ARCADIA Field Events Stars Hit State-Leading Marks

Paige Sommers moved up to third on the all-time list at Arcadia with her victory Saturday night. (Jeffrey Parenti photo)

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This article was updated 5/11 at 9:15 a.m. to reflect the post-meet disqualification of an athlete.

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ARCADIA - Those track fans looking for records of almost any sort heading into the Arcadia Invitational Saturday would quickly have identified both the boys and girls pole vault as the most likely candidates.

After all, National record-holder Paige Sommers of Westlake (SS) topped the girls event at 14-8.50 and she figured to at least get a little push from 2019 state champion Ashley Callahan of Rancho Bernardo (SD), who soared 14-feet just two days earlier.

Then there was the boys vault where La Costa Canyon (SD) senior Garrett Brown has also recorded an elite mark by clearing 17-1, ironically also on Thursday, after earlier reaching 17-0.75. The 17-1 is the No. 3 mark in the nation.

While there were indeed some quality marks -- four state leaders and one equaled in field events at the venerable  Arcadia meet -- the pole vaults were not two of them.

Oh, Sommers and Brown won, as expected, but neither was particularly thrilled with their marks -- 13-9 for Sommers and 16-3 for Brown.

Instead, focusing on Arcadia's invitational field events, season bests in the Golden State that is suffering from a serious lack of competition due to Coronavirus limitations were recorded by:

-- Escondido San Pasqual (SD) senior Elise Miller, who again proved she was a big-meet competitor by hitting a wind-legal 41-1 on her final triple jump of the night. That was clearly superior to the 40-6 she hit earlier this season.

-- Downey's Ugonna Ikejiofor, who reached 190-2 in the boys discus, well beyond the previous state-leading 187-1 by Garces Memorial's Zach Buckey.

-- Clearly conditions in the discus throw were optimal as Bakersfield Liberty's Isabella Rigby kicked up dirt at 163-9, easily superior to the 160-11 by Galadriel Mellion of Weston Ranch (SJ).

-- Sherman Oaks Notre Dame's Hope Gordon pushed her own leading shot put mark out to 45-7.25, leaving her yearly best of 44-3 well behind.

-- Vista Murrieta's Darius Hill moved into a tie for the top mark in the state in the high jump at 6-9 with La Canada St. Francis' Leland Lieberg. He missed all three attempts at 6-11.

-- Cameron Tarver, a junior from Fresno Central (CS) won the invitational long jump (23-06.00/2.1) to beat Cameron Willis, a senior from Poway (SD), by .75 of an inch. Tarver's mark ranks CA No. 2 for all-conditions jumps.

-- In a battle of juniors, Jason Thompson of Harvard Westlake (SS) won the triple jump (47-02.00) over Camryn O'Bannon of St. John Bosco (SS), who had a best of 46-09.00 (2.7).

Still another athlete, Long Beach St. Anthony's Asjah Atkinson, won the long jump with a near state-best 19-7.25 and then actually took the lead after clocking a 13.85 en route to winning the 100-meter hurdles. Both of those marks were wiped off the books when it was learned that Atkinson had competed in a dual meet earlier in the day, a violation of CIF rules, prompting her post-meet disqualification of both marks.

Both vaulters were pleased to win but disappointed with themselves at the same time.

"I'm not happy with that mark," said Sommers, who at least avenged that State Meet loss two years ago to Callahan. "I need to work on my technique.  Maybe I need to go back to the Big Red Barn."

Sommers, who is headed to Duke, set her record at the series of pole vault-only competitions in a converted parking lot in Menifee.

Brown is suffering from a severe lack of competition as no one else in the state has even cleared 16-feet. He started at 14-9 and made first-attempt clearances at 15-3, 15-9, and 16-3.  When the bar went to 16-9, he changed poles but did not appear comfortable.

"I should have changed (to the 15-7/190 pole) that I used to clear 17-1 earlier," said Brown, who also was disappointed when he arrived and saw the event would be held with a crosswind instead of a tailwind. "That was definitely a big factor. I think I'll get 17-4 before the end of the season."

Miller said everything came together on her final triple jump as the wind died to 0.0 after a hefty breeze helped her finish second in the long jump at 19-1. With Atkinson's DQ, Miller emerges as a double winner in the horizontal jumps at Arcadia.

"The long jump helped warm me up for the triple jump," said Miller. "I finally got what I wanted -- a 41-footer. It just showed that hard work paid off.  

"It really was hard to stay motivated during the Coronavirus. Now I want the (San Diego) section record (41-8.25 set way back in 1987 by Mount Miguel's Jackie Anderson)."

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Photos by Jeffrey Parenti