Broncs track teams look for three-peat, open season this week

KVHS girls track co-captain Aspen Hacker, shown here after her gold-medal winning performance in last year’s CIF meet, is one of the returning athletes being counted on this year in pursuit of a Broncs three-peat. Photo courtesy of Kern Valley High School

By Mike Blake

Last season’s Kern Valley High School track teams had strong campaigns in which both boys and girls squads went undefeated in High Desert League play, to win a second-straight HDL crown. Both squads had several student-athletes move on to post-season competition. Among them, graduating senior Daimon Dedmon went onto the CIF-State Track and Field Championship in the long jump – in which he was ranked second in the state – and Dedmon, along with then-sophomore Aspen Hacker and then-freshman Jayda Bushing qualified for the Central Section Masters Meet a week earlier. Dedmon qualified for the long jump and 100-meter dash; Hacker for the 1600-meter run and Bushling qualified for the 100-meter dash.

During last season, both the boys and girls squads won HDL titles, went undefeated and brought home the HDL track championships, May 4 at Cerro Coso College, with the women winning 10 events and earning the title by 113 points over second-place Desert HS. The men won six events and gained the championship by 17 points over second-place Bishop Union.

This season will get underway March 1, with the annual EB Relays at Bakersfield College, and coaches Sabine Mixon (KV boys track coach) and Brent Mixon (KV girls track coach) are getting their teams ready for the competition ahead. Both see challenges to overcome but envision strong seasons again for Bronc track athletes.


Brent Mixon Girls track coach sees the challenges as positive. “When I look at the challenges that we face this year, they are all good challenges,” Coach Mixon said. “Combining the girls and boys’ teams, we have 68 athletes signed up. The coaches will need to determine where and how each athlete can best help the team for HDL, and also determine how they help themselves get to the CIF Div. 4 Championship meet. Our number-one goal is to win the league again for the third year in a row, and our second goal is to get as many athletes as possible to qualify for the CIF Div. 4 Championships.”

Girls track coach, Sabine Mixon agrees that a three-peat is a focus. “Our goal this year is to have a three-peat; we want to win HDL for the third time in a row,” Sabine Mixon said. “Last year we sent several athletes to the CIFs and I would love to continue to build the program so that we consistently compete beyond HDL finals. 

Regarding challenges, numbers have been an obstacle in the past. Not so, this year. “Last year we had 15 athletes on our male varsity team and the challenge was to fill all of the available competitive slots,” Sabine Mixon said. “This year, we are extremely fortunate and excited to have 32 male athletes, but the challenge will be the intrasquad competitions to see who earns the event slot each week. We encourage the athletes to work hard and push each other to greater speeds, heights, and distances, and they can always challenge themselves and each other for the right to compete in the events.”


Brent Mixon is in his 13th season as girls head coach and his philosophy includes helping his student-athletes recognize what is important. “I want kids to understand that through hard work they can achieve their goals,” he said. “I hope through my coaching I can show the kids how to be a responsible, respectful, and productive person so they can succeed as people as well as athletes. There are a few things that I mention to the kids. The first thing is that we want to put another number on the banner in the gym that symbolizes a league title. The second is attention to school records. Often, we have family members of our athletes who hold the record. We want to set new records and get their name on the board. We have a lot of super athletes and I believe the sky is the limit as to what they can obtain.”

Sabine Mixon is a product of KVHS track as she competed on the team for four years, specializing in discus and shotput, and went on to Bakersfield College, where she competed in shotput, discus and javelin. Her coaching philosophy includes bonding and enjoyment of the process. “My coaching philosophy is that life is too short, childhood goes by too quickly, and athletes need to enjoy their time in sports,” she said. “As we strive to teach proper fundamentals and skills, we also work hard to not put so much pressure on the athletes that they lose their love of the competition. I want my athletes to bond, become a family, and know that they have a strong support system in their team.”

The boys coach said she enjoyed her KV track “family” when she competed. “Every spring when I step outside, the weather reminds me of those four years of high school during track season. To this day, I still get excited to step out onto the track field. This is the legacy I would like to pass on to our athletes. I want them to make memories and hold this time fondly in their hearts for a lifetime. We have already made history by winning HDL titles two years in a row. We want to continue to add consecutive league wins to our banner hanging in the gym, but that is the history that the athletes will be able to come back to and show their children.”


Track workouts started February 13, and Brent Mixon said all students who worked out will be a part of the team as long as they stay eligible. “We lost a couple of athletes from last year but have gained six freshmen for this season,” he said. “We always look to our juniors and seniors to be examples and leaders on the team, and this year is no exception.” 

Getting ready for the season-opening event this week, Brent Mixon said training involves mental and physical focus. “The kids are in full training mode to prepare for their first meet,” he said. “They are going to go up against some strong competition, and I want them in the mindset they are capable and deserving to compete at that level.”

Finding proper fits for the athletes is a training focus for boys coach Sabine Mixon. “The kids are trying multiple events to see what they like and might be good at,” she said. “We have our first meet this week and the athletes are still exploring events. We are working on fundamentals and conditioning at this point and trying to find out where everyone fits.”


“On the girls team, our captains this year will be senior Mitra Kiosef and junior Aspen Hacker,” Brent Mixon said. “Our biggest strength this year is the number of athletes we have. This will help us rest some of our four-event athletes. Among our athletes, Julia Umstutz ran and jumped at Cal State Monterey Bay. I believe we have a lot of athletes that can go on to the next level. There is a college for everyone if they have the desire to go on.”

For the boys, Sabine Mixon sees the team makeup as a strength. “We have an experienced squad as well as many new student-athletes. We only lost two seniors last year, so we still have the majority of last year’s team returning. I look to my three senior captains Ed Bunting, Jack Montgomery, and Kyle Denys to lead and model our championship characteristics and work ethic.”


Brent Mixon sees another successful season ahead. “I look forward to another great season with great kids,” he said. “ I encourage the community to come out and support these kids who work hard to represent our school and our community.” 

Sabine Mixon sees a potential three-peat with an abundance of new talent on the team. “As we have a lot of new athletes, I am excited to see what each one of them can accomplish this year.”