Murrieta Mesa Sprints To Front On Day 2 at Mt. SAC

TORRANCE -- Maybe the 60th Mt. SAC Relays were a preview of the CIF-State Meet. Maybe not. Maybe only in parts. Take from it what you will but a couple of things jumped out amid the second day of high school competition at El Camino College. 

Don't sleep on the fast boys from Murrieta Mesa. The Southwestern League has been the state's deepest league for the past handful of years fortified by powerhouse programs Temecula Great Oak and Vista Murrieta. But the Rams at Murrieta Mesa have been a clear third over recent years. This year, at least on the boys side, they appear to be closer to the juggernauts than the have-nots. 

Powered by Cerritos Gahr transfer Christian Shakir-Ricks, the Rams put on a bit of a speed show on a pristine Saturday in the South Bay. 

Shakir-Ricks, a senior, ran 10.73 in the 100m for second to winner Asani Hampton (Yucaipa/SS, 10.51), won the Hampton-less 200m in a CA #3 time of 21.35 and ran a leg on both winning relays. Yep, BOTH! The 4x100 team (Jeremiah Queen, Matt Okonkwo, Davonte Williams and Shakir-Ricks) went 41.65 (just under their CA #3 41.58) but clearly ahead of runner-up Great Oak, which posted a CA#4 time of 41.71. Youthful Long Beach Poly was third in 41.76. Capping the day, Murrieta Mesa won the 4x400 relay in a CA #1 time of 3:16.22 (US #13). That lineup was Okonkwo, Jermarcus Tate, Williams and Shakir-Ricks.

Okonkwo was fourth in the 200m (21.94) and second in the 400 (48.46) behind winner Solomon Strader (Valencia Trinity Classical/SS) who posted a CA #6 time of 47.77.

On a day filled with CA-ranking performances, the results from the boys sprint team at Murrieta Mesa was one of the eye-openers. 

"This is the best and most versatile group we have had," Murrieta Mesa coach Aaron Ballou said. "The 4x400 stood out to me as being the most impressive. I knew we could run 4:16 and we can go even faster but to do it with some of the better teams that were scheduled to run dropping out made that performance stand out."

Shakir-Ricks, who was a member of Gahr's 4x100 relay that placed 2nd at State last June, had three "Invitational" race wins Saturday, which was the most among athletes in the traditional events.

"Chris has been a lot of fun to to have on the team," Ballou said. "He loves to compete and had a great day."


Another multiple "Invitational" winner was Jada Hicks (Upland/SS) won the 100 hurdles in a wind-legal 13.54 (1.5) -- CA #1, US #3 and just ahead of Danae Dyer (Temecula Valley/SS) whose 13.82 wasn't quite her 13.68 PR US #4  from Arcadia -- and also ran a leg on the winning 4x100 relay, which blazed across the line in 45.71 (CA #1/US #4). In that relay, with freshman Jordyn Grady anchoring, Upland set the pace as the next three fastest teams in the state chased her. Grady held off 100m champion Ariyonna Augustine and Long Beach Poly (45.97, CA #2/US #9), Gardena Serra (46.15, CA #3/US #15) and Calabasas (46.72, CA #4). (Scott Padgett photo above of the Invitational 100 Hurdles)

Great Oak's CJ Stevenson, looking to become a double-jumps winner for a second consecutive season, did his part in the long jump (23-09.25/3.9) but had to scratch out of the triple jump after one attempt and a post-treatment run-through for what he said was muscle tightness in his right leg. Stevenson's points in the horizontal jumps are essential to Great Oak's hopes of challenging for a CIF-State boys team title. Stevenson is the defending State champion in the triple jump.

On Friday night, Ayala junior Mikaela Ramirez placed third in a very competitive mile field 4:50.00 (the top two and four of the top six times in the country were recorded in that race). On Saturday, Ramirez (Scott Padgett photo above) won the invitational 800 in 2:11.89 vaulting her from No. 35 to No. 6 in California.  Her 4:50.00 mile clocking ranks as No. 3 in CA and No. 4 U.S. 

In Saturday afternoon's 800, Ramirez trailed Delaney Sanacore of Los Altamitos until winning it with a kick in the end. Sanacore finished second in 2:12.23 with Gwynn George of Santa Margarita next in 2:12.43.

Corona Centennial senior Rylee Penn, a CIF-State runner-up in the 800 meters as a freshman, won the seeded race with the best time of the day 2:11.80. It was a performance reminiscent of her first two seasons. 

Jocelynn Budwig (Fowler/CS) won both of the throws, going 152-11 in the discus and 45-5.25 in the shot. Faimalie Sale (Los Alamitos/SS) was second in the DT (149-02) and third in the SP (42-02). Shyann Franklin (Santa Clarita Golden Valley/SS) was second in the shot (42-06).

Jonon Young (Carson/LA) won the triple jump (38-07.50) and was second (19-02.25) to teammate Indiah Turner (19-05.25) in the long jump. (Scott Padgett photo above of Turner)

Great Oak won the DMR -- the final DMR for the senior group of Carlos Carvajal, Jacob Korgan, Gavin Korby and Fabian Bodden -- in 10:10.85. Carvajal brought it home on the anchor holding off a stellar San Jose Bellermine/NC team (10:12.70) as well as Long Beach Poly (10:13.78). Great Oak just missed its US #1 time of 10:10.64 set at the Stanford Invitational. 

The Wolfpack girls (Arianna Griffiths, Kolonnie Green, Tori Gaitan, Fatima Cortes) also won in a US #3 time of 11:53.83.

Among so many other standouts:

  • Sean Lee (Trabuco Hills/SS) who already has a co-CA-leading 7-3 high jump, cleared 7-2 on his final attempt and took three jumps at 7-4. (Scott Padgett photo above)
  •  Quinton Alexander (Fairfield Vanden/SJ) ran away with the 800 (1:52.62; CA #2) with Sam VanDorpe (Mater Dei/SS) second in 1:53.21 (CA #3)
  • Blake Hennessay (Trabuco Hills/SS) rounding into shape after an injury-delayed start to his season, was relegated to the "Seeded" heat of the 300 hurdles yet ran the day's fastest time, a CA #3 37.74. 
  • Augustine won the 100m in a wind-legal 11.67 (0.2) with Chinyere Okoro (Amador Valley/NC) second in 11.75 and Jazmyne Frost (Gardena Serra/SS) third in 11.77. Alysah Hickey (Coronado/SD) was fourth in the 100m 12.02, came back later to win the high jump (5-10; CA #2). Augustine was second in the 200m (24.05/0.2) behind De'Anna Nowling (Calabasas/SS) 24.03 (CA #3). Frost was third (24.39) and Upland senior Chelsea Daye was fourth (24.51).
  • Dana Hills held off Bonita to win the 4x400 relay. The Dolphins' winning time of 3:47.68 took over the CA lead. Bonita was second in 3:49.39.

  • Caleb Roberson (Upland/SS) won the 300 Hurdles (38.24), placed 2nd in the 110 Hurdles (14.15, CA #3) and 5th in the 100m (10.88). In the 300 Hurdles, he was just over his CA #5 PR of 38.22 but just ahead of Reyte Rash (Riverside King/SS) whose 38.26 PR is CA #5.  (Scott Padgett photo above of Roberson)
  • Sophomore Jamar Marshall (Stockton St. Marys/SJ) closed strong at the end to win the 110 Hurdles in 14.10 (1.4), getting Roberson at the tape and holding off Andre Butt II (Carson/LA) who crossed in 14.17. That race produced CA ranking 2-3-4-6-7, with Jaden Ellis (Moreno Valley Vista del Lago/SS) winning the "Seeded" race (14.36, CA #6) ahead of freshman Anthony Taylor (Los Angeles Cathedral/SS) whose 14.38 now ranks 7th. Note that Aiden Jackman (Clayton Valley/NC) was fourth in the "Invitational" heat in 14.27, well off his CA-leading best of 13.98 from Arcadia.

  • The CA leader in both boys throws, junior Carlos Aviles (Ventura/SS), won the shot put (63-01.25) and was second in the discus throw (187-03). Corey Moore Jr. (Henderson (NV) Liberty) won the discus (187-11). (Scott Padgett photo above of Aviles)
  • Pablo Zaffaroni (Escuela Superior Mariano Moren/Argentina) won the pole vault competition that did not include CA leader Sondre Guttormsen (Davis/SJ) with Huntington Beach Marina/SS junior Skyler Magula second at 15-0. Guttormsen competed at the Halden Invitational hosted by his school, clearing 17-9.