Bethan Knights (left), who starred for Northwood through 2014, and Mariah Castillo, who starred at Saugus through 2018, each put up historic numbers in their senior seasons. (Credit: Gary Paulson/Ben Crawford)
Mariah Castillo, the Saugus High star from 2018, and Bethan Knights, who completed her stellar career at Northwood HS in Irvine in 2014, have been voted into the championship matchup of the MileSplitCA Greatest Girls Combination Distance Runner of the Decade poll tournament.
Castillo advanced with an astounding 1,971 votes, a whopping 75.03 percent of respondents, to eliminate current Chino Hills junior Jacqueline Duarte.
Knights received 637 votes, 56.67 percent, in advancing past 2019 Buchanan star Meagen Lowe.
In the quarterfinals, Castillo received 486 votes in eliminating Davis HS legend Fiona O'Keeffe. Duarte, the 2019 State 1600m champion, had received 494 votes in knocking off pre-tournament favorite Destiny Collins (Great Oak).
Lowe had received a poll tournament record 2,660 votes, most of which was needed to eliminate San Lorenzo Valley's Anna Maxwell in a matchup that generated more than 4,900 votes. She held a slim 17-vote lead heading into the final day of voting. Knights had received 377 votes to move past Great Oak's Haley Dorris.
- Championship voting ends Sunday night.
What is this?
The Greatest Girls Combination Distance Runner of the Decade poll tournament began with 32 ladies who competed at California high schools between 2010 and 2019. Participants were selected based primarily on 1600m/3200m combined times with consideration toward results at the CIF-State Meet as well as 800m/1600m and 800m/3200m combined times. All former State Meet champions during the decade in both the 1600m and 3200m were considered. Some 800m champions were considered but not all because this tournament was designed to feature the decade's top combined distance runners more than event specialists.
CHAMPIONSHIP RUNNER BIOS
Mariah Castillo (Saugus/SS/2018)
Ranks third in the decade for combined 8/32 times and eighth on the 8/16 combo list. PRs of 4:39.77c and 10:06.47 rank third and eighth, respectively, in the decade. Her 8/32 combined time ranks third in the decade. She won the mile at the 2018 Brooks PR meet, running 4:41.40, which converts to her PR 1600m time which ranks eighth in CA history. She ran her 3200m PR to win the 2018 CIF-SS Division 2 title. She ran her 800m PR of 2:10.70 to win at the 2018 APU Distance Meet of Champions. State finalist for 1600m and 3200m in 2018. CIF-SS Division 2 champion for both 1600m (4:43.73) and 3200m her senior year.
Bethan Knights (Northwood/SS/2014)
State Meet 3200m champion in 2014, running 10.00.19. Her 9:50.10 converted 3200m PR from 2014 ranks as the best of the decade and No. 2 all-time in California history. She ran that to win the two mile at the 2014 Brooks PR Invitational, finishing in a time of 9:53.54. That two mile time ranks No. 2 in CA history and No. 5 in U.S. prep history. Her 4:42.29 PR for 1600m ranks eighth in the decade and 17th AT in CA history. She ran that to win the 2014 CIF-SS Division 3 title. Also CIF-SS D3 champion for 3200m her senior year (9:58.42). Also won the 3200m at Masters (9:54.89). In 10 eight-lap races that year, Knights won nine.