State Meet Preview: Sprints, Hurdles, Relays


Long Beach Poly (center) has been the CA leader all season. (Jeffrey Parenti photo)

4x100 Meter Relay

  • 2018 Champion: Great Oak (SS) 40.99
  • Meet Record: 40.24 | Hawthorne (LA) | 1989

When we talk about returning State Meet champions, we tend to focus on the individuals and forget the relays, just because of the turnover among the quartet. Temecula Great Oak won last year's title with Grant Gaskins on anchor. Just about a year later, Gaskins has anchored the Wolfpack 4x1 back to Clovis, albeit with the No. 6 qualifying time (41.86). The top 4x1 heading into Friday's competition this year is Long Beach Poly where the quartet of Kenyon Reed, DeAngelo Chester, Anthony Johnson and Keon Markham have been the team to beat in CA since early in the season. The Jackrabbits are the only team under 41 seconds this season and did it again at the Southern Section finals (40.87). Poly ran 41.13 to post the fastest qualifying time but by just .01 over Rancho Cucamonga and .04 over Clovis North, which ran its season best last week. And that qualifying order is the same as the state rankings for 1-2-3. Poly was fourth here last year in 41.50 and Rancho Cucamonga was sixth (41.57). Clovis North was second (41.14). Harvard Westlake is ranked fourth in the state (41.35) and qualified fifth (41.76) but needs a healthy Borquez to be able to challenge the top three.

4x400 Meter Relay

  • 2018 Champion: Murrieta Mesa (SS) 3:10.86
  • Meet Record: 3:08.42 | Gardena Serra (SS) | 2010

With the boys team title at stake, Christian Shakir-Ricks ran a 45.6 anchor leg split in his fourth sprint race of the night to give Murrieta Mesa the event title and the team title over league foe Great Oak. The winning time slotted among the top 20 all-time and the team title was a first for the Rams from the league that also includes another powerful program, two-time team champion Vista Murrieta. Clayton Valley was second a year ago and Long Beach Wilson was third. Both of those schools made it back led by Wilson, coming off a state-best 3:13.86 (U.S. No. 10) in qualifying to hold off Upland (3:13.97), Eastvale Roosevelt (3:14.33), Long Beach Poly (3:15.07), Los Angeles Loyola (3:15.81) and Mission Viejo Trabuco Hills (3:16.00). So, yeah, those are the top six ranked teams in the state and four of those six times went down at the Southern Section Masters Meet. In other words, Upland and Long Beach Poly have gone faster. The top qualified team not from the Southern Section is San Diego champion Grossmont (3:19.19 in qualifying which ranks as CA No. 10), Northern Section champion Paradise (3:19.86, CA No. 13), and Central Coast Section champion Los Gatos (3:20.86). Clayton Valley has the No. 12 qualifying time (3:21.67, CA No. 28).