Sophomore Girls, Seniors Star At Mt. SAC Relays

Rancho Bernardo sophomore Ashley Callahan cleared 13 feet, 6 inches to win the invitational girls pole vault at the Mt. SAC Relays. Callahan is one of three sophomore girls to win titles. (Jeffrey Parenti photo)


TORRANCE -- Looking for a trend in wrapping up Saturday's high school performances at the 61st Mt. SAC Relays at El Camino College, a pattern quickly becomes clear. 

The sophomore class among CA girls is rather EPIC!

Three from the Class of 2021 won individual event titles in invitational heats, another anchored a U.S. No. 2 relay team, and five other runner-up medals went to sophomore girls. And those are just the ones we've IDed!

Yes, the Class of 2021 girls are certainly special, but so too is the Class of 2019. Mt. SAC also was a meet where returning State Meet champions and medalists -- seniors all -- won their events. It was the last invitational for the majority of athletes as the Southern Section already as league prelims and finals either competed or on the schedule this week as the month-long gauntlet to State Meet qualifying gets underway. 

(At right, Fowler senior Jocelynn Budwig, competes in the shot put. Jeffrey Parenti photo)

But that's this week. As for Saturday -- the venerable meet's final season on the road at El Camino College because of stadium reconstruction on the Mt. SAC campus in Walnut -- here's a closer look at the top performances among CA's elite athletes:

Alysah Hickey (Coronado/SD) won the long jump (20-01) and high jump (5-6). Hickey also ran the 100 placing sixth (12.22/-0.3). Hickey won the State Meet title in the long jump last June and was fourth in the high jump. 

Jocelynn Budwig (Fowler/CS) won the shot put (47-08) and discus throw (159-02). Her shot put mark takes over the CA lead from Natalie Ramirez (West Ranch/SS), who did not compete.  Budwig is a senior headed to Auburn and the 2018 State Meet champion in the shot and was third in the discus.

Namir Hemphill (Upland/SS) won the triple jump (48-08.50) and anchored the winning 4x100 (42.30) and 4x400 (3:21.28) relay teams. Hemphill is a junior. 

Ashley Callahan (Rancho Bernardo/SD) won the pole vault (13-6, CA No. 2, ties San Diego Section record). Callahan is a sophomore in only her second season of vaulting, making a rapid transition with gymnastics background. 

Faith Bender (Liberty/CS) was second in the shot put (45-03) and discus throw (156-09). Bender is a sophomore who was fifth in the discus at the State Meet as a freshman. 

Deondre Ruth (Heritage/SS) won the long jump (22-07.50) and was third in the triple jump (45-11). Ruth is a senior who came in with the CA No. 3 mark in the long jump (23-08.25) and the No. 8 mark in the triple (47-05.75).

Paige Sommers (Westlake/SS) was second in the pole vault (13-0) clearing 13 feet in competition for the second time in three days after winning her second consecutive Ventura County Championships title in as many years. Sommers is a sophomore who was third (on misses) at the State Meet last June. 

Daniel Viveros (Liberty/CS) won his 10th consecutive shot put title this year (67-09, under his PR and CA No. 1 throw of 68-11) and hasn't lost in 26 outdoor meets since placing third at the CIF-State Championships as a sophomore. 

Kenan Christon (Madison/SD) won the 100 (10.62/-0.8) and 200 (20.90/0.6; CA No. 1, U.S. No. 11 all conditions). Christon is a senior who signed with USC for football. He was a medalist in both sprints at the CIF State Championships last June. 

Iman Babineaux (Quartz Hill/SS) ran second in the 400 but her time of 54.27 is a CA-best this season. Ziyah Holman (Georgetown (DC) Day School) won the race in 54.09.  A week before, Holman ran the U.S. No. 5 time of 53.84. Babineaux's time ranks U.S. No. 9. Babineaux is a junior. 

Another out-of-state girl, Victoria Vanriele (Berkley Heights (NJ) Governor Livingston), ran a U.S. No. 8 time in winning the girls 800 (2:09.36). Jessica Riedman (La Costa Canyon/SD) was second in a 2:11.37 PR that ranks CA No. 3. 

Kai Wingo (Valencia/SS) won the 800 1:52.11 with Israel Echeverria (Corona/SS) second (1:55.05). Wingo, a senior, now ranks CA No. 2 and U.S. No. 5 in the two-lapper. Ben Sumner, who helped Palmdale Highland to Friday night's upset victory over Great Oak in the 4x1600 relay, won the seeded 800 (1:55.84). 

Jazmyne Frost (Serra/SS), the state's wind-legal leader in the 100m, won the straight sprint (11.86/-0.3) with Aysha Shaheed (Madison/SD) second (11.89). Frost is a senior headed to USC who led Serra to the State Meet girls team title last year. Shaheed is a sophomore and the defending San Diego Section 100m champion. Frost and Shaheed came in with the Nos. 3-4 fastest times in CA this season. 

Riley Hunt (Simi Valley/SS) won the 110 hurdles (14.35/0.3). It was Hunt's second hurdles victory in three days after winning his second consecutive Ventura County Championship title in the 110 hurdles. Hunt is a senior headed to Cal, who was third in the 110s at the State Meet last season.

Reyte Rash (Riverside King/SS) won the 300 hurdles (37.20) and was second to Hunt in the 110s (14.49). Rash is a senior, who was runner-up in the 300s at last year's State Finals.

Brendan Fong (Maranatha/SS) won the invitational section of the 400 (49.21) with Ty Sheridan (Helix/SD) second (49.73). Jermarcus Tate (Murrieta Mesa/SS) won the seeded 400 (49.69). 

Sophomore girls ruled the hurdles as Asjah Atkinson (St. Anthony/SS) won the 100 hurdles (14.42) and Reese Renz (Liberty/CS) won the 300s (43.25). Renz came in with the CA No. 3 time of 42.40 from Arcadia and ranks U.S. No. 2 nationally among hurdlers in the 2021 class.

Chioma Okonkwo (Murrieta Mesa/SS) won the girls 200 (24.58/-1.3) with Egbe Ndip-Agbor (Corona/SS) second (24.71). Okonkwo, a senior, and Ndip-Agbor, a junior, came in with the Nos. 3 and 6 times in CA in the 200. Jayme Ruskovich (Scripps Ranch/SD) won the seeded 200 (24.72).

Mekhi Mays (Serra/SS) was second to Christon in both sprints, running 10.87 in the 100 and 21.46 (CA No. 7) in the deuce. 

Oluwatobi Adegoke (Los Osos/SS) came away with silver medals in the 300 hurdles (37.86) and long jump (22-07.50/-1.5).

Chino Hills (SS), with sophomore Jacqueline Duarte on anchor, won the girls sprint medley relay (4:01.03; CA No. 2, U.S. No. 4) with Scripps Ranch (SD) second in 4:03.43. Scripps Ranch ran the U.S. No. 2 time of 4:00.40 at the Texas Relays.

Great Oak (SS), with Cal-bound senior Fatima Cortes on anchor, won the girls distance medley relay (11:51.14; CA No. 2, U.S. No. 4). Saugus (SS) was second (12:02.84; CA No. 4, U.S. No. 10).

(Cortes is at right in Jeffrey Parenti photo.)

With an epic late kick by Jacob Stanford, La Costa Canyon narrowly defeated West Torrance in the boys distance medley relay. LCC rossed in 10:12.25. West was .14 back in 10:12.39. The race produced the U.S. No. 2 and 3 times this season. Great Oak was third in 10:19.98.

Dana Hills represented in the 4x400 relays, winning the girls race in 3:49.93 (CA No. 5) and placing second to Upland in the boys race (3:21.97). Quartz Hill was second to the Dolphins in the girls race (3:55.29).