PREVIEW Despite Ominous Forecast, Some Meets Storming Ahead

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This article was updated 2/25 with more details.

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So, the National Weather Service earlier this week hit my Twitter with the rarest of notices: Blizzard Warning!


A first such thing in more than three decades.

" ... Winter storm warning now in effect until 4 a.m. PST Friday. ... Blizzard warning in effect from 4 a.m. Friday to 4 p.m. PST Saturday."

The targeted area is the Ventura County Mountains and Los Angeles County Mountains. The notice screamed out in all-caps, summarized as low-elevation snow, strong winds, and very cold wind chills. It states that the Blizzard Warning calls for heavy snow with winds gusting up to 75 mph, and near zero visibility. By Saturday night, 2-5 feet of total snow accumulation is likely above 4,000 feet ... accumulations of 6-12 inches likely between 2000-4000 feet, including most major mountain passes. 

High school track coaches with meets scheduled for this weekend quickly went into scramble mode, evaluating the forecast for the weekend, the prospects for a rescheduled date, and the value of maintaining status quo and weathering the pending storm. 

Initially, the Mustang Roundup at Trabuco Hills was move to March 4. Saddle-Up at Vista Murrieta was reset for March 11. The two-day Trevor Habberstad meet was canceled with a replacement date uncertain.

On Thursday morning, after rain, wind, cold and snow hit the Fresno/Clovis region, Brian Weaver called off Friday afternoon's Buchanan Distance Classic. A first for him, he said. 

Not long after that announcement, came word that the Bobbie Bass Sprint Carnival at Clovis HS would also be canceled.

And there may be more changes out there from what was originally a packed Saturday calendar. 

What is certain, two of the marquee SoCal meets on the calendar are still planning to go forward: TrackRabbit at Long Beach Poly and the Thousand Oaks Invitational. If the weather is halfway decent, both should be outstanding early-season showcases with some of the state's top athletes. 

About the weather. The forecast for both regions is for temperatures in the mid-to-high 40s, with a strong chance of rain for much of the day, and a chance of thunderstorms. Of course we knew to expect a longer winter when Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow on Feb. 2. If only groundhogs were track and field fans.

Anyway ...

TrackRabbit Invitational

The meet at Long Beach Poly, which pushed its start time back to 10 a.m., includes among its lineup of programs, Great Oak (SS), Helix Charter (SD), with elite athletes also from the likes of Redondo Union (SS), South Torrance (SS), and Upland (SS).

At the TrackRabbit, Poly junior Xai Ricks, who blew up the winter track session, is scheduled to run the 800-meter leg in the Jackrabbits' sprint medley relay team, and also on the mixed 4x400m relay. 

Helix senior Adren Parker, the San Diego Section record-holder for 400m, is scheduled to run in the 200m and on legs of the 4x100m and 4x400m relays. Helix went 42.36 to win here last year.

Helix frosh Brandon Arrington, who won the 150m at the CA Winter Championships, is scheduled in the 100m, and as part of the Highlanders relay team, which figures to be one to watch from here through the State Meet at the end of May. Sophomore Lawrence Burston is another Helix sprint standout. 

Poly senior Javon Hampton is scheduled in the 100m and the long jump, where a year-ago here he popped a 23-10.50 PR that stands as the top returning mark in CA. 

Redondo Union senior Dylan Curtis, one of the state's top returning pole vaulters, already exceeded his previous PR at three meets this winter, including a 15-8 PR for second place at Winter Champs. Curtis placed second here last year at 14-3.

The boys 200m lineup is a who's-who of Class of 2026 future stars with Arrington, and the Poly duo of Malachi Dawson and Noah Smith

Upland senior Davis-Davis Lyric and Helix junior Shon Martin went 1-3 in the 60m hurdles at Winter Champs and these two very well could take that battle over both the 110m hurdles and 300m hurdles all the way to the State Meet. They are scheduled in both races here. 

Great Oak's stellar distance program - boys won the CIF-State D-I cross country title and the girls won the Southern Section team crown - are well represented here. Junior Gabriel Rodriguez is the top qualifier for 800m on the boys side, and CIF-SS D-1 cross country champion Kelli Gaffney, is the top runner entered in the 1600m. 

Top girls scheduled to compete include Poly's Camille Lindsay in the 800m, Kennadi Reed in the sprints and hurdles, Ari'yona Smith in the sprints, and sophomore Jillene Wetteland, the returning meet champion in the high jump. Additionally for the Jackrabbits, junior Anise Becker, a transfer from Carson (LA) is scheduled in both hurdles. She won won the LAC Section 300m hurdles title last spring.

Competition over the barriers will include Edison seniors Lindy Tarvin and Sophia Menchine, and junior Harlee Thomas. Add Reed as the top seed to that group in the 300s as the returning meet champion (44.24).

Among others ladies in the program include Helix junior Laraigh Allen in the sprints and relays, and junior Mackenzie Monson of South Torrance in the throws. Allen was third here last year in both the 100m (12.19) and 200m (25.23).

The Poly girls will be in the middle of the track for the sprint relays - varsity girls 4x1 and 4x2 champions here last year - but figure to face a hearty challenge in the 4x100m from a top-seeded Lakewood lineup of Jai'ya Jones, Amaya Rice, Ziann Jefferson, and La'Naya Hill-Muhammad with an entry time of 47.95, and a Helix lineup of Asia Brussard, Laraigh Allen, Shealynne Swift, and Chanel Burton with an entry time of 48.01.

Thousand Oaks Invitational

Live Results

Thousand Oaks Invitational at Thousand Oaks HS, scheduled to start at 9 a.m., has 20-something schools and roughly 1,400 athletes from the likes of Etiwanda (SS), Loyola (SS), Newbury Park (SS), Simi Valley (SS), Highland (SS), among them.

Events to watch at Thousand Oaks begin with the distances, where members of Newbury Park's championship cross country teams are scheduled to compete.

On the boys side, that starts with the 1600m where seniors Aaron Sahlman, Brayden Seymour, Aaron Cantu and junior Dev Doshi from the section, state, and national cross country championship team are in the meet program for the four-lap race. That field also includes Highland senior Matthew Donis, coming off an exceptionally successful XC season, and Etiwanda junior Gabriel Castillo Etiwanda (4:18 credentials).

The girls 1600m is equally stacked with returning CIF-State 800m champion MacKenzie Browne (J.W. North), Newbury Park senior Ailish Hawkins (UCLA recruit), and sophomore Tiffany Sax, plus Texas-bound Peninsula senior Aishling Callanan, and Viewpoint's stellar senior JiaLian Mackey, all with sub-4:57 credentials.

Browne is also scheduled in the 400m, to be challenged by Agoura senior Savannah King (both with sub-57 resumes), Highland sophomore Lanai Gant (57.00), and Callanan (58.00). 

Other standouts include:

- Thousand Oaks senior Jeremy Frank, the class of the field in both the 110m hurdles (14.84) and 300mH (39.75). He's also in the 4x400m relay pool.

- Oak Park senior Kymara Brodie, the top seed in both the 100m (11.93) and 200m (24.90). 

- Highland senior Saheed Free, the top seed in the 100m (10.77) and 200m (22.11). He's also scheduled in the 4x100m relay and the 800m sprint medley. 

- Valley View senior Leylah Diaz in the 300m hurdles (45.47). She's also scheduled in the 100m dash, triple jump, and is in the 4x400m relay pool.

Sampling of Other Meets on the Saturday Calendar

- Glenn Poole Invitational at Oakmont HS in Roseville (Sac-Joaquin Section) where they are expecting upwards of 30 teams including Bella Vista, Del Campo, Del Oro, Folsom, Granite Bay, Jesuite, Pleasang Grove, Franklin - Elk Grove, and Woodcreek among them.

- Brea Relays at Brea Olinda HS (Southern Section) where they are expecting 20-plus teams including Damien, El Monte, Foothill - Santa Ana, Fullerton, La Serna, Valencia-Placentia, and Yorba Linda among them.

- Super 7 at Ygnacia Valley HS in Concord (North Coast Section) is expecting 20-plus teams including Dougherty Valley, Monte Vista, Long Beach Wilson, Pittsburg, De La Salle, College Park, Foothill - Pleasanton, and Bellarmine College Prep among them.

- Skyline Invitational at Skyline HS in Oakland, including Crystal Springs Uplands, Lick Wilmerding, Castlemont, Oakland Tech, Moreau Catholic, and St. Mary's College Prep among them.