, 4×100 relay, 45.91, second
• Kyla Robinson-Hubbard, Calabasas, 300 hurdles, 42.07, second
• Paige Sommers, Westlake, pole vault, 12-6 inches, third
• Sarah Shulze, Oak Park, 3,200, 10:39.02, 14th
• Riley Hunt, Simi Valley, 110 hurdles, 14.09, third
• Dexter Stephens, Simi Valley, discus, 181-01, fourth
• Gino Cruz, Newbury Park, discus, 180-09, seventh
• Jermel Jones, Grace Brethren, long jump, 22-9, ninth
• Talin Lewis, Oaks Christian, long jump, 21-10, 11th
• Nico Young, Newbury Park, 3,200, 9:09.56, 15th