Village News Reporter
Bonsall High School’s track and field team began the Legionnaires’ 2023 season March 23 with the season’s initial Frontier Conference cluster meet at The O’Farrell Charter School, and Bonsall junior Jeffrey Lee earned his first-ever win by finishing first in the boys 100-meter dash.
The next Frontier Conference meet April 6 at O’Farrell was Bonsall’s second meet of the season, and Lee won both the boys 100-meter dash and the boys 200-meter dash.
“It was hard. It was competitive. But most importantly I had so much fun,” Lee said. “I’m very proud of him,” said Bonsall coach Manuel Ramirez. “I admire all the hard work he’s been putting in this season.”
Lee did not run for the Legionnaires as a freshman. He was on Bonsall’s cross country team as a sophomore and joined the track and field program during the 2022 season.
“It’s really fun. It’s a competitive social environment,” Lee said of track and field.
“The people you know you’ll be running against are the people who are going to push you to get better,” Lee said. “They’re going to push me to excel and exceed far beyond what I thought I could do.”
In Bonsall’s third Frontier Conference cluster meet of 2022 (a cluster meet involves all of a league or conference’s schools), Lee was third in the 400-meter race, fifth in the 200-meter dash, sixth in the 100-meter dash, and part of the boys 4x100 relay team which finished third.
In the fourth conference cluster meet, Lee finished second in both the 100-meter dash and the 200-meter dash and was third in the 400-meter run.
The league championship meet determines individual league champions and CIF meet qualifiers. The league champion automatically qualifies for the CIF meet preliminaries while the best times or distances from throughout the section determine who else has lanes or field event flights at the CIF preliminaries.
Lee finished third in all three of his individual races at the league championship meet at O’Farrell but qualified for the CIF Division III preliminaries with times of 11.68 seconds in the 100-meter dash, 23.54 seconds in the 200-meter dash, and 54.63 seconds in the 400-meter event.
The athletes in each division preliminaries with the top nine times or distances in each event advance to the CIF finals the following week. Lee scratched out of the 400-meter run, was disqualified for starting too soon in the 200-meter dash and had the 15th-place 100-meter dash time of 11.63 seconds.
“Last year he was like trial and error,” Ramirez said. “This year I’ve really practiced. I put in the work and I’ve homed in on track and field,” Lee said.
In addition to his school and athletics activities, Lee also has a mobile detailing job. “I come home and have to do an hour, an hour and a half of track practice,” he said.
“It’s what put me to this point,” Lee said. “If I didn’t put in the effort, I wouldn’t be here. I knew what I wanted, and I achieved it through hard work.”
Jeff Lee Jr. and his parents, Jeff Lee Sr. and Elizabeth Lee, live in Fallbrook. The Citro development has a field and Lee’s parents take him there for him to practice running. “I want to thank my mom and dad every day after work for bringing me to the park,” Lee said.
Frontier Conference cluster meet races are run in heats with the fastest times overall determining positions. Lee was one of 69 boys, including five Bonsall cindermen, who ran the 100-meter dash March 23. His winning time was 11.52 seconds. Horizon Prep senior Blake McGihon and a High Tech High North County junior tied for second with runs of 11.85 seconds.
“It set a standard for me that I’ve got to achieve and I’ve got to do better,” Lee said. “That’s my baseline and I’m going to get better from there.”
“I was super excited for him,” Ramirez said, “I’m really proud of him putting his name and Bonsall up there. It sent a message to everybody.”
Bonsall sophomore Devin Duke finished 18th with a time of 12.76 seconds; junior Brayden Duke took 13.35 seconds and finished 32nd; sophomore Gabriel Tamimi had the 38th-place time of 13.59 seconds, and freshman Reilly Morrison completed his race in 13.95 seconds for a 51st-place finish.
The Cambridge School sophomore Alex Chin had the fastest boys 200-meter dash time March 23 at 23.96 seconds. Lee’s time of 24.00 seconds was worth second place. “It set another standard,” Lee said of missing first place by less than 1/20 of a second.
“It showed me that this is my new standard,” Lee said. “It showed me that if I put in the work I could achieve it.”
Devin Duke had the 20th-place time of 26.23 seconds, Brayden Duke was 34th at 28.03 seconds, and Tamimi finished in 28.33 seconds for 35th place.
In the boys 400-meter race March 23, Lee completed his lap in 1:00.36 for 11th place. Bonsall also had one boys field athlete that day; sophomore Jason Martinez threw the discus 56 feet 10 inches for 11th place.
Two Bonsall girls, sophomores Mary Ramirez and Samantha Kylestewa, were at the Legionnaires’ first meet of the season. Kylestewa ran in three races, finishing 11th in the 800-meter event at 3:44.63, 14th in the 1,600-meter run with a time of 7:41.16, and 21st in the 400-meter race with a lap of 1:32.21. Ramirez had the 29th-place time in the 100-meter dash, finishing in 15.68 seconds and placed 36th in the 200-meter dash with a time of 34.58 seconds.
The 400-meter race precedes the 100-meter dash and the 200-meter dash. Lee had no intent of winning the 400-meter event April 6; he was second for the first part of the race before falling back. “It was a good warmup, though,” he said.
The 13th-place time of 1:03.64 thus wasn’t a disappointment. The functional practice sprint helped Lee to the first-place time of 11.50 seconds in the 100-meter dash. Health Sciences High and Middle College junior Elijah Toro took second place at 11.68 seconds.
“It was fun. It was exhilarating. And it showed me that I can take it home,” Lee said. “I’m the new competition, and I’ve got to set a standard.”
Lee and Toro also had the two fastest times in the 200-meter dash on April 6. Lee’s winning time was 23.65 seconds. Toro finished in 24.04 seconds.
“So exciting,” Manuel Ramirez said.
“It was exhilarating. It was fun. And it was the fruit of all my labor. It put together the culmination of my work and my focus,” Lee said. “Winning the 200 today was the fruit of all my hard work.”
April 6 was during Spring Break for Bonsall High School, so the Legionnaires only had two boys and two girls compete. Martinez threw the discus 59 feet 7 1/2 inches for 13th place and had the 16th-place long jump of 13 feet 2 1/4 inches.
Kylestewa became the 13th finisher in the 1,600-meter run 7:59.96 after the race began and completed the 400-meter run in 1:32.70 for 21st place. Mary Ramirez had the 33rd-place time of 15.76 seconds in the 100-meter dash and was 34th in the 200-meter dash at 33.88 seconds.