Pleasant leads track and field sweep in Athletes of Year

Photo by Joe Snyder Serra High junior Roderick Pleasant (left in the 100-meter dash at the Arcadia Track and Field Invitational on April 9) was the Daily Breeze South Bay Athlete of the Year for 2021-22.

Two top track and field athletes swept the South Bay Prep Athlete of the Year for 2021-22, named recently by the Daily Breeze. Serra High junior Roderick Pleasant, a premiere football and track athlete, took top honors for boys’ sports. Pleasant is coming off a stellar junior season. In the CIF-Southern Section Masters Track and Field Championships on May 21 at Moorpark High, Pleasant smashed the California State record in the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.14 seconds. He broke the previous record of 10.25 that was set in 1985 by Hawthorne High’s Henry Thomas and in 2021 by Santa Ana Mater Dei’s Domani Jackson. Pleasant is just .01 of a second shy of the United States national record (in track and field season) of 10.13 set in 2019 by Matthew Boling from Strake Jesuit College Prep from Houston, Texas. However, the overall national record is 10.0 in an off-season meet, the United States Junior Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Ore., by Trentvail Friday from Cherryville High in Virginia, in July 2014. He had just graduated from that high school at that time. Pleasant’s goal is to become the first prep athlete to break 10 seconds in the 100 meters during his senior season. A few reportedly did but were wind aided. Pleasant also ran as fast as 20.4 seconds in the 200 in winning that event at the Southern Section Divisional Championships on May 14, also at Moorpark High. Pleasant went on to become the first ever Serra High sprinter to sweep the 100- and 200 meters with times of 10.3 and 20.56, in order, at the CIFState Championships on May 28 at Buchanan High in Clovis. He also led Serra’s 4×100- meter relay team to victory in the Southern Section Division IV and Masters Championships and second place, behind Fresno Central High, in the state finals. The Cavalier boys won the Southern Section Division IV title and finished third in state. Pleasant is already a fourstar college recruit as a cornerback in football. He had a few breakaway pick-sixes (interceptions for touchdowns) in keying the Cavaliers to the CIFSouthern Section Division III, Southern California Regional Division IA and CIF-State Division IA championships. He had one pick-six that proved to be the difference in Serra’s 34-27 overtime win over host Etiwanda High in the Southern Section Division III semifinals in Rancho Cucamonga. The Cavs would go on to rout host Apple Valley 31-3 for the title on Nov. 26, before the regional championship over rival Long Beach Poly 21-17 on Dec. 4 at Serra and the state crown by topping Bakersfield Liberty 21-16 on Dec. 11 at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo. Pleasant was also named as the Daily Breeze South Bay Track and Field Athlete of the Year. The top female athlete was senior distance runner Dalia Frias from Manhattan Beach Mira Costa. Frias, who is bound for Duke University in North Carolina, was ranked among the top distance runners in the United States in the 1,600, 3,200, mile and two-mile run, as well as in cross country. Frias ran the 3,200 at nine minutes and 55.5 seconds in winning the event on April 9 at the prestigious Arcadia Invitational. A few weeks ago, at the Brooks P.R. (personal record) Invitational in Seattle, she brought that time down to 9:50.7. Frias was ranked No. 1 in the United States in the 3,200 but accidentally missed the race at the CIF-Southern Section Division I Prelims at Trabuco Hills High in Mission Viejo. She managed to win the Southern Section Division I crown in the 1,600 with a personal best time of 4:33.54 on May 14 at Moorpark High. She ended up second in the event in the state fi nals clocking 4:37.07 at Buchanan High. She has a personal mile best time of 4:35.06. Frias led the Mustangs to the CIF-Southern Section and State Division II crowns in girls’ cross country last fall as she completed the three-mile course in 16:42 at Woodard Park in Fresno. Meanwhile in South Bay track and fi eld, it was a Serra High sweep as Pleasant was top male athlete and Brazil Neal was top female athlete. Neal sparked the Lady Cavaliers to their second ever state championship with a win in the 200 timing 23.68 and second place at the 100 (11.62). She also ran a leg on Serra’s 4×100 relay squad that won with season best time of 46.08. Despite competing in just three events, Serra’s big accomplishments in those was enough to accumulate 37 points to win the title over second place Clovis North (32). Jordan Washington, Mia Flowers and Jaiya Fletcher were also on the Cavaliers’ 400 relay team and were a big lift in the Cavaliers’ second state championship, the other being in 2012 with that squad led by now Serra head coach Alexis Faulkner. All three also made the Daily Breeze all-South Bay in the sprinting events.