Here is a breakdown of all the events that will take place at the premier Northern California Track & Field Invitational (late season) with the top contenders in each event.
400 Meter Relay
The first event of the Invitational Session will be the women's 400m. relay. This should prove to be a highly competitive event with 8 teams under 49 seconds. The fastest team entered is Carondelet at 47.90, a time they ran at the Arcadia Invitational. They will be pressed by fellow North Coast Section (NCS) rival and Stanford Invitational champions, St. Mary's, Berkeley (48.22). Other contending teams include Sac-Joaquin Section (SJS) members Rodriguez 48.48, Pleasant Grove 48.54 and Monterey Trail 48.66.
The boys field will feature another clash between NCS and SJS teams. The favorite with the fastest entry time will be De La Salle (42.21). While better known for their nationally ranked football program, DLS has proven to be an elite level program on the track as well with many of their football players, primary contributors. Castro Valley (42.37) has battled DLS back and forth in NCS and will compete here looking to upend the Spartans. The leading SJS team is Sheldon which comes in with the 3rd fastest entry time at 42.48.
The women's 1600m. field is a large one with 22 entrants. Looking at the entrants, this should be a very competitive race featuring many of the top runners in Northern California. The fastest entrant is Fiona O'Keeffe of Davis who PR'ed last week in a league meet at 4:48.78. Kristen Leung of Lowell who has run 4:58.46, anchored the Lowell DMR at the Arcadia Invitational to a 3rd place finish and a sub 12 time at 11:55.71. Teammate, Sierra Brill, led off that team running the 1200 and will be one of the runners in this field looking to dip under the 5 minute mark. The favorite of this field may be Kendall Derry (Bella Vista) who ran 4:52.00 at last year's state meet trials and finished in 5th place in the final. Fiona O'Keeffe is entered in the field and does have the fastest mile PR but may not compete here.
The boys field here is quite outstanding with many runners either moving up or down from their main distance. The favorite is Roseville senior, Arturo Sotomayor (4:13.36) who also happens to be one of the top 800m. runners in the nation (photo above courtesy of Kirby Lee and Image Of Sport). His main competitors will include the following runners. Sean Kurdy, Jesuit is one of the most improved junior runners who went from a solid sophomore season to recording 4:16.63 and 9:08.91 PRs in 2015. Fellow 3200 runners, Colin Burke, Bishop O'Dowd and Salem Bouhassoun, Mission SF both drop down to the 1600 prior to turning their focus to the 8 lap distance at their league championship and beyond.
100 Meter Hurdles/110 Meter Hurdles
Last year's state champion in the 100 meter Hurdles, Mecca McGlaston Dublin HS, has raced very sporadically this season. She has been entered in multiple major invitationals but did not race. She is entered here but whether she competes is definitely not guaranteed. Without McGlaston, Jurnee Woodward of Vacaville is the other sub 14 second hurdler in the field and will take over favorite status.
The men's favorite in the 110 meter Hurdles will be Khalil Dorsey of Colony, one of the few SS athletes at this meet. He has the fastest entry time in the field at 14.52 and just recently ran a 14.40 wind aided time. He appears to be a step ahead of the rest of the field but is definitely not a lock with Deion Lightfoo-Shelton, Kimball (14.68), Raliegh Adams, Alhambra (14.68) and Isiaha Brown, Monterey Trail (14.69).
This race has two favorites with Schantell Williams of St. Mary's, Stockton with the fastest entry time (55.41) and Malia Bryant, Vanden (55.62), the Stanford Invitational champion. Among the runners behind Bryant at Stanford was Williams in what appeared to be an off race for her. Williams will be looking to reverse the finish here as the two will race again in the Sac-Joaquin Section. The wildcard in the field may be Tierra Robinson-Jones of Bishop O'Dowd who is a freshman and will not be afraid to race with the sprinters in the 2 lanes in front of her.
This could be a clean sweep for the St. Mary's Stockton quartermilers as Javonte Norman comes in with the fastest season best at 48.21. The converted sprinter ran the 400 meters sporadically last year but is all in this season and is on the verge of getting under the 48 second barrier. He will have all he can handle at this meet with Cameron Stone one lane to his right and with a 48.79 entry mark. Stone popped a 46.99 at the SJS Division I finals and advanced all the way to the California state meet finals and finished in 7th place. The other sub 49 second entry mark belongs to junior Nick Gil of Vanden (SJS).
The favorite in the women's 100 meters will be senior Natsumi Mcgee of Cosumnes Oak (SJS). She has been one of the most consistent sprinters in the SJS with sub 12 second clockings in every high school season. She qualified for the CA state meet as a sophomore but missed advancing last season. She is highly motivated to make a return visit this year and winning this meet will be a major step toward that goal. She will be challenged by the sprinters to her right and left with Amari Jones, Sheldon (12.17) and Tae'vyn Lawler, Pleasant Grove (12.19).
The race in the men's 100 meter race will be for 2nd as the overwhelming favorite will be senior John McDonald of Lincoln, Stockton (10.51). It appears that this may be his first Track & Field season and it's been quite a debut. His best time was recorded at the Arcadia Invitational which gives him added big meet experience before this event. His closes challengers will be fellow SJS sprinters Tyus Williamson, Woodcreek (10.78) and Said-kamal Webster, El Camino, Sacramento (10.80).
Ariane Arndt, St. Francis, Sacramento (2:10.05) will be favored here with the fastest time she recorded at the Arcadia Invitational. She won the SJS Masters meet last year as she qualified for the CA state meet for the first time as an individual. While she does have the fastest entry time, she will definitely be challenged as the winning time may be slightly slower than her best without the same type field at Arcadia. The two runners that will chase Arndt are state meet veterans with Kendall Derry of Bella Vista (2:12.84) who soloed that time at the Dublin Distance Fiesta and Chloe Jenkins, St. Mary's, Berkeley (2:13.76) who has plenty of big meet experience as both an individual and part of many outstanding relay teams.
The men's favorite here will be Arturo Sotomayor of Roseville who comes into the meet with a fresh PR from the Mt. SAC Relays (1:51.54). He has competed in a lot of big meets over the past two years and will be one of the favorites at this year's CA state meet. Willie Hall of Davis will keep him honest here and also recorded his personal best time of 1:53.05 at the Mt. SAC meet. Nicholas Rauch of Casa Grande has recorded impressive doubles at multiple meets but will be running fresh here. He has a strong finish and could give the two SJS runners quite a challenge.
300 Meter Hurdles
Vacaville proved to be quite the hurdle factory last year with multiple hurdlers qualifying for the CA state meet and most impressive of all, a new national record at the Arcadia Invitational in the shuttle hurdles relay. One of the main additions was 9th grader Jurnee Woodward (pictured above) who has continued to drop her times as a sophomore and recorded her best time of 41.99 at the Mt. SAC Relays. She is more than one second clear of the field and it will be a big surprise if she doesn't finish as the winner. Her closest pursuers will be Artearra Coffey of Deer Valley (43.65) and Schantell Williams of St. Mary's, Stockton (43.68).
Jonathan Harvey of De La Salle has the fastest entry time here with his 38.43 which he recorded at the Arcadia Invitational, winning his heat. Treshon Woods of Roseville also comes in on an roll with his lifetime best time of 38.56 coming at the Mt. SAC Relays. They will be co-favorites here and the hurdler with the better technical race should come through for the victory. Proving that Vacaville is not just loaded with female hurdlers, the 3rd fastest time in this field is senior Mykal Walker who has a season best time of 39.37 but a faster personal best of 38.71 from the 2014 season.
Kaylah Robinson of El Cerrito proved to be fast over both 100 meter races last season as she qualified for the CA state meet in both the 100 meter hurdles and the 100 meters. She has the fastest entry time in this field here with the 24.66 she recorded at the Oakland Relays. Natsumi Mcgee of Cosumnes Oak (24.72) won't make it easy for her and may be aiming at double victories at this meet in both sprint races (100 & 200). Schantell Williams of St. Mary's, Stockton (24.94) is entered in the 400 meters, 300 meter hurdles as well as this race but that is quite a triple and may not feel inclined to race here.
If you are looking for the most competitive sprint race, look no further than the men's 200 meters. John McDonald of Lincoln, Stockton comes in with the fastest entry time (21.67). He will be severely challenged by 400 meter favorite Javonte Norman of St. Mary's Stockton (21.70) as well as Jumaun Charles of Amador Valley (21.72). Charles is currently undefeated over the 100 meter distance including victories at the Stanford and Arcadia Invites. This should result in a great stretch run and don't fall asleep on Said-kamal Webster of El Camino, Sacramento (21.82) and Tyus Williamson, Woodcreek (21.83).
If everybody entered in the 3200 meters does race, the clear favorite is Fiona O'Keeffe of Davis (10:15.53). After another dominating cross country season, O'Keeffe (pictured above) has proved to be just as strong on the track with her only defeats to two of the best runners in the nation. She is not afraid to lead from the gun and press the pace as she did at the Arcadia Invitational. Her closest competitor entered is Brooke Starn of Monte Vista (10:29.20) although she will more than likely not race here. Peyton Bilo of St. Francis, Sacramento (10:45.18) has had a breakout senior season especially at this distance. Skyler Flora of Tahoe Truckee (10:52.75) has run here the past two years and will be looking to post a fast time before her own regional and state meet races.
With the majority of the top NorCal 3200 meter runners choosing shorter distances, the favorite here will be Salem Bouhassoun of Mission, SF (9:15.46). He has made a major breakthrough this year and recorded his personal best at this distance at the Arcadia Invitational. Unlike most of his races this season, he will need to do all the heavy lifting as far as leading and may record a wire to wire victory. The will not make it easy for him however and there are definitely a few runners within striking distance. Michael Vernau of Davis (9:22.78) is the latest young phenom for the Bluedevils. Moshe McCarter Ribakof of Placer (9:23.37) may be part of the front pack along with another Davis runner, Kellen Browning (9:27.39).
4x400 Meter Relay
If you have carefully analyzed my preview, I am sure that you could figure out the favorites for this event. The fastest entry time belongs to St. Mary's, Berkeley (3:48.29) with a team that includes super 400/800 runner Chloe Jenkins but NCS rival, Carondelet will be right on their heels at 3:48.68 and have their own . St. Francis, Sacramento (3:50.17) will also be right there and have one of the best anchors in the field with Ariane Arndt.
The final event of the evening will be the men's 4x400 meter relay. The fastest entry time belongs to Sheldon at 3:21.82. They feature Cameron Stone, one of the top 400 meter runners in California, along with Marcus Beloney who has also dipped under the 50 second mark at the Stanford Invitational (49.40). De La Salle has the 2nd fastest entry time at 3:22.95 and will be aiming at surpassing Sheldon with one of the most improved 300 meter hurdlers, Jonathan Harvey. Archbishop Riordon, one of the top teams in CCS, has an entry time of 3:24.91 and will not be afraid to challenge Sheldon and DLS for the win. The entire field has all run under 3:28 this season so don't be surprised if another team breaks through and captures the win here.
In the order that they will take place, here are the favorites for all the field events. In the women's pole vault, Leah Bertuccelli of Union Mine and Sydney Jaques of Presentation both have season bests of 12'6".
The top two jumpers in the men's long jump will be Lenny Nelson, Woodcreek (22'7.25") and Khalil Dorsey, Colony (22'6").
The women's triple jump will be a matchup of the top two NCS jumpers, Kennedy Jones, Castro Valley (40'8.5") and Christina Chenault, Carondelet (40'2.5").
Lillianna Hebert, California and Erica Higley, Bear River have both jumped 5'7" and will be favorites in the women's high jump.
The dominant thrower in the women's shot put is Brandi French of Vacaville (47'4.5") who has recently signed with Nevada.
In a mini preview of the SJS Masters meet, the top 4 throwers here will be Jonah Williams, Folsom (166'6"), Wyatt Doughty, Bella Vista (166'5"), Darrin Paulo, Grant SJ (166'0") and Miguel Martinez, Jesuit (162'6"). With only 3 qualifying to the CA state meet, the at-large mark of 169'10" may be in play for the 4th thrower at the section meet.
There are three vaulters entered with season bests of 16 feet and higher and they are Austin Laut, Oak Ridge (16'2"), Nate Harper, Davis and Michael Gonzalez, Lodi (both 16'0").
Katherine Jackson, Rodriguez has the best entry mark at 18'9.25" but Ma'ane Mosley, St. Mary's, Berkeley (18'8") and Christina Chenault, Carondelet (18'7") are well within striking distance for the victory.
St. Mary's, Berkeley has a terrific group of jumpers coached by Cal Berkeley high jump record holder, Jeff Rogers. His 7'5.75" jump still stands from 1990. That group of jumpers include the heavy favorite for the men's triple jump, Ron Smith (49'2.75").
A 7 foot high jump elevates high school jumpers to a historic level. Isaiah Holmes, Oakmont jumped 6'4" as a sophomore last season but is now one inch away from that vaunted barrier. His 6'11" was achieved at the Depth Charge Invitational in Folsom.
The top two shot putters at this meet are quite familiar with each other as they both compete in the Sac-Joaquin Section. Both have thrown over 61 feet and will be looking for bragging rights before their league, section and potential state meet. Those two throwers are Darrin Pualo, Grant (61'5") and Michael Titherington, Jesuit (61'1.75")
The favorite in the women's discus is a 2-time state participant during her first two high school track and field seasons. Hannah Chappell, Oakdale (147'8") finished 2nd at the CA state meet last year and will not be in awe of a competitive field.