MEETS ON TAP 10+ Girls to watch at Arcadia


Mira Costa (SS) senior Dalia Frias has developed into one of CA's all-time great distance runners. (Raymond Tran photo)

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We are absolutely back!  After having to cancel the Arcadia Invitational in 2020, and having to restrict to a California-only competition in 2021, the gloves (and masks) are off and we are back to celebrate the gathering of some of the top athletes from across the nation this weekend! 

The temperatures will not be the only thing sizzling this weekend so let's dive into the top California girls headliners that we are most anticipating this weekend!  

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Takiya Cenci (Clovis North/CS) - Sprints

Starting with the Central Section, the senior is coming off a monster weekend at the West Coast Relays that saw her lay down a national leading 53.19 performance for the 400 meters. Cenci is going after the 53.01 all-time Central Section record this Saturday, held by Buchanan's Hannah Waller (2016).  She also ran a 24.10 last weekend, to take over the state lead for the 200 meters. At Arcadia, she will forgo that event to focus on both relays, primarily the 4x400 where the Broncos are ranked second in the state at 3:47.50.

Kapiolani Coleman (Cathedral Catholic/SD) - Hurdles

A huge reason for the San Diego section's dominance comes in the form of Coleman, who is the California state leader with her 42.88 effort in the 300 Hurdles several weeks ago. While capturing the San Diego Section open meet in 2021, she is the defending 300 Hurdles champion from last year's Arcadia Invitational.  For wind-legal marks, she is #11 in the nation for the 100 Hurdlers and 12th in the longer hurdles!  She continues a tradition of excellence for the Dons as Coleman looks to become the third girl in their program (in the past eight seasons) to eclipse the 42-second threshold!  

Dalias Frias (Mira Costa/SS) - Distance

Two weeks ago, the Duke-bound senior erupted over the final 250 meters of the Mile at the APU Meet of Champions to not only outkick Sadie Engelhardt for the win but also breaking a 40-year California state record as she crossed in 4:35.06!  She put in a nice solo tune-up last Friday with a 2:09.88 for the 800-meters but looks to further cement her legacy in the 3200-meters!  Already running the ninth-fastest time in state history (9:59.94) and the fastest in the month of March, she is eyeing that state record held by Kim Mortenson (9:48.59, 1996)!

Sadie Engelhardt (Ventura/SS) - Distance

The freshman has been en Fuego all season long and looks to continue to build her resume in her Arcadia debut.  Fresh off running the 10th fastest 800-meters in state history (2:05.66) last weekend to become the national outdoor leader while breaking her own national freshman record for the mile (4:36.63) the weekend before, she is ready for another moment in the spotlight! Keep in mind, that she has already run a 10:00.60, which currently ranks second in the nation outdoors for the 3200 meters and is #10 on the all-time state list.  She is No. 4 on the all-time California list for the 1600 meters.  Could we see Dalia Frias' new state record in the Mile go down?  Stay tuned...

Charlize James (San Diego/SD) - Hurdles

Staying home to compete for San Diego State next year, James is currently second in all of California for the 100 Hurdles (14.00 wind-legal) and third in the state in the 300 Hurdles (43.78).  She captured the 2021 San Diego Section-open meet and is the defending Arcadia Invitational champion in the 100 Hurdles from a year ago and is currently No. 8 in the nation.  She looks to improve her lifetime best of 43.75 in the 300 Hurdles while the terrific trio from the San Diego section owns the top three spots in the state for both hurdles! 

Aaliyah McCormick (Scripps Ranch/SD) - Hurdles

The San Diego Section has dominated the hurdles the past two seasons and McCormick has been right at the top of that action.  The defending San Diego Section Division 2 champion in both hurdles, the senior established a new San Diego-section record of 13.85 a year ago and is coming off a clean, 13.86 wind-legal performance two weeks ago. While currently fifth in the nation there, her 43.75 seasonal best in the 300 Hurdles is second in California. 

Samantha McDonnell (Newbury Park/SS) - Distance

Coming off a foot injury that sidelined her in the opening months of 2022, the University of Alabama-bound senior looked as sharp as ever in her 2:08.33 debut two weeks ago for the 800 meters. But, what went under the radar to most was her 4:56.77 / 10:44.90 tune-up in a dual meet last week which indicates that she is ready to challenge Engelhardt in the Mile this Saturday evening.  She and the freshman plan to push one another down below 4:40, while do not forget that McDonnell ran a 4:43.11 for the full mile last June!

Feyi Olukanni (Clovis East/CS) - Throws

Displaying some nice improvement here in 2022, the senior is coming off a 43-10.5 lifetime best in the Shot Put, propelling to second in California and into the top 20 in the nation.  Meanwhile, she looks to improve upon her 153-7 seasonal best from several weeks ago, ranking her atop the list in the state while also moving her up No. 8 in the United States.

Reign Redmond (Carson/LA) - Sprints

The defending 2021 Arcadia Invitational Champ is back and has been undefeated the last two seasons in the 100 meters!  Against a stellar field two weeks ago in San Diego, she rolled to a wind-legal 11.77 but now returns to the same track where she ran her lifetime best of 11.75 last May.  While impressing with a best of 24.41 last week at the West Coast Relays, she will place all of her focus this weekend on the 100 and on anchoring her 400 relay squad, which is currently fifth in California with a 47.14 clocking.  

Buchanan's Distance Girls

The quartet of Sydney Sundgren (4:53.13), Sierra Cornett (4:53.71), Grace Hutchison (4:54.19), and Elle Lomeli (4:58.61) is locked and loaded to take on the group from Niwot, Colorado in what will be the fastest 4x1600 Relay in national prep history!  Added up, Buchanan projects to break 19:40, and establish a new national record in the process!  But, that same Niwot group that captured the Garmin Runninglane XC Championship with a 112-140 advantage over the Bears last December may beat them to the line when the dust settles!  Three teams should break the 20:00 minute standard of excellence!

California Pole Vaulters Take on the Nation's Best

Fresh off establishing a new national record of 14-9.5 last weekend, California's nationally-ranked crew will take on Capital's  (Olympia, Washington) Amanda Moll and sister, Hana who elevated up over the 14-8 pole this past Winter!  With the majority hailing from the North San Diego County juggernaut of athletic excellence, Dublin's Jathiyah Muhammad continues her amazing improvement, coming off a 13-7 effort two weekends ago.  Meanwhile, the contingent from North San Diego County will shine as well!  Del Norte's Allison Leigh (14-0), Lexi Evans of Scripps Ranch (13-8), and Poway's Evangeline Thomson (13-3) are the top stars in a loaded lineup for the Pole Vault.

JSerra (SS) Distance Relay Crew

The quartet of Ashlee Gallegos, Georgia Jeanneret, Anastasia Snodgrass, and Brook O'Brien is primed to take over the national lead (8:57.39) to kick off the festivities on Friday afternoon in the 4x800 Relay.  The California state record is 8:58.00 (Long Beach Poly, 2003).  In that relay, Sydney Paulson will step in for O'Brien, thus leaving her with fresh legs for that 4x1600 Relay later Friday evening. The Lions project to break the state record of 19:52.88 (Great Oak, 2016) but will have to click on all cylinders to do so against two of the top distance groups in the United States in Buchanan (CE) and Niwot out of Colorado!  Finally, they also project to break 11:50 in Saturday night's Distance Medley Relay, which would take over the national lead (11:53.51) and cap off a truly incredible weekend!

Mark Gardner is a teacher, former coach, popular announcer, and a regular contributor to MileSplit

Staff photos by DeAnna Turner, Jeffrey Parenti, and Raymond Tran.