The six Francis siblings are a competitive bunch.
If one Francis picks up a new hobby or sport, the other five family members see it as a challenge. It becomes a game of “anything you can do, another Francis can do better.”
Zaria Francis, the fourth-born of the six, was a standout soccer player growing up.
She joined the Camarillo High girls’ track and field team as a freshman last season. Francis had no track experience; she just wanted to outshine her older brothers, Kamaran and Quentin.
Quentin is a senior sprinter for the Scorpions, and Kamaran is a former Camarillo track athlete.
“I wanted to beat my brothers’ times,” Zaria said. “We all like to copy each other and see who does it better. I had to try out. I wanted to continue the family’s Camarillo track legacy.”
Zaria Francis, a sophomore, had no idea she’d end up one of the top girls’ sprinters in Ventura County. Well, she had a feeling, but never imagined it would be this soon.
“I always knew I had speed from soccer,” said Francis, a former Camarillo Eagles club soccer player. “I’m surprised how fast I’m improving. It started out as trying a new sport for fun. Now I’m dedicated to the sport. I want to get better.”
The Scorpion entered the week with the third fastest 100-meter sprint in the county with a time of 12.22 seconds. She trails Westlake’s Abigail Smith (11.98) and Oaks Christian’s Schuyler Moore (12.00).
Francis also excels in the 200 (25.62 seconds), 4×100 relay (49.83 seconds) and long jump (16 feet, 8.5 inches).
After putting up respectable times in the 100 and 200 as a freshman, Francis gave up soccer to focus solely on track.
She misses soccer, but her decision has paid off. She recently received a handwritten recruiting letter from UCLA. Francis said she’ll try out for the Camarillo soccer team next season.
“That was very exciting,” she said of the letter. “My goals got bigger after that. I have aspirations to run track in college.”
Francis entered the week undefeated in her 100 sprints this season.
She won her 100 heat at the Arcadia Invitational earlier this month and was the only underclassman to earn a top-six finish.
Camarillo sprints coach Josh Harrison said he won’t be surprised if Francis reaches the state meet this spring.
“I’m very confident that she can make it to the state meet,” said Harrison, a former Rio Mesa track standout. “She has less than two years of experience, but she’s becoming very confident after every race. She’s put in the hard work to work on form and technique.”
Francis said her undefeated streak in the 100 won’t last, but she looks forward to facing the top sprinters in the area during the Ventura County Track and Field Championships on May 2 at Moorpark High.
“If I lose, what’s the worst that could happen?” Francis said. “I’ll just work harder. I’m not afraid of competition. Most of the top sprinters are older than me, but age doesn’t matter. I’m going for first every race.”
Kamaran, 21, and Quentin Francis, 17, are former Camarillo boys’ soccer standouts.
Quentin Francis was a senior captain and defender for the Scorpions in the winter. He runs the 100 in 11.32 seconds.
He’s proud of his baby sister.
“I knew she would do this well,” Quentin said. “She’s still learning. I’m always willing to help her. She’s going to get a lot better.”
The daughter of Kim and Earl, Zaria Francis sports a 3.8 gradepoint average.
She has an older sister, Kaloni, and two younger sisters, Kiana and Leila.
Harrison noticed Zaria Francis was a star-in-the-making right away.
“First time I worked with her she had raw explosive ability,” Harrison said. “She’s not under the radar anymore. She hasn’t peaked yet. I’m expecting a big finish from her.”
SCORPIONS PICK UP HARDWARE
The Camarillo High boys’ and girls’ track and field teams captured Pacific View League titles for the second consecutive season.
Camarillo’s squads had 4-0 records against league opponents entering Thursday’s meet versus Oxnard. Results weren’t available at press time.
The Scorpions field some of the fastest sprinters in Ventura County.
“We want to turn Camarillo into a top sprinting program,” second-year sprints coach Josh Harrison said. “We’ve come a long way in the last two years. The sprinters have laid down the foundation for success. I hope we can keep it going for many years.”
Senior Ahmed Obed runs a personal-best time of 21.49 seconds in the boys’ 200-meter race, which ranks first in the county and fourth in the state.
Obed also excels in the 100 in a personal-record time of 10.86 seconds. He hopes to win the 100 and 200 events during the Ventura County Track and Field Championships on May 2 at Moorpark High.
Sophomore Makayla Byerly excels in the girls’ long jump and triple jump.
Freshman Kylee Yturralde leads the girls’ distance squad in the 1,600 and 3,200 races.
Justin Warren, a senior, broke the school’s boys’ triple jump record with a feat of 45 feet, 9 inches during the Mt. SAC Invitational last weekend. Warren also stars in basketball.
Seniors Quentin Francis and Ray Thomas are explosive boys’ sprinters. Thomas is a standout running back on the football team.
Thomas is still recovering from an ankle injury sustained during Camarillo’s first-round playoff game against Santa Ynez on Nov. 15. He’s capable of running the 100 in 10.9 seconds when healthy, according to Harrison.
“I’m getting my speed back,” said Thomas, who will play football at Black Hills State University in South Dakota. “It was a long road back. I’m excited for all the big meets coming up.”