Murdica sizzles in the sprints at Janice Kelley Memorial


HEMET - The late Janice Kelley would have been proud of many of the performances Saturday at the track and field meet held in her honor at Hemet High. 

Minus the drizzle some expected for the meet, the Janice Kelley Memorial Southland Invitational took place in warm weather under blue, nearly cloud-less skies. The meet commemorates Kelley, a coach and physical education teacher at Hemet who was from a prominent citrus family in the area who died from cancer in 2016. 

A talented runner herself, Kelley took a fifth in the CIF-State meet in 1978. 

Many competitors followed Kelley's example, turning in sizzling times and impressive marks. One was Palm Desert's Hailey Murdica, who broke the girls meet and stadium record in the 100 meters with a time of 12.04. The old meet record of 12.04 was set in 1979 by Cajon's Bridget Blackburn. 

"It was unexpected - I'm excited," a smiling Murdica said. "I got off to a good, quick start and that was a key." 

Murdica (John Murphy photo above) also set meet and stadium records in the 200, finishing in 24.98. The old meet record was 25.55 set by North's Sydney Reid last season.  

Murdica, a senior, will be headed to Cal State Fullerton in the fall. She has run 11.8 in the 100 and took fifth places last season in the Southern Section 100 and 200. 

Setting a meet record in the boys 400 was West Valley's Ismail Turner who blew away the field with a finish of 48.99, breaking the old meet record of 49.34 set by Darrell Willis of Norco in 1981. Turner's teammate, Joseph Halman, was second in 50.81. 

"I feel great," Turner said. "I've been working hard, trying to get better. I wanted to attack the race. I knew if my first 200 was fast, the rest would take care of itself." 

The junior missed last season with multiple leg problems. He thinks toward the end of the season he can run a 47. 

Impressing as well was Riverside Ramona senior Nanyori Davis-Arnold, who won the 100-meter hurdles in 16.8. 

"There's always room for improvement," Davis-Arnold said. "I felt good. My start helped. I'm trying to hit 15 or 14 and hopefully I'll lower my time with each race I do." 


Shrugging off the warm weather was senior Andres Romero who hails from the cauldron of Coachella Valley. Romero won the 800 meters in 2:00.06, which was almost full three seconds better than second-place finisher Mohammed Mohamed of North (2:03.00). 

"I'm used to it," Romero said of the heat. "I run in 126 degrees in the summer. I run all summer and work on my strength in the weight room." 

Romero had hip issues last season from running too many miles, but says he is "ready" for the remainder of this season.  

Oceanside dominated the girls 800 as sophomore Kimberly Barrueta prevailed in 2:24.26 and her teammate Abby Douglas was second in 2:24.83. 

"I felt pretty good," the soft-spoken Barrueta said. "The weather didn't bother me. I don't feel it when I'm competing." 

Here are other notable winning times and marks from the meet: 

  • San Bernardino's Gabriela Rangel won the girls 1,600 in 5:29.91. 
  • Ramona's Johan Sanchez took the boys 1,600 in 4:34.39. 
  • San Jacinto's Wayne Thomas won the boys 110 hurdles in 15.64. 
  • Chaparral's Sanaia Woods won the girls 400 in 1:00.31. 
  • Xavier Prep's Jace MacConnell captured the boys 100 in 11.06. 
  • Temescal Canyon's Lorraine Nance won the girls 300 hurdles in 48.52, beating out Davis-Arnold (49.47). 
  • San Jacinto's Thomas captured the boys 300 hurdles in 40.36. 
  • West Valley's Turner came back to win the 200 in 22.22. The meet record was set in 1970 by Doc Le Bow of North who blazed to a 21.44 finish. 
  • San Bernardino's Rangel bounced back in the girls 3,200 to win in 12:04.41. 
  • Ramona's Sanchez won the boys 3,200 in 10:09.55. 
  • The North A team captured the girls 1,600-meter relay in 4:18.44.
  • The Temescal Canyon A team won the boys 1,600 relay in 3:34.65. 
  • North's aforementioned Reid captured the girls long jump with a leap of 17-9¾.
  • Oceanside's Deondre Ruth won the boys long jump with a mark of 21-00 ½. 
  • Temescal Canyon's Nance equaled the meet and stadium record in the girls triple jump with a mark of 37-04 ½, tying the effort of San Jacinto's Destinee Widgins in 2015. 
  • Oceanside's Ruth prevailed in the boys triple jump with an effort of 45-08 ¾. 
  • Ramona's Prentice Burris won the girls shot put with a heave of 39-09
  • North's Kaaliyah Latson took the high jump with a leap of 5 feet. 
  • Indian Springs' Albert Jackson sparkled in boys high jump with a leap of 6-4. 
  • Linfield Christian's Kaelyn McCann won the girls pole vault with a mark of 11-1. The next closest competitor was nearly four feet lower.