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The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

Photo Gallery: Jim Thompson Fullerton City Track Meet gains importance as Freeway League dissolves

The 33rd annual track meet will continue the competitive tradition between Fullerton Union, Troy, and Sunny Hills high schools despite the CIF’s shift of Orange County schools into new conferences.
Nathan Bass
Juniors Andrew Kwon and Dante Rosete from Sunny Hills complete a handoff in the boys’ varsity 4×400-meter relay. Typically the final event in a track meet, the relay is dreaded by many athletes because of its aerobic challenge. Sunny Hills placed third in the competition against Fullerton Union and Troy high schools, which took first and second, respectively at the 33rd annual Jim Thompson City Track Meet on February 24, 2024.

After 50 years of stable competition, Fullerton’s three high schools will be divided into separate sporting conferences depending on the sport due to the dissolution of Orange County’s historic “Freeway League.” Despite the restructuring by the CIF-Southern Section, one local tradition, the annual Jim Thompson Fullerton City Track Meet, will keep the local rivalries alive.

What started as an initiative of Fullerton Rotarian Jim Thompson, pitting Fullerton Union and Sunny Hills high schools against each other, has become a cherished, three-decade long tradition in the local track community. Now including Troy High School, this year’s meet boasted roughly 450 athletes across all grade and competition levels, according to Troy High School Athletic Director Chris Blume.

“It’s a cool piece of history,” said Fullerton Union assistant track coach Cyrus Burton, who also ran in the meet during his time as a student-athlete.

The Fullerton College track program currently features three alums from Fullerton Union: Victor Perez, Leah Nunez, and Layla Thornton.

The meet is poised to gain local importance as it energizes the competitive tradition among the three high schools in Fullerton, while a broader reorganization among the CIF leagues in Orange County finally reached the city’s high school district.

After more than a year of deliberation among school officials and the CIF-Southern Section executive committee, newly-structured athletic conferences will take shape across the region in the 2024-25 season. The move intends to reset lopsided competitive relations that have formed in the region’s various leagues over time.

“I think now there’s a bigger significance of the meet, and it will become more important,” said Andrew Guevara, hurdles coach at Sunny Hills. “The important thing is… this keeps a tradition going of the three schools competing against each other and keeping a rivalry that hopefully doesn’t die out.”

Athletes and coaches alike spoke to that bigger significance, that of community engagement and sportsmanship, especially in a city like Fullerton.

Scheduled early in the year, the meet, which is financially supported by the Rotary Club of Fullerton, is a good way for local athletes to break into the track season.

“It’s really fun because it’s not too big, and all these schools are local. I know a lot of the girls,” said Mia Anderson, a senior at Troy.

As upcoming changes to the high school sport conferences will drive apart Fullerton athletes in all sports for the near future, the annual Jim Thompson Fullerton City Track Meet will keep local rivalries strong and maintain that competitive environment in the city.

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About the Contributor
Nathan Bass
Nathan Bass, Staff Reporter
Nathan Bass is a dedicated public servant with a passion for journalism and community engagement. In his role as a representative of State Senator Josh Newman, Nathan specializes in government relations, communications and legislation. During his first semester with The Hornet, he will specialize in photography and local arts & culture reporting. Nathan is a graduate of Cal State Fullerton, where he competed in NCAA track and field and earned a bachelor's degree in History.

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