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Gardena Serra football and track star Rodrick Pleasant is SBLive’s Southern Section Athlete of the Year

Scorebook Live logo Scorebook Live 6/22/2022 Connor Morrissette
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Pleasant won a state championship in football and broke the California high school record in the 100 meter dash when he ran a 10.14 at the Southern Section Masters Meet in May.

Welcome to a continuing tradition at SBLive California – honoring the male and female athletes of the year in every CIF Section.

Because the SBLive crew gets so immersed in specific sports seasons, it is nice to take a step back to pick a Section honor on a broader scale.

The criteria isn’t too expansive: The starting point is finding athletes who are all-league/all-state performers. Totality of career is also a factor as is winning. Administrator/coach/fan recommendation plays a role as well.

Enjoy as we honor some of California's top athletes!

Rodrick Pleasant could feel it. 

"Today's going to be a good day," he remembers telling his mother before running the 100 meter dash in the Southern Section Masters Meet in May. 

At that point, Pleasant was finally 100% healthy after straining his quad at the Arcadia Invitational Meet in early April. 

"I'd been running handicap for the next few weeks," Pleasant said. "My quad was killing me and I couldn't really lift the way I wanted to."

At the Masters Meet, it was clear that those concerns were behind him as Pleasant blazed to a new 100 meter state record in a stunning 10.14 seconds. That mark proved to be the cherry on top of a dominant end to the track season for the junior. 

Pleasant won the Division 4 100 and 200 meter races at the Southern Section finals and then he swept those two races again at the Masters Meet. One week later he won both races at the CIF State championship meet as well. 

The last month has changed Pleasant's life. He's also a 4-star football recruit who now has to tell those who want him to focus solely on track that he still envisions a future in both sports.

"I'm not trying to pick anything," Pleasant said. "I love both of the sports. Football is a love of mine. So I'm not thinking that way. When people tell me [to focus on track] I tell them that I'm going to do both."

In the fall, Pleasant battled through injuries to help lead Serra to a Division 3 Southern Section title and a Division 1-A CIF State crown. In the Section semifinals, Pleasant returned a kick back for a touchdown in the Cavaliers' 34-27 overtime win over Etiwanda despite having two sprained ankles. 

"We were just trying to make sure I could do something to help the team," Pleasant said. "All of the momentum changed when I scored."

For playing a key role in a state championship football win as well as sprinting his way into the CIF record book, Pleasant has been named SBLive's Southern Section Male Athlete of the Year. 

Replay Video

BIO

School: Serra Gardena

Sport: Football and Track & Field

Next step: TBD

Season highlights and accolades: Division 3 Southern Section Football champion, Division 1-A CIF State Football champion, 100 meter dash CIF State champion, 200 meter dash CIF State champion, 100 meter CIF record holder (10.14)

PAST SBLIVE ATHLETES OF THE YEAR

2020-21

Central Section Male: Nate Johnson, Clovis

Central Section Female: Jazmine Soto, Strathmore

Central Coast Section Male: Mikey Mitchell Jr., Archbishop Mitty

Central Coast Section Female: Jessica Oakland, St. Francis

LA City Section Male: Dylan Kordic, San Pedro

LA City Section Female: Jillian Kelly, El Camino Real

North Coast Section Male: Nico Torrez, De La Salle

North Coast Section Female: Natalie Pasco, San Ramon Valley

Sac-Joaquin Section Male: Jadyn Marshall, Stockton St. Mary's

Sac-Joaquin Section Female: Jzaniya Harriel, Antelope

San Diego Section Male: Nick Herrmann, Torrey Pines

San Diego Section Female: Elise Miller, San Pasqual

Southern Section Male: Thomas Southey, Mira Costa

Southern Section Female: Alyssa Thompson, Harvard-Westlake

2021-22 Northern Section Athlete of the Year: Riley Wickum, Sutter

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