Sacramento Meet of Champions Meet Preview

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. The times used are their entry times which may or may not have taken place this season.

400 Meter Relay
The first event of the Invitational Session will be the women's 400m. relay. The fastest entry in the field will be Carondelet-NCS with a time of 47.98. They will be challenged by Tulare Western-CS (48.00). Also in the mix will be North Coast Section rival Bishop O'Dowd-NCS (48.28) and Sac Joaquin Section favorite St. Francis, Sacramento-SJS (48.75).

The boys' race will feature Carondelet's neighbor, De La Salle-NCS who have the fastest entry time at 42.01. The favorite however will be San Leandro-NCS with a season best 41.70 from the Mt. SAC Relays. That time puts them as the 4th fastest team in California. Three other SJS teams that will hope to break up the NCS duo will be Whitney-SJS (42.51), Laguna Creek-SJS (42.77) and Pleasant Grove-SJS (42.86). Watch out for St. Mary's, Stockton-SJS coming out of lane 9. They ran 42.62 at the just completed Glen Poole Invitational.

1600 Meters

The women's 1600 field will feature 19 entrants although they will all more than likely not compete as scratches in this event are fairly typical. The fastest time from this season belongs to Morgin Coonfield-McKInleyville-NCS (4:47.87) who was impressive at the Stanford Invitational winning the 3000 and finishing 2nd behind Brooke Starn Monte Vista-NCS. She will be challenged by the O'Keeffe sisters (Fiona and Olivia). Both come off impressive performances in their last meet with Fiona recording a 16:28.35 5k, the 2nd fastest time at that distance in California history. Sister Olivia, PR'ed in the 800 at the Halden Invitational running 2:12.09. Other runners that will hope to drop a fast time before league and section time will be Kristen Leung Lowell-SF (4:53.34), Kendall Derry Bella Vista-SJS (5:01.80) and Hannah Fishlow Miramonte-NCS (5:02.79).

The boys' 1600 is quite loaded and will feature many of the top distance runners in Northern California. The fastest time belongs to Sean Kurdy Jesuit-SJS who ran 4:10.86 this past weekend at the Halden Invitational. Right behind him was Daniel Ambriz Merced-SJS who posted his personal best time of 4:13.57. The unofficial fastest time in the field belongs to Luis Grijalva Armijo-SJS who split 4:09.2 as he anchored his distance medley relay team to a national leading 10:06.31. Several runners who will be testing their mile speed before turning their focus back to their 8 lap specialty are Cooper Teare St. Joseph Notre Dame-NCS (4:15.50), Salem Bouhassoun Mission-SF (4:18.18) and Michael Vernau Davis-SJS (4:22.45).

100 Meter Hurdles/110 Meter Hurdles
The strong favorite to win this event is Jurnee Woodward Vacaville-SJS (13.72). She has traveled throughout California as well well as compete at the Texas Relays. She will be challenged here by two of the best NorCal hurdlers and NCS rivals, Kaylah Robinson El Cerrito-NCS (14.06) and KaRa Awakoaiye Bishop O'Dowd-NCS (14.19).

On the boys' side, Khalil Dorsey Colony-SS (14.17) comes in as the favorite in this event. This will be his second trip up north after traveling to the Stanford Invitational earlier this season to compete in the 110 hurdles as well as the long jump. Challenging him will be two of the best hurdlers in SJS, MacLean Conner Pleasanta Grove-SJS (14.21) and Isaiah Holmes Oakmont-SJS (14.48). The best combo hurdler in NCS will also be in this field and that is Jonathan Harvey De La Salle-NCS (14.70).

400 Meters
This race will be a mini preview of the NCS final that will take place in about a month. The fastest time of the season has been recorded by Tierra Robinson-Jones Bishop O'Dowd-NCS (55.90). She is also the top returner from last year's meet with a 2nd place finish. She will be racing out of lane 4 with her strongest competitor just ahead of her, Anaya Alexander Las Lomas-NCS (56.33). Another sprinter in the field that has dipped under 57 seconds before is Julianna Ruotolo Carondelet-NCS (56.76). The wildcard in this field will be in lane 9. Malia Bryant Vanden-SJS recorded her best 400 time this season at the Woody Wilson Invitational (57.59). However, she has the best personal record in the field at 55.23 and she was a state meet finalist last year. Coming out of the outside line, Bryant might take off like a shot and dare the field to catch her before the finish.

The favorite in the boys' one lap race will be local competitor, Miles Ellis Antelope-SJS (48.37). He will be challenged by two sprinters from McQueen-NV, Randall Jubilee (48.78) and Alex Schwedt (48.86). Another runner in the field who has dipped under the 49 in the 400 is Jacob Sampson Vista del Lago-SJS (48.97). The fastest returning entrant from last year's Sac MOC is Nick Gill Vanden-SJS who finished 5th with a time of 48.81.

100 Meters
The defending champion from last year's meet, Rae'vyn Lawler Sacramento-SJS, will be here competing but for a different school. Last year, as a student for Pleasant Grove, Lawler beat a senior laden field to win in 11.93. She has a season best time of 12.21 and may be just rounding into shape following her required sit out period for transferring. The fastest time recorded this season belongs to Jessica Ozoude Spanish Springs-NV (11.87). Another competitor from last year's race is Kayla Ford Vacaville-SJS who is entered at 12.22.

James Logan has been a powerhouse in the North Coast Section for many years but their depth seemed to take a hit the past few seasons. They have rebounded quite well and will have state meet contenders in many events at the section final. One of them will be the favorite here, Nathen Francisco, who recorded his best time of 10.71 at the Stanford Invitational during the trials. He is also the top returner from last year in this race with a 7th place finish. His strongest challenge will come from the neighboring lanes in Turner Malachi Whitney-SJS (10.83) and Dion Collier Merrill West-SJS (10.84).

800 Meters
Ariane Arndt St. Francis, Sacramento-SJS, is the defending champion and a 2 time state meet competitor. She has the fastest entry time in the field with the 2:10.46 she ran at the Arcadia Invitational. Her closest competitor is the NCS #1 ranked Alyssa Brewer California (2:13.18.). Abagail Pradere Carson-NV is an impressive freshman (2:13.68) challenging herself in a loaded field. Madison Meade Vacaville-SJS has really improved this season (2:13.91) and has put herself in contention for a state meet berth from the section final. An interesting entrant in the field is Brooke Starn Monte Vista-NCS (2:16.31). She is an elite 1600 and 3200 runner who will not be afraid to challenge this field in her lone effort at the meet.

Daniel Ambriz Merced-SJS has proven to be a tough competitor and he does have the fastest entry time (1:53.28) here. He is scheduled to double with the 1600 meter preceding this race so that will certainly be a factor. Logan Spodobalski Bishop Manogue-NV ran his personal best time this season of 1:53.84 at the Arcadia Invitational. Alec Woodson Armijo-SJS ran the 1200 leg on Armijo's victorious DMR team at the Stanford Invitational and then followed Connor Dunne's national leading 1:50.53 with his own personal record of 1:53.85 the following day. The winner in this field should be one of those three runners.

300 Meter Hurdles

The favorite here is Jurnee Woodward Vacaville-SJS. She is currently ranked US #2 with her 41.01 personal record that was set at the Texas Relays as she chased the national leader. Her closest competitor is a familiar one in teammate Hannah Davis (43.73). Maya Brosch South Tahoe-NV (44.33) and Ivie Eboigbodin Merrell West-SJS (44.36) will hope to break into the top 3 with an inspired race.

Jonathan Harvey De La Salle-NCS will have his hands full in the high hurdles but he will be the hurdler to beat in the longer version. He currently holds the 5th fastest time in California and will be a strong favorite to repeat as NCS champion. His biggest challenge at this meet will be MacLean Conner Pleasant Grove-SJS (38.30) who will be one lane ahead of Harvey in lane 6. Chasing both hurdlers will be Derrick Griffith Consumnes Oaks-SJS (38.67) who has been a highly motivated hurdler this season as the tries to improve his 6th place finish last year at the SJS Masters meet.

200 Meters
This is always an interesting event as the cooling Sacramento air and looming 1600 relay legs usually leave this field with a few open lanes. At this moment Jessica Ozoude Spanish Springs-NV will come in with the fastest entry time (24.43). She will be challenged by the quartermilers including Tierra Robinson-Jones Bishop O'Dowd-NCS (24.68) and Destiny Mitchell Merrell West-SJS (24.72). Kaylah Robinson El Cerrito-NCS (24.78) is a multi event state meet participant and should never be underestimated in any race.

Myles Ellis Antelope-SJS
(21.68) will be looking to lock up his 2nd victory here after doubling back from the 400. He will take on vastly improving Nathen Francisco James Logan-NCS (21.71). Clinton Spellman Laguna Creek-SJS (21.80) and Turner Malachi Whitney-SJS (21.90) are the other two sprinters with a punchers chance if either of the two frontrunners falter.

3200 Meters
Looking at the entry list, the field in the 8 lap race is packed to the rim with 22 contestants. I believe the field will get whittled down quite a bit with many girls dropping this race after the 1600. Currently, the pre-meet favorite is Morgin Coonfield McKinleyville-NCS with her 10:20.58 season best. The next closest competitors are Kristen Leung Lowell-SF (10:28.48) and Niki Iyer Harker-CCS (10:34.62). All three will be doubling back from the 1600 and if all three decide not to race then the favorite will be Kathryn Loken Del Campo-NCS (10:47.00). She will battle section rival Sydney Vandergrift St. Francis, Sacramento-SJS (10:47.28). Freshman Cassy Haskell Miramonte-NCS (10:55.43) was the fastest 9th grader at the California state XC meet and how proven to be a fearless competitor.

The boys race has quite a field assembled and at the moment has 24 competitors. Michael Vernau Davis-SJS (8:57.70) and Luis Grijalva Armijo-SJS (8:59.98) are the two runners in the field that have dipped under 9 minutes. Both are scheduled for the 1600 and it may be a game time decision whether they double back to this race. Sean Kurdy Jesuit-SJS (9:11.38) dropped a big time 1600 time last weekend and seems to be rounding into shape. Salem Bouhassoun Mission-SF (9:13.78) has never been afraid to mix it up with the lead pack. Zachary Katzman Skyline-OAK (9:19.09) has really raised his game as a senior and has proven to be an adept kicker at the end of his races.

4x400 Meter Relay
Vacaville-SJS (3:49.91) has proven to be a hurdle factory over the past two seasons but have expanded their arsenal this year. They will be favored here but there are a couple of teams that will give them a go for the victory. Carondelet-NCS (3:53.44), Bishop O'Dowd-NCS (3:57.82) and San Leandro-NCS (3:58.97) will test each for section supremacy as they chase the Vacaville foursome. St. Francis, Sacramento-SJS (3:54.34) will definitely try to close the gap with their own section rival and if they are close heading into the anchor leg, definitely have a fighting chance with one of the top 800 meter runners in California, Ariane Arndt.

I will list the field events in the order that they are held. The first field event during the invitational session will be the women's pole vault at 4:00pm.

The favorite in the women's pole vault is Erika Malaspina Pacific Collegiate-CCS (13'3.25"). She has been the best pole vaulter in CCS and a 2-time state competitor. Her personal record this year is higher than the current meet record held by Tori Anthony Castilleja-CCS at 13'2" set in 2007.

The next group of field events will start at 5:00pm.

In the mens' long jump, Isaiah Holmes Oakmont-SJS (24'5") has the furthest jump in the competitor and will be tested by fellow hurdler, Khalil Dorsey Colony-SS (23'00.5").  Ari Milton Washington-NCS (38'4") has the best entry mark in the competition and has set personal records this season in multiple events. She will be challenged by Lauren Wong Vista del Lago-SJS (37'6"), Delani Fish Will C. Wood-SJS (37'2") and Allanah Lee Castro Valley-NCS 37'1.25". Jennifer Kurtz California-NCS (5'4") won last year's competition on a tie-breaker over Shelby Dozier Bella Vista-SJS (5'4"). Both are back to renew their battle from last year. Jasmine Pharms Stagg-SJS (47'9.5") was a state meet finalist last year and has taken her throwing to a higher level this year. She will be tested by Cassidy Osborne-Butler Damonte Ranch-NV (47'0.5") who is now competing in Nevada after her first two years in Illinois. The favorite in the mens' discus is Nathan Esparza Amador Valley-NCS (186'5"). At the Halden Invitational, Esparza established his new personal best for the discus and will be looking to double up his victory total at this meet.

The mens' pole vault will take place at 6:00pm and a talented group will compete for the coveted meet title. The leading vaulter is Jacob Bowler Del Oro-SJS whose 16'8" mark at one point was the leading mark in California. He will be challenged by fellow 16 footer, Noah Hurley College Park-NCS (16'0"). Also in the mix will be Travis Kartz Granite Bay-SJS (15'6"), teammate Lance Huber Del Oro-SJS (15'3") and Troy Gingerich Reed-NV (15'3").

At 6:30pm, the final field events will start with the following events taking place. The favorite in the womens' long jump is Julia Lyons Acalanes-NCS. She has jumped 18'9.5" and gets coached by one of the all-time NCS Track and Field greats, David Klech. Leading the way for the mens' triple jump is Isaiah Holmes Oakmont-SJS (47'5"). Holmes along with Darius Carbin Mt. Pleasant-NCS are the two best field competitors in Northern California. Along with the triple jump, Holmes will also be high jumping and he will be the favorite in that event as well with an entry mark of 6'9". Nathan Esparza will win the shot put competition and he will break the meet record of 63'2.75" set by Mark Lewis of Arroyo Grande in 2004. Esparza is currently the US #4 ranked shot putter at 69'3". The final event, the womens' discus will come down to two competitors, Hannah Hall James Logan-NCS (147'5") and Hannah Chappell Oakdale-SJS (146'7"), a three time state meet competitor.