CIF-STATE MEET PREVIEW Closer Look At the Relays


* * *


* * *

Next in a series of event-group previews

The California State Track and Field meet will lead off the running events with the fastest relay event as the fastest 4x100-meter relay teams in the state will be crowned on Saturday following the national anthem. The last two events of Saturday evening will feature arguably the most exciting event in Track and Field, the "mile relay" or more accurately now, the 4x400-meter relay team. There will be lots of drama during both trials and finals as batons may be dropped and super impressive legs will garner the coveted "WOOOO!" from the stands.

For now, here is my best attempt to highlight the favorites as well as the potential contenders and teams that could score an upset.


4x100 Meter Relay

State Meet Record: 40.24 (Hawthorne (LA),1989)

The favorite to win this event for the boys is Central (CS), which bested the most competitive section meet this past Saturday. They won the coveted Arcadia Invitational title and just won the SS Masters meet with a time of 40.63. This would be their first state title in this event if they can continue their impressive season at Buchanan HS.

The leading contenders will be Serra (SS) which chased Central with a 41.14 season-best. Granada Hills (LA) won their section with a time of 41.34 and might have time for improvement, provided they are chasing those two Southern Section teams.

4x400 Meter Relay

State Meet Record: 3:08.42 (Serra (SS), 2010)

The absolute main event of the evening is always the final event which is the boys' 4 x 400 relay. You won't see too many fans leaving early before the finish of this event. Cathedral (SS) rolled their section final to post the fastest time of the season in this event at 3:13.98.

Long Beach Wilson (SS) has been the 2nd best team this season and posted two similar efforts in their last two races with a best of 3:14.20. Rocklin (SJS) will be in the hunt as well as they posted a 3:16.62 to win their section final and appear to have their superstar sprinter Nathan Kent solely running on this relay. Watch out for him on the anchor leg.


4x100 Meter Relay

State Meet Record: 44.70 (St. Bernard (SS),1997)

The favorite to win this relay is Golden Valley (SS). They recorded the fastest time of the season at 45.98 as they captured the SS Masters meet. Golden Valley was also the top CA team at the Arcadia Invitational losing only to the fastest team in the nation, Westlake, Georgia. 

Golden Valley's main competition should be very familiar as the 2nd place team, Serra (SS), also ran a season-best of 46.19 to keep Golden Valley within striking distance. Traditional power Long Beach Poly (SS) will battle it out in the 3rd heat on Friday as they both will look to qualify for another shot at Golden Valley. (Roosevelt, among the favorites, has scratched.)

The best teams from the other sections are St. Mary's, Stockton (SJS) which won their section meet with a season-best of 46.66. Carson, (LA) won their section with a time of 46.85 and has a coaching staff very familiar with success in this event as they won the 2016 title.

4x400 Meter Relay

State Meet Record: 3:35.49 (Long Beach Poly (SS), 2004)

It's not often that the favorite here is not from the Southern Section, but we have such a possible scenario this year. The Clovis North girls come in with the fastest time from all the section finals with their 3:47.33. But as you look deeper into the numbers, the Long Beach Wilson (SS) girls had the 2nd fastest time from all the section meets and defeated the Clovis North girls at the Mt. SAC Invitational with their season-best time of 3:43.87.

The other contenders include the Poway (SDS) girls who ran their season-best time of 3:49.93 to win their section final. Another team that has dipped under the 3:50 mark is Calabasas (SS). They ran 3:49.82 at the Arcadia Invitational to finish in 3rd place behind the already mentioned Long Beach Poly and Clovis North teams.

* * *

Albert Caruana is a Track and Field coach in Northern CA and a frequent contributor to MileSplitCA.

Photos by DeAnna Turner, Daniel Hernandez, and Raymond Tran