RECAP Record-Setting Day at CA Winter Track Championships

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ARCADIA -- Whenever something significant happens, often the first order of business is to question and search for answers. For several athletes competing in Saturday's seventh annual California State Winter Track and Field Championships at Arcadia High School, turning in meet record-setting performances in early February was treated as a reward for hard work, for understanding what they are capable of doing, and a general desire to put forth their best effort when they know the competition is there alongside them.

There was a state championship-type quality in play here as this was a culmination of several qualifying meets held throughout the state in January. There were 1,200 qualified, unattached athletes from those meets who descended onto sunny Arcadia High's stadium. Winners among this large group of competitors ran the gamut, from San Diego and the Coachella Valley to Long Beach and Los Angeles in Southern California to Stockton, Palo Alto and Menlo in Northern California.

(Athletes compete in winter meets unattached or as part of a club but we list high schools for identification purposes.)

Only one field event had a meet record occur, but it was quite significant. Castaic High junior Meagan Humphries shattered the girls' high jump meet mark of 5-5 with a finishing effort of 5-10.25. She successfully made jumps of 5-1, 5-3, 5-5, 5-7, and 5-9 before clearing her finishing record-setting height on her third attempt. She did attempt 6-0 three times but did not achieve that particular goal -- yet.

"We were looking for six feet and unfortunately it did not come today, but we will be looking forward to that in the future," said Humphries, who also ran and won the 300-meter race in 38.20, a mark that was just shy of breaking the meet record of 38.12 set by Norco's Shae Anderson in 2017.

"I'm really happy how I performed in the 300. I suspected I could run 38, but I didn't think it would be that low," she said.

There were athletes who came into this meet looking to continue where they left off last track season.

One such performer was Carson's Reign Redmond, the defending CIF State champion in the 100-meter dash (11.56), who on Saturday captured the 60- and 150-meter dash events and set meet records in both.

Redmond went 7.38 in the 60, snapping the previous best of 7.50 that had been set in 2016 by Long Beach Poly's Ariyanna Augustine. Oaks Christian's Niya Clayton was second at 7.51.

Redmond's 60 record came after competing in a prelims heat at the very start of the meet so officials could whittle the large, competitive field down to 36 runners in four sections. Redmond also had the best prelims time of 7.56.

She came back later to add the 150 dash to her medal and meet records count, going 17.69 to seize it, topping the 18.11 in 2020 by Madison's Aysha Shaheed.

"In my mind I was trying to think, 'try to break the record, try to break the record' but I didn't actually think I could do it," Redmond said of the 60 win.

When she did, she joyfully celebrated the moment with her teammates. She also felt the performance was a sign of good things that could help her going forward.

"It definite showed me that my block start is getting better," she said. "Without my block start getting better, I don't think I would have been able to do this."

In the 150 race, her biggest goal was to "attack it hard, as hard as I can around the curve and try to run through the whole race, not slow down, and just push."

Not only did Redmond succeed in her quest, but she had company in this blisteringly fast event, of which there were nine sections. Redmond was the fastest of seven female 150 runners who bested Shaheed's meet record time.

The Gardena-based Serra girls, the defending CIF-State team champions, returned to the winner's spot and also got in meet record mode by winning the 4x200 relay race in 1:38.94. Serra edged Golden Valley at the finish in the second of two girls relay final section with the latter going 1:38.95.

Serra's group, in order of running, was Brazil Neal, Sadia Green, Zakiyah Wilson and Mia Flowers. Their performance, as well as Golden Valley's effort, shattered the previous best of 1:40.43 set in 2018 by a Rancho Nevada relay team.

"This really shows how hard we worked," Green said. "Our job was to come out, show up and show out, improve and focus on us and not the rest. That's what we did."

Wilson didn't mince words on what winning this relay is indicative of and where this program is capable of being as it begins defense of its state title. "We're here to tell the world that Serra's coming for you."

Added Neal, who is the defending CIF State 200-meter champion and 100 State runner-up, who is revving up for a new year and has a renewed desire, "We won the title last year and we know we have a big target on our backs. We can't win last year and not come back this year."

Meanwhile, there are those whose effort here shows signs of promise for what's ahead as the true outdoor CIF season begins later this month.

One of the best efforts among the boys' performances was seeing Long Beach Poly's Xai Ricks take down a 2016 meet record in the 600-meter run. Ricks was by himself, going 1:16.13, shattering the old meet mark of 1:18.91 set by Great Oak's Isaac Cortes.

"I was just trying to get out fast," said Ricks, whose mindset wasn't so much on getting the meet record, but was a bonus for the work he put in to win the race. Running the 600, not the 400 or 800, meant Ricks sought to get the best for what was needed in those events and mesh it together in a 600.

"I was focused on having the speed and endurance for the 400 and the stamina for the 800," said the junior runner who also finished second in the 300 (33.23).

There was competition to be had at this meet, but when the results flushed out, Ricks' effort was followed in the 600 by Long Beach Poly teammates, Lamarr Kirk (1:20.31) and Cameron Rhone (1:21.82).

"I know where (runners) are behind me, whether close up or far back. I just wanted to be consistent with the same speed and keep pushing," Ricks said.

In all there were 10 meet records set and another dozen athletes or relay teams went under the previous meet standard. 

Justin Pretre, a Cal-bound senior at the Menlo School in the Central Coast Section, defended his title in the 1500 meter run, going 3 minutes, 54.57 seconds to not only go under his 4:01 qualifying time but shatter the previous MR of 3:57.66 set by Spencer Dodds of Great Oak in 2016. His Menlo iGreyhounds club teammate, Grant Morgenfeld of Palo Alto (CC), also went under the Dodds standard, running 3:55.56.

Morgenfeld came back later in the meet to take down the 3K standard, running 8:32.30, with an enormous challenge from Hayden Owen of St. Francis (SS), who ran 8:35.73 - also under the 2020 benchmark of 8:40.46 by another Great Oak athlete, Gabriel Abbes. 

Pretre, along with sophomore brother Landon, William Hauser and Aiden Deffner took down the 4x800-meter relay mark running 7:56.14. Great Oak ran 8:02.75 to also go under the previous time set by the 2019 Great Oak boys at 8:02.91.

More on the standout distance performances in a separate article. 

Ryan Blystone is a freelance writer and an associate editor for MileSplit

Photos by Raymond Tran and Josh Barber

MileSplit California State editor Jeffrey Parenti contributed to this article