Back to 'Normal,' State, Meet Records Fall at Mt. SAC Relays


Monte Vista (NC) junior Cate Peters won the 800-meters at the Mt. SAC Relays, running a PR time that now ranks No. 2 in the state and No. 4 in the nation. (Daniel Hernandez photo)

* * *


Raymond Tran Saturday Photos

Daniel Hernandez Saturday Photos

Daniel Hernandez Friday Night Photos


WALNUT -- Everyone's high school track and field schedule returned to normal when the 62nd Mount San Antonio College Relays, presented by Nike, resumed this past weekend following a six-year break from its home site. A two-year Covid-19 cancelation and before that a stadium renovation (2016-19) which had forced this traditional April Southern California meet to be hosted at alternate sites.

But the normalcy wasn't reserved only for the meet's return to the impressive Hilmer Lodge Stadium.

It is customary for this meet to see a bevy of talented athletes, ranging from current high school stars to college standouts and impressive Olympians competing here. Tops among the Olympians present Saturday was the world's most decorated female track athlete, former Los Angeles Baptist High star and 11-time Olympic medalist Allyson Felix, who competed in a winning 4x400 elite relay race.

"It's been a super cool and exciting day," said Clovis North's Takiya Cenci, the state leader in the 400, who finished runner-up in the 200 (at center in photo below) and the 4x400 relay. "The track is so nice and it's been fun to run on. Plus, Olympians are running on it so it's been even cooler."

Saturday's full schedule, and after a few distance races Friday night, spotlighted high school performers throughout California as well as strong representation across the United States. New state leaders emerged, a few lowered their already state-leading times and eight Mt. SAC meet track records fell.

The 800 meters events saw seven boys competitors, led by Long Beach Wilson's Marcel Mitchell-Francis and his 1 minute, 52.71 seconds time, go lower than the previous meet-best time of 1:55.17 by Thousand Oaks' Mitchell Burr in 2018. In the girls' 800, Monte Vista (NC) junior Cate Peters (2:06.89) and Chino (SS) senior Mia Chavez (2:08.08) both went below the 2018 meet record time of Rylee Penn of Centennial in 2:11.80.

"The track is so nice and it's been fun to run on. Plus, Olympians are running on it so it's been even cooler." - Takiya Cenci (Clovis North)

California leaders emerged in the boys' 100 and boys 4x100 relay and both involved St. John Bosco senior Rashon Luke.

Unabashed and energetic after both races, Luke thrived on the competition he experienced helping the Braves take the state lead in the 400 relay in 40.80. Luke anchored the all-senior team of Jaxon Harley, Jabari Bates and Jaceon Doss in the event.

Luke was edged in the boys' 100 by Nyckoles Harbor II from Archbishop Carroll in Washington D.C., who won in 10.28 (+0.9) seconds, but Luke's runner-up time of 10.32 was still enough to put him atop the California-based athletes' list of top marks.

Santa Clarita's Golden Valley girls' 4x100 relay team of senior Kylee Davis and juniors Ta'Ahjah Fann, Nevaeh Williams, and Adonijah Currie lowered its already state-leading mark by running a 46.03 time (previous best was 46.10). The win was one of three on the day for Golden Valley's Currie, who also captured the 200 in 23.65 (+2.6) and 400 in 53.69.

Long Beach Wilson's girls' 4x400 relay dropped its already state-leading time down to 3:43.87 (from 3:44.00). The team consists of Samarra Monrroy, Kaylan Edwards, Sadia Green and Aujane Luckey. Meanwhile, Los Angeles Cathedral's boys' 4x400 relay did win Saturday's race in 3:18.02, but did not improve on its already state-leading effort (3:15.80).

Scripps Ranch's Aaliyah McCormick won the girls' 100 hurdles in 13.77 (+0.6), lowering her state-best time a bit (previous best 13.82, -1.3). Another San Diego area standout and 300 hurdles state leader, Kapiolani Coleman of Cathedral Catholic (pictured), won her event in 42.73 but did not lower her state-best mark of 42.19.

Jadyn Marshall of Stockton St. Mary's, the state leader in the boys' 110 hurdles, won the invitational flight in 13.71 (+1.2).

Los Angeles Carson's Reign Redmond won the girls' 100-meter dash in 11.74 (+1.4).

While there were no state or meet records set in the field events, Murrieta Mesa's Cade Moran, state leader in both shot put and discus, won his events with top marks of 65 feet, 0.5 inches and 200 feet, 6 inches, respectively. He achieved the shot put mark on his third attempt and the discus mark on his first throw.

Kennedy Clarke of San Diego's Cathedral Catholic won the girls' discus and shotput, too. Clarke leads the state in the shotput (47-10), but her top throw of 41-10 was enough on Saturday. She went 138 feet to win the discus.

State-leading triple jumper JC Stevenson of Great Oak just missed equaling his top mark of 48-6 by winning with a 48-5.5 result.

Other field winners were St. John Bosco's Camryn O'Bannon (pictured) in the boys' long jump (23-9.5), Upland's Caelyn Harris, girls' long jump (19-10), state girls' pole vault leader Scripps Ranch's Lexi Evans won with a top mark of 13-0 (her state-leading best is 13-8), San Bernardino Cajon's Seth Johnson won the boys' high jump at 6-6, Long Beach Poly's Jillene Wetteland topped the girls' high jump field at 5-6 and Josephine Scales from Martin Luther King High won the girls' triple jump in 40-2.5.

Riverside Ramona's Gavin Hanes won the boys' pole vault, edging state leader Hunter O'Brien. Hanes went 16-2, but missed all three attempts at 16-4.75. O'Brien topped out at 15-8, but missed all three attempts at 16-2.

Several athletes left their mark on the Mt. SAC Relays record book. Upland's Christopher Coats ran to a win in the 400 in a meet-record time of 47.42, Yan Vazquez of Arizona's Red Mountain went 36.77 for the win in the boys' 300 hurdles, and Long Beach Poly's Jaelen Knox set a meet record in the 200 with a time of 20.85 (+2.9).

The oldest meet record to fall, from 1984, was in the boys' 440 shuttle hurdles. Upland's Delaney Crawford, DeQuan January Jr., Davis Davis-Lyric, and Kai Graves-Blanks (pictured) won in 56.77, nearly two seconds faster than the 58.60 previous best, and improving on the quartet's already-established state record. 

Speaking of unique relays, this meet gives the audience the chance to see athletes compete in different set-ups.

Following Friday night's national record performance by the Newbury Park girls' 4x1600 relay, the school's premier distance program set a state record in the boys' 4000 distance medley relay with a time of 9:55.24.

Nevada's Centennial girls won two relays, starting with the first invitational relay Saturday, the 4x100 shuttle hurdles in 1:04.70, and then later in the day, the 1,600 sprint medley relay in 4:08.62.

Other unique relay winners included Downey taking the boys' 1600 sprint medley relay in 3:35.16, San Diego's Del Norte winning the girls' 4000 distance medley relay in 11:56.19, Long Beach Poly girls' winning the 4x200 relay in 1:39.15 and Jordan won the boys' 4x200 relay in 1:28.01.

* * *

Ryan Blystone is a Southern California-based freelance writer and a regular contributor to MileSplit

Photos by Daniel Hernandez