(L-R) Distance stars Cole Sawires-Yager and Chris Verdugo of Great Oak, pole vault sensation Paige Sommers of Westlake, and versatile sprinter/hurdler/jumper Rachel Glenn of Long Beach Wilson are among the headliners for this weekend's Redondo Nike Track Festival.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
Watch these meets LIVE on MileSplit:
- May 29-30: CIF-State Championships
(And more! Check out the full LIVE EVENTS Calendar.)
KEY EVENTS TO WATCH!!!!
Girls 400 meters
2019 California State runner-up, Samarra Monrroy (54.16 best) of Millikan matches with the state's defending champion in the 300 Hurdles, Long Beach Wilson Rachel Glenn (55.45)! Throw in two other State Meet qualifiers in the likes of Roosevelt's Naomi Johnson (54.38) and Clovis North's Takiya Cenci (54.86) and you have yourself four bonafide stars looking to push one another under 56 seconds! Do NOT dismiss Beckman's Jocelyn Niemiec, who looked as strong as anyone when she captured the 300 meters at last month's Winter Championships!
Girls 1600 meters
Great Oak's Tori Gaitan makes her season debut to the open track this weekend. She cruised to 5:11 split last weekend in her return after taking the 2018 season off to heal. As she looks to eclipse her best of 4:47.48 later this year, she will her work cut out for her as Audrey Suarez is ready to kick off her 2020 season. The Mayfield junior was third at the 2019 State Meet, with her best of 4:45.00. Mira Costa's Dalia Frias make a short trip to jump into the fray with her 4:51.47 best along with Canyon's Emma Hadley, who rolled to a 4:51.01 a year ago. Brea Olinda's Whitney Valenti owns a best of 4:55.08 while Palos Verdes' Savannah Scriven is coming off a monster Cross Country season. The sleeper here could very well be JW North freshman, McKenzie Browne, who will provide us a look at her incredible talent!
Girls Pole Vault
Wherever Paige Sommers travels, she will attract a crowd, and for good reason! The Westlake senior set a new California State record at 14-6 to open up the season several weeks ago. Several other top stars in the Southern Section all also slated to compete, including Great Oak's Kaitlin Swenson (12-0) and Peninsula's Gabrielle Pack (11-7 last month). LA City Section champion, Erica Bagby of Palisades brings her 11-9 personal best in as well while a much improved Sophia Perez of Roosevelt is coming off an 11-4 best last weekend.
Boys 1600 meters
The dynamic duo of Cole Sawires-Yager and Chris Verdugo will shadow one another, reminding us that they are the next batch of Great Oak studs looking to break 4:10 before the season is out. Both will be integral parts of the team's relays on Friday night but will still have enough to take on Clovis North's Isaiah Galindo. Part of the California Team Champions from a year ago, he owns a best of 4:15.10. Mira Costa's Billy Atkinson has been en fuego these first several weeks of the season, topping the SS-Div. 1 list in the 800 and 1600 meters. Meanwhile, Thacher's Winslow Atkeson (4:20.50 best) is another that comes in seeking to leave with a sun-4:20 performance!
Boys 3200 meters
The Redondo Track Festival always boasts the deepest list of talent in the early portion of the season for this event! Six boys broke the 9:20 threshold a year ago, while 27 boys in all broke 9:40! In 2018, there were 21 that eclipsed 9:40 while 25 did so in 2017. West Torrance's Jake Parker enters with a lifetime best of 9:10.27, but he will have to hold off the LA City Section Champ in Eagle Rock's James Corrigan (9:13.80). Crescenta Valley's Dylan Wilbur (9:16.75, three weeks ago) is off to a great start this season while Long Beach Poly's Ronan McMahon-Staggs looks to also set a new personal best of 9:18.90 (achieved here a year ago). Burbank's Victor Goli set a new best of 9:23.70 two weeks ago, while also watch for Pasadena's Isaiah Givens, Loyola's Anthony Stone, and Peninsula's Ewan Macfarlane.
Boys Shot Put
Los Alamitos' Sawyer Howard looks to improve upon his 61-2 personal best he set in his fourth-place performance at the 2019 State Meet. Two sets of teammates will look to challenge Howard this weekend. James Wright and Nicholas Meeker will represent Great Oak, while Jake Porter and Mo Bradley of Canyon, Ana. will preview to us why those two programs are in the hunt for team divisional titles this May! Meanwhile, Khai Redd of Alemany is coming off a personal best.
Girls 4x100 Relay
At the 2019 version of the Redondo Track Festival, the top three times in California (to that point) transpired! Four of the top six squads at the 2019 State Championships lace it up here! The defending state champions, Scripps Ranch return to kick off their season while Long Beach Poly took third place! While graduations take place, these programs churn out great teams every year! Roosevelt returns its entire crew as they earned the fifth-place medals, and come in with the top time in the Southern Section (47.61) this season while Golden Valley comes in, second in the section with a 47.91. Do not overlook Carson, who placed sixth at the State Meet a year ago while Redondo Union and Long Beach Wilson will also look to break the 49-second barrier.
FRIDAY'S DISTANCE RELAYS!!!
As has become a tradition and before Friday night has concluded, the Redondo Track Festival will be the meet that litters the top ten national lists in the distance relays. Great Oak unveils their top relays at this meet every year and usually comes away as the national leaders in both Distance Medley and 4x800 Relays. The women of Saugus will challenge Great Oak for the win in the DMR while Mira Costa has assembled an impressive group this season. In the Girls 4x800, the top two teams in the state clash as Great Oak will look to leapfrog Long Beach Wilson for the top spot. The same scenario plays out in the Boys 4x800 as well, as the two squads occupy the top two slots in the State Meet rankings!
MORE ABOUT THIS EVENT
Friday, March 13
Distance & Throws Carnival & Frosh/Soph Pole Vault
2:00 pm -- Varsity only shot put; F/S & Varsity Discus
3:00 pm -- Running events
3:00 pm -- Girls Frosh/Soph Pole Vault
5:30 pm -- Boys Frosh/Soph Pole Vault
Running order of events
Frosh/Soph 3200 m
4×800 meter Relay
Saturday, March 14th
At West Torranch HS
8:00 am -- 1600m F/S
8:00 am -- F/S Shot Put
At Redondo Union HS
8:30 am -- Running and 8:30 am field events
Order of Events
1600m Girls Varsity
1600m Boys Varsity
Sprint Medley (800 meters)
Pole Vault Varsity
Photos by Frank Bellino, Josh Barber, Patrick Corsinita, Zoe Medranda, Karen Ocskasy, Jeffrey Parenti