Ellaney Matarese (2) and Audrey Suarez (1) take off at the start of the 1600m race during Thursday night's distance portion of the two-day Simi Valley Invitational. (Josh Barber photo)
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Just a sampling of awesome track and field performances from the weekend that was ...
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Coach Steve Ringgold's seventh annual Simi Valley Invitational became a two-day event in the time of COVID -- the schedule hopscotching over an odd football Friday night -- a track meet where relay teams and athletes took down more than a dozen at meet records.
This recordpalooza of an event experienced new standards in 15 events by 32 teams and athletes.
Among the many standouts were Calabasas hurdler Zachary Winger, who, in only his second time running the barriers, set meet records in the 110-meter hurdles (14.58/0.5) and the 300s (38.51). He had a hefty challenge in the elite 110-hurdle field from St. Francis junior Dario Rock, who also went under the previous record (14.86 from 2019) crossing in 14.82.
Oaks Christian senior Brooklyn Courtnall -- headed to USC for both soccer and track -- established a fresh 200-meter record (24.83, breaking the 2015 mark of 25.01), and had a hand in record relay performances by the OC teams in the 4x100 (48.17), 4x400 (4:01.16) and 800m SMR (1:53.37, which was runner-up to St. Mary's Academy, which won in 1:53.16).
Suarez, who is headed to Stanford and is a two-time State Meet medal winner over four laps, crossed in 4:55.43, shattering the 2017 MR of 5:08.61. Matarese, earmarked for Harvard, was second in 4:59.46. Oaks Christian freshman Payton Godsey also went under the previous mark, crossing in 5:04.46. Matarese had defeated Suarez in an 800-meter race run in a dual meet on April 1.
Matarese was also part of La Canada's distance medley relay team that outbattled Redondo Union on Thursday night in an MR run for both squads. Matarese brought home the victory and the MR with a closing 1600 lap of 73 for a 12:40.44 finish (old record: 12:53.24, 2018) with Redondo Union crossing in 12:43.55.
Courtnall's teammate Jahzara Richardson got in on the MR parade, crossing second in the 200 in 24.85 (also under the 25.01 previous mark), running lead on the 4x1 and taking a turn as part of the SMR.
Among other MR-setters at Simi:
- Royal Senior Angus Fitzgerald winning the 3200 in 9:18.35 (old: 9:28.30, 2019), and pulling four others under the old standard: JT McCoy (St. John Bosco) 9:20.03, Andrew Villapudua (South Pasadena) 9:24.13, Fabian Del Villar (Fillmore) 9:25.45, Nicolas DiConti (Gabrielino) 9:28.27.
- La Canada freshman Arielle McKenzie, who ran lead on the MR-setting DMR, established a new 800m mark of 2:15.80 (old: 2:18.11, 2015).
- Westlake senior, Paige Sommers, who established a national high school girls pole vault record of 14-8.50 the week before, battled a crosswind to a MR of 13-8, shattering the old mark of 11-3 from 2019. Three others also went above the previous meet best: Gabrielle Pack (Peninsula) 12-4, Tenly Kuhn (Oaks Christian) 11-4, and Julia Di Silvestri (Ventura) 11-4.
- St. Anthony senior London Lee and Burbank senior Jayla Flowers both went beyond the prvious best of 36-07.75 in the triple jump. Lee won with a best of 38-04.50 (NWI) with Flowers second in 37-01.50 (NWI).
- Agoura junior Ethan Godsey took down the 1600m mark of 4:24.25 from 2017) with a 4:22.01 where he closed in 63. Buena's Gavin Burns (4:23.76) and St. John Bosco's Christopher Chavez (4:24.08) also went under the previous record.
- Also on Thursday, Cathedral's boys 4x800 team shattered the 2018 mark of 8:20.17, as Bryce Granillo, Brandon Guerrero, Santiago Orozco, and Jose Ojeda dropped a state-leading 8:11.83. Granillo ran 59.9 on his second lap, Guerrero opened with a 58, and Ojeda went off on the anchor leg in 56.8 and closed in 63.3.
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DISTANCE FIESTA IN DUBLIN
The first of three Dublin Social Distance Fiesta meets held Saturday night (live-streamed on MileSplit) saw the Bellarmine College trio of the Topper Twins and Colin Peattie dominate the boys 3200, Luci Lambert win the battle with Samira Kennedy in the girls 800, and Albany junior Sophia Nordenholz go double-Sombrero winning both the 1600 and 3200 races.
The Bellarmine College Prep parade of Nolan Topper, Peattie and Galen Topper went 1-2-3 in the eight-lap race, with Nolan crossing in 9:02.34, Peattie in 9:04.80 and Galen Topper in 9:10.15, some 26 seconds ahead of the next fastest runner in merged results.
In the girls 800, Lambert, a senior at Sacred Heart Prep (CC) crossed in 2:16.52 with Kennedy, a sophomore at Castilleia (CC) the next fastest in 2:20.42.
Nordenholz won the 1600 in 4:57.89 -- just shy of Redwood (NC) grad Gillian Wagner's 2017 MR of 4:55.35 -- and doubled back later in the evening to run an unchallenged 10:40.16 in the 3200.
The first of the DSDF meets was limited to athletes from Alameda, San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties. The next two meets, scheduled for April 24 and May 22, are now able to expand to any school within 120 miles of Dublin High.
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DOUBLE-DUTY AT EAGLE-TRI
Over at Santa Margarita Catholic on Saturday, the Eagle Tri Meet with Mater Dei and Newport Harbor, two of the host school's boys throwers went from playing football on Friday night to competing in track on Saturday morning.
Senior Derek Wilkins, a defensive end/tight end for the football team, won the shot put with a best of 48-02 and was second in the discus throw (134-05). Zack Morris, an offensive tackle, won the DT in 139-00 and was second in the shot (45-10).
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CHANDLER (AZ) ROTARY
CA athletes made the trip over to Chandler (AZ) for the annual rotary meet where Golden Staters competed unattached or with clubs in the USATF portion of that event.
Standouts included Upland junior Delaney Crawford, compting for Cal Rising Stars, who won both the 100- and 200-meter dash races in 10.89 and 21.49 respectively.
Healdsburg senior Jack Vanden Heuvel, competing unattached, won the 800 in 1:55.14.
Trabuco Hills senior Carson Kaminski, competing unattached, was the class of the 300-meter hurdles, winning in 38.75 with the Upland sophomore duo of Kai Graves-Blanks (39.82) and Davis Davis-Lyric (40.39), competing for Cal Rising Stars, crossing in third and fourth.
San Bernardino Cajon junior Seth Johnson was a winner in the high jump (6-06.75) and runner-up in the long jump (21-07.50).
Stanford-bound Garrett Brown of La Costa Canyon (SD) set a San Diego Section record with a clearance of 17-00.75 for second in the competition behind professional Tray Oates, who won in 17-08.50.
Among CA girls in the desert, Ventura eighth-grader Sadie Engelhardt was third in the 1600 race won by Colorado high school jump Riley Stewart of Kokopelli Racing Team. Engelhardt, competing unattached, ran 4:48.73 behind Stewart's 4:45.76 lead.