Aaliyah McCormick moved to the top of the state rankings in both hurdles. (Photo by Angel Pena)
SAN DIEGO -- When Aaliyah McCormick was a freshman, she was a member of the Scripps Ranch (SD) state 4x100-relay championship team. It was said she was a good hurdler but because of academic deficiencies, she couldn't get a qualifying time, so she had to focus on the short relay.
Now, two years later, we know just how good she is in both hurdle races.
Facing Arcadia Invitational 300-meter champion Kapiolani Coleman of Cathedral Catholic in both events in the Western League Championships Friday at University City High, the Scripps Ranch junior clocked state-best times of 14.10 seconds in the 100-hurdles and 43.12 in the 300s.
The 14.10 is the second-fastest time in San Diego Section history, behind only the 13.86 by Cathedral Catholic's Dani Johnson in 2015, and superior to this year's state-leading 14.25 by San Diego's Charlize James. The 43.12 is faster than the previous yearly state best of 43.39 by Vacaville's Aspin Oliver.
"I was hoping to be in the 13s and 42 high or 43 low, so I'm happy," said the 16-year-old who set school records in both events, bettering her own marks of 14.42 and 44.99 run earlier this season. "I was glad Kapi was next to me in the 100s, she pushed me. In the 300s, I was outside so I kept pretending someone was coming up, so I had to go."
The 43.12 came despite McCormick almost coming to a stop on the final hurdle, stutter-stepping over the barrier. The 100s were aided by a legal 1.0 meter per second breeze. McCormick said she thought she'd run fast times because she was scared before the race, as she usually is when she runs well. "I just wanted to leave it all on the track," said McCormick. "This opens the door for the next step."
Other top girls' marks included a 5:05.28 and 10:54.01 distance double by Mira Mesa sophomore Mallory Asis and 13-feet in the vault by Scripps Ranch's Lexi Evans. "I was thinking of the mile all week," said Asis of her personal best 1600. "I was nervous until I got to the starting line and then I calmed down. That was fun."
As expected, the boys featured the 1600 where seven runners came in with bests between 4:20 and 4:23. Mira Mesa's Jyden Schmid had the superior kick, dipping under 4:20 at 4:18.67, with Point Loma's Jake Richardson (4:19.13), Mira Mesa's David Millan (4:20.52) and Point Loma's Manuel Correia (4:21.34) right behind. "I wanted to go out hard," said Schmid who instead found himself in the pack and decided to let the others, as he put it, 'do the work,' heading into the final lap. Then he was clearly the fastest and strongest over the last 200 meters. "It feels good to break 4:20," said Schmid. "It's especially good because the 800 wasn't as fast as we wanted."
Steve Brand is a regular contributor to MileSplitCA and serves as the San Diego Section editor.