Jesuit Boys Lead Headliners At Sac State Classic

Jesuit took the top four spots in the 1600m with Matt Strangio running a CA No. 1 time. (Credit: Dan Tyree)


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The rain had finally gone away for the day by the time Matt Strangio took to the track with a couple of Jesuit HS teammates to open his 2020 season in the 1600 meters. 

Strangio, who won the 1600m at the CIF-State Championships last May, hasn't been shy about his bold prediction -- expectation? -- in the four-lap race for his senior year. While the University of Portland recruit and one of the best distance runners in state history has a target on a sub-4 for 16, a chilly, wet day in March is not the correct frame for Strangio's desired masterpiece. 

So, for Saturday at least, Strangio would have to settle for a CA-leading and U.S. No. 3 time of 4:12.23, the top mark to come out of the Sacramento State High School Classic. 

While Strangio quickly left the pack behind in his solo effort, those holding closest to his rapidly fading memory all wore the distinctive red and yellow of Jesuit. Whitney transfer Ajani Salcido crossed behind Strangio in 4:17.06 followed by Spencer Pickren (4:17.25) and Michael Chambers (4:19.09) -- all three juniors!

The top three in that race now lead the California rankings for boys 1600m with Chambers slotting in at No. 6. 

"It's been really cool to watch and be a part of seeing them really step up and it's been kind of contagious for the rest of us," said Strangio (pictured leaving the pack early in James Leash photo).

Strangio's first 1600 since his 4:08.07 PR to win the State title, broke down as 61.07, 63.06, 65.07 and 63.01.

"I was definitely trying for a little faster," Strangio said. "A PR would have been nice but you take what you can get when it's windy. Ya know, in early March, a 4:12 is pretty good by my book."


The meet at Hornet Stadium on the campus of Cal State University Sacramento was held in 50-degree temperatures with sporadic cloud bursts through the middle portion of the varsity-only schedule.

Three Elk Grove Unified School District schools in attendance -- Monterey Trail, Pleasant Grove and Sheldon -- were instructed to leave early after the district announced an immediate cancelation of classes & student-related activities through March 13 as a precaution after "the Sacramento County Public Health Department (SCPH) confirmed that an EGUSD family was put on quarantine because of testing positive for COVID-19."

The Jesuit theme was established earlier in the meet when senior Martin Smith (50.01) held off Pleasant Grove senior Andrew Jackson (50.09) to win the 400m and senior Chase Gordon fought off a late challenge by Liberty Ranch senior Cristian Martinez to win the 800 (James Leash photo).

Gordon, second at State last season, crossed in 1:54.80 with Martinez hitting the line at 1:54.89, the Nos. 2 and 3 times in the state. Martinez ran a 57.09 second 400 and pushed Gordon to reach for an extra gear late in order to win. Rio American senior Jack Pallesen was third in 1:56.42 (CA No. 5). 

The boys 3200 took on a late twist after Sonora sophomore Adin Dibble held off multiple late threats from Sheldon senior Patrick McGonigle (at left in photo) to cross first in 9:30.05. But McGonigle, who finished in 9:32.39, was declared the winner after Dibble was disqualified for breaking too early at the start. 

Jesuit freshman Jacob Swanson (at right in photo) was officially second in 9:38.41 -- the third fastest 3200 ever by a Jesuit freshman. 

Among other winners: 

  • Vista del Lago senior Ceonna Pipion (pictured below) rolled to a CA No. 2 time of 56.93 for 400m. The Fresno State commit was third in that event at State last year. 
  • Sacramento St. Francis junior Reyna Johnson won the 100 hurdles in 14.83 (2.3), a time that ranks CA No. 4 for all conditions. Johnson placed fifth at State last year. 
  • Sheldon senior Imani Dupree won the 100m in 12.48 (2.5) with St. Mary's sophomore Cameron Fields second in 12.58. 
  • Rio Americano senior Sophia Karperos won the girls 3200 in 11:20.21, currently CA No. 10. 
  • Rocklin sophomore Nathan Kent ran 100 meters through a downpour in 10.92 seconds with the slight aid of a 2.1 meters-per-second wind. That time is equal to CA No. 6 for all-conditions times.
  • River Valley senior John Kroeger had a busy day, winning the long jump (21-03/NWI) and running the day's second-fastest sprint times. The Stanford commit, who was third in the long jump at State last spring, also ran the day's second-fastest sprint times: 11.09 (0.8) for 100m and 22.90 (-2.6) for 200m (behind Rocklin junior Jaxon Morrell's 22.90 (-2.6).
  • Christian Brothers junior Malia Gay was a seven-second winner in the 800, hitting the line in 2:17.62 (68.07 closing 400). That time for the defending CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Masters champion ranks CA No. 5. 
  • Oak Ridge junior Abigail Fletcher closed with a 71.71 last lap to post the CA No. 10 time in the 1600, 5:08.82. 

Photos by Karen Ocskasy unless credited otherwise.