Harper McClain (864), pictured going to the front at the start of the 3200m final at the CIF-State Meet in May, won a USATF National JO title in the 3000 meters on Saturday. (Credit: DeAnna Turner/file)
Harper McClain, a rising junior at St. Helena HS (NC) won the girls 3000-meter run in the 15-16 age division on Saturday at the USATF National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships held at Sacramento State.
McClain is the first California high school athlete in the 15-16 or 17-18 age divisions to win a JO title on the track during the week-long meet. Previous CA prep winners in the top two age divisions were in the field events.
McClain's winning time Saturday morning for the 3K of 9:51.21 ranks as a the No. 1 time in CA among 2020 returners and a top-20 time nationally among returners. She closed with a 75.9 final lap, her fastest of the race.
Eva Jess, a rising junior at El Paso (TX) Franklin HS, was well back of McClain, crossing in 10:07.88. Another Golden State runner, Siena Palicke, a rising junior at Yorba Linda HS (SS) competing for Quick Track Club, finished fourth in 10:19.54. Palicke's time ranks No. 3 in CA among returners.
The 3K is not a common distance on the track among high school runners in California, where the 3200 is the standard. McClain's 3200 PR of 10:29.68, set while placing seventh at the CIF-State Championships at the end of May, ranks as the No. 7 time among returners for 2020.
McClain, who is competing at this meet unattached, has the top qualifying time in the 1500 of 4:41.32 heading into Sunday's final.
Check out Dan Tyree's post-race interview with Harper McClain:
Also on Saturday:
- Christopher White, a rising senior at San Diego Horizon (SD) competing for Team Edge, won the Boys 17-18 Javelin with a throw of 210-05, achieved on his sixth and final attempt.
- Antonio Abrego, a rising junior at Santa Clarita Golden Valley (SS) competing for Ghost Elite, placed second in the 800 meters for boys 15-16. Abrego's time of 1:54.50 was just over a second behind winner Noah Norris of the Nevada Track Club (1:53.46). Abrego's time is the third-fastest across 12 races this season.
- The Marshall brothers from Stockton St. Mary's (SJ) competing for God Speed TC continued to dominate the 110 hurdles. Jadyn Marshall, a rising sophomore, ran the fastest qualifying time (14.50/0.8) in the 15-16 age division. And Jamar Marshall, a rising senior who is the CIF-State Champion and California record holder, ran 13.58 (1.7) as the top qualifying time in the 17-18 division.
- Ryan Mulholland, a rising senior at Loomis Del Oro (SJ) competing unattached, place fourth in the 17-18 age division 200m, running 21.52 (1.6). Dominick Yancy (True Buzz (TX) TC) won in 21.28 (1.6).
- Christian Rodriguez, a rising senior at Los Angeles Dorsey (LA) running for the Pacific Coast Shock Waves, placed fourth in the 800m for boys 17-18 with a time of 1:55.52. Rodriguez, who has a PR in the two-lap race of 1:53.80 recorded at the State Meet Prelims, had posted the fastest qualifying time in these prelims of 1:55.48.
- Gabrielle Spencer, a rising senior at Stockton Franklin (SJ) running for the Stockton Saints, placed fifth in the 200m final for girls 17-18 in 24.52 (2.3).