Last year, Coach Tony Ciarelli took one Newport Harbor High thrower to the CIF State Track and Field Championships.
Three throwers made the trip Thursday afternoon to Clovis, the site of state. This is the most throwers Ciarelli has taken to state in his 17 years at Newport Harbor.
Ciarelli believes each of his boys, juniors Ethan Cochran and Steve Michaelsen in the discus throw, senior Ryan Andrews in the shot put, have a chance to medal.
Senior pole vaulter Mark Sakioka, the fourth Newport Harbor athlete at state, can reach the podium as well.
In order for a shot to finish in the top six in their respective events, all four Sailors must advance out of Friday's prelims to the next day. Saturday is the finals and that same day happens to be Newport Harbor's prom.
Michaelsen and his teammates, who are making their state debut, plan to stay in Clovis for two days.
"I definitely want to go to finals on Saturday," Michaelsen said.
Michaelsen, Cochran, Andrews and Sakioka might have to compete in the rain at Buchanan High. There is a 40% chance of showers.
If it rains, the conditions will no doubt create problems for every thrower and pole vaulter.
The weather at the CIF Southern Section Masters meet was ideal, sunny, a little windy, and cool. The Sailors turned in quality performances to advance to state.
Cochran placed fourth in the discus with a heave of 182 feet, 11 inches. Michaelsen qualified with an at-large mark of 176-6.
Andrews finished fourth in the shot put with a 58-7½ toss. Sakioka was third in the pole vault with a clearance of 15-8.
From looking at their top marks this season, which are personal bests, Sakioka, Cochran and Andrews are ranked in the state's top five in their events. Sakioka is No. 2 (16-3) in the pole vault, Cochran is No. 3 (195-4) in the discus, and Andrews is No. 5 (59-9¾) in the shot put.
Half of the state's top-10 throwers in the discus competed at Masters last week at Cerritos College. Jayson Kovar of Ridgecrest Burroughs finished second, 17 feet, six inches from his state-leading mark of 207-9.
The winner at Masters was Ryan Hunter-Simms of San Bernardino San Gorgonio. Hunter-Simms recorded a personal-best 192-5, a strong outing. He had the Superman logo on his shirt.
Michaelsen, whose career best is 178, will need a Superman-type outing to contend in the discus.
Sakioka is one inch away from the state leader, Lemoore's Kyle Fraley. Right there with the UCLA-bound Sakioka is his good friend, Adam Bragg of El Toro.
The shot put also has an impressive contingent from the Southern Section. Eight are ranked in the top 10 in the state. Andrews, who plans to walk on at UCLA, is in the mix.
Ciarelli said it is time for Andrews to unleash a 60-footer without fouling.
"It's there. It's ready to happen," Ciarelli said. "[State] will be a perfect [time] to do it."