CA Prep Standouts Set For AAU Meet in Las Vegas

(l-r) Chase Gordon, Naomi Johnson and Antonio Abrego are among the CA prep stars scheduled to compete this weekend at the AAU JOs in Las Vegas. (Credits: DeAnna Turner, Frank Bellino)


The West Coast AAU Junior Olympic Games, a rare meet that did not fall off the calendar because of the coronavirus pandemic, is set to be held Friday through Sunday at the Pearson Community Center in North Las Vegas. 

But because of COVID-19, entries were capped for this weekend's meet and a spillover event is now scheduled for July 24-26 "for athletes who are not able to participate this weekend," according to a note on the event registration page.

This weekend's meet is for competitors from ages 8-under through high schoolers aged 17-18. Temperatures this weekend are forecast to be between 111-114 degrees during the day and 84-87 at night.

Top CA high schoolers scheduled to compete include Caelyn Harris, Jahzara Richardson, Cienna Norman-Thomas, Naomi Johnson, Antonio Abrego, Chase Gordon, Alex Mainvielle, Kai Graves-Blanks and John Gibbs. SoCal youth star Victor Jaimez-Solorio is also scheduled for three events.

Here's a closer look at those athletes:

Caelyn Harris (Upland/SS) won the CIF-State title in the long jump as a freshman in 2019. She is entered here in two sprint events and the 100m hurdles in the 15-16 age group. She is not listed among those competing in the long jump. Her 20-08.50 (1.3) winning jump in 2019 ranks CA No. 13 and the farthest wind-legal jump since Tara Davis set the state record of 22-01 in 2017. 

Jahzara Richardson (Oaks Christian/SS) is a rising senior, who placed second in the CIF-Southern Section Division 4 finals in the 100m as a sophomore. Richardson is entered in the 17-18 age group for the 100m and 200m where she has PRs of 12.06 (wa) and 24.85 (wa).

Cienna Norman-Thomas (Citrus Valley/SS) is a rising senior, who is a two-time league champion in both the 200m and 400m. She is entered in both those events in the 17-18 age group. Norman-Thomas has PRs of 24.93 (wa) and 55.00, both from her freshman year. 

Naomi Johnson (Roosevelt/SS) is a rising junior entered in the 400m for the 15-16 age group. Johnson was a State Meet qualifier in the 400m as a freshman in 2019 (PR of 54.38) and also ran a leg on the Mustangs' 4x100m relay that placed sixth and anchored the 4x400m relay that placed second. 

Antonio Abrego (Golden Valley/SS) is one of the state's elite 800m returners for 2021. He's scheduled to run that distance in the 17-18 age group in Vegas. Abrego, who has an official PR of 1:53.76, ran an unofficial 1:51.31 in a time trial last month. He's the No. 2 returner in CA for the two-lapper and will be among the best returners nationally. 

Chase Gordon (Jesuit/SJ) is a graduated senior headed to USC. Gordon placed second at the 2019 CIF-State championships in the 800m, running a 1:51.74 PR. But he's only had one chance to compete officially at that distance his senior year, and that was March 7 when he opened with a 1:54.80 in cold, wet conditions in Sacramento.

Kai Graves-Blanks (Upland/SS) is a rising sophomore scheduled to compete in the 110m hurdles in the 15-16 age group. Graves-Blanks popped a 14.79 PR in a tri-meet in March just before the 2020 CIF outdoor season was shut down. 

Alex Mainvielle (West Torrance/SS) is a rising senior distance specialist scheduled to compete in the 1500m and 3000m in the 17-18 age group. He ran a PR of 3:59.38 in the 1500m for fourth at the Winter Championships in February a week after run an 8:42.18 PR for 3000m at a Winter Qualifier. 

John Gibbs (Oceanside/SD) is a graduated senior who specializes in the jumps. He's scheduled in the high jump, long jump and triple jump in the 17-18 age group. Gibbs' best jump event is the triple where he PR'd at 47-4.75 to win the San Diego Section title in 2019. He reached the State Final in the triple that year, placing 11th.

Among CA youth scheduled to take the line in Las Vegas is distance star Victor Jaimez-Solorio of Apple Valley, who competes for the Pacific Coast Shockwaves in the 9-year-old division.

Jaimez-Solorio rocked the AAU JOs last July in North Carolina with impressive victories in both the 1500m (5:07.14, shattering the 8-under record by 11 seconds) and 800m (with an impressive late kick to win by almost seven seconds, 2:32.47).

Jaimez-Solorio is entered in three events this weekend with qualifying times of 4:55.00 for 1500m, 2:29.00 for 800m and 1:05.00 for 400m.