ARCADIA Inland Duo of Moran, Stevenson, Double in the Field


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This is one in a series of event-group recaps from the 54th Arcadia Invitational. Check back for updates. 

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ARCADIA -- Inland Southern California has a long history of track and field excellence. The 2022 version was on display at the 54th Arcadia Invitational, most notably in the field events where three athletes from the region known as "The IE" brought home six gold medals in the elite invitational competition on Saturday night. 

Murrieta Mesa senior Cade Moran, who had already had himself a stellar week before even getting to Thursday, swept the throws competition.

Great Oak senior JC Stevenson, not too far removed from basketball season, needed late heroics to sweep the horizontal jumps.

Riverside King junior Alyssa Hope, competing without her teammate and jumping partner, proved that her-out-of-nowhere early-season marks were more than legit, winning the triple jump.

Eastvale Roosevelt senior Hunter O'Brien cleared 16-9 to win the pole vault and move into the top 5 in the U.S. rankings.

On a night that celebrated the return of high school track and field full time with boisterous support from an overflow crowd, field event highlights were shared equally among CA athletes and those who made the trip from out of state.

Elite visitors to the Golden State are going home with their share of Arcadia gold, highlighted by the near-national record performance in the girls pole vault but Olympia (WA) Capital HS junior Amanda Moll defeated her twin Hana with a 14-4 clearance. Hana maxed out at 13-10.

After her winning clearance, Amanda pushed the bar to a national-record height of 15 feet and had two extremely close attempts at the unprecedented height. Moll, who cleared 14-9 indoors in February, is the U.S. leader with the No. 2 all-time performance at Arcadia.

Del Norte (SD) senior Allison Leigh, Scripps Ranch (SD) senior Lexi Evans, Dublin (NC) sophomore Jathiyah Muhammad, and West Jordan (UT) Copper Hills HS senior Brielle Davis all cleared 13-4. 

JaiCieonna Gero-Holt, a freshman from South Hill (WA) Emerald Ridge HS, won the high jump, becoming just the second girl in the country to clear 6-0, equalling the No. 2 jump in meet history.

Whitney (SJ) junior Ashanti Elie was second at 5-10, a new CA leader, with senior Brooke Naughton of Fort Collins (CO) HS, Hannah Butler of Buchanan (CS), and Hannah Slover of Los Gatos (CC) all clearing 5-8. 

Cathedral Catholic (SD) senior Kennedy Clarke, already the CA leader, won the girls shot put with a best of 44-6.50. Bothell (WA) HS junior Haedyn Bambolo was second at 42-9.50 with Jacoba Luteyn of Boise (ID) Bishop Kelly HS third at 42-5.50. 

Clarke was third in the discus throw at 144-5, and event won by Richland (WA) Hanford HS senior Katie Gelston at 156-00. Clovis East (CS) senior Feyi Olukanni was second at 150-1. 

Elias Gerald, a senior from Westlake (UT) won the boys high jump with a clearance of 6-9. Stelle Canyon (SD) senior Leon Gillis, Chula Vista Eastlake (SD) senior Justin Cardoza, and Phoenix (AZ) Brophy College Prep junior Brennen McHenry all cleared 6-7. 

The Inland region added a silver medal in the girls long jump as Upland (SS) senior Caelyn Harris went 19-9 (1.3) falling just short of the winning jump of Golden Valley (SS) senior Kylee Davis, whose 19-10 on her fourth of six attempts held up for the win. The Alabama-bound Harris knew what she needed to jump on her final attempt and fell just an inch short. Ogden (UT) Freemont HS junior Amare Harlan was third at 19-7 in a competition where the top six all went 19-plus. 

In the stellar boys long jump, Stevenson had the three best jumps of the competition, going 24-0.75 on his second attempt, 24-3 on his fifth, and closing strong with a 24-9 on his sixth attempt. Golden Valley (SS) senior Elijha Ellis was second at 24-0, and another IE athlete, Elijah Yoshinaga of Elsinore (SS), was third at 23-10.50. All of those jumps were wind legal. Stevenson's mark is No. 8 in meet history.

Stevenson's breakout performance in the long jump was fueled, he said, by a disappointing -- to him -- performance in the triple jump where he needed a 48-3.75 on his sixth and final attempt to beat Yoshinaga, whose 47-5.75 from his second attempt looked like it would be a winner until Stevenson's final jump. 

Hope, who along with senior teammate Josie Scales, has quickly ascended to the top of the state leaderboard in the triple jump, went 40-3.25 to beat Mission Viejo (SS) junior Jada Gatlin (39-10.50) and Los Alamitos (SS) senior Mackenzie Kirk (39-9.50). 

JSerra (SS) junior Brendon See used his sixth and final attempt in the discus throw to uncork a huge 197-11 PR that looked like a meet winner. That is until Murrieta Mesa's Moran stepped into the ring one final time. On a week where he threw a state-best and U.S. No. 3 mark of 199-8 in a dual meet, he followed that up with a sixth-attempt 198-4 to take the Arcadia title. Moran's best of his series to that point was a 196-8 from his second attempt. Redondo Union (SS) junior Kai Deines placed third at 183-1. 

The shot put -- where the University of Michago-bound Moran was already the national leader from his 64-7.50 at Wednesday's dual -- was Moran's from the first attempt when he threw 63-6.50. His first four throws were in the 63s. But that was just a warm-up for his final two throws of 65-1 and 66-10, the winning mark equalling the No. 5 best in meet history.

Winning the pole vault was a grind for O'Brien, who had first-attempt misses at both 15-3 and 15-9 and then was clean on his first vault at 16-9. Landon Helms, a senior from Emmett (ID), who came in U.S. No. 3 with a best of 17-2, opened at 15-9, but didn't move on until his third attempt. It took another three attempts for the visitor to get over 16-3. While Helms went out at 16-9, O'Brien cleared it on his second attempt to win the competition. He then took three attempts at 17-0 before collecting his championship medal. 

Connor Wilson of Mesa (AZ) Mountain View HS was third at 15-9. 

O'Brien's mark is the 10th best in meet history. 

Photos/Interviews by Jeffrey Parenti