REDONDO BEACH -- A slew of top performances -- both at the varsity and freshman-sophomore levels -- highlighted the two-day Redondo Union High School Nike Track Festival.
Despite a rainy Friday night, Long Beach Millikan senior Jason Parra went a state-leading and meet-record time of 8:58.30 in the 3200 and Temecula's Great Oak girls 4x800 relay team went a state-low 9:39.23. Parra's time shaved nearly eight seconds off the previous state best for 2023 and Great Oak's relay time was a two-plus second improvement.
Great Oak also got things going for the frosh-soph contingent when sophomore Westin Brown set a meet record in the boys FS 3200 with a 9:26.23, a time that lowered the meet's previous best by nearly 17 seconds.
Saturday brought a full-on record-setting day for several athletes. The overcast and misty daytime weather, which later on became a soupy fog that hung over the track until the last few races, did not dampen the athletes' efforts.
Great Oak's Brown made it a doubly good weekend with a FS 1600 meet record time of 4:22.54, which shaved seven-plus seconds off the previous mark. The 1600 races for lower-levels took place Saturday morning at nearby Torrance West High School.
Redondo Union boys pole vaulter Dylan Curtis took over the state lead by clearing 15-9 on his second attempt, a move aided by using a 16-foot pole for the first time in competition. Curtis took three runs at 16-2, the strongest of which was his third attempt. His effort puts him on a collision course with Clovis Buchanan's Hilton Green, last year's CIF State runner-up, who was not in attendance. Curtis surpassed Green's 15-5 to take the state lead in 2023.
The other prime record-setting effort came in the boys 100-meter dash. Fresno Central and Clovis North, both from CIF's Central Section, made their presence known in what was a Southern Section-heavy team field.
In the 100, Central's Imari Conley's sizzling 10.57 in the 15th and final heat, broke the meet record, which had been a 10.78 by Yucaipa's Asani Hampton in 2018. Conley's time moved the San Jose State football signee toward the top of the state rankings.
Joining Conley in the same 100 heat was runner-up Nickolas Miller of Clovis North, who finished second in 10.65. Miller's time, if not for Conley, would have also lowered the state's previous best mark. Furthermore, South Torrance's Anthony Flowers, who was another runner in the same heat with Conley and Miller, was third at 10.67. His time would have been a meet record, but not a state-leading time.
Three more varsity events resulted in Redondo meet record-setting performances.
In the girls 100, Carson freshman Christina Gray went 12.06, a mark that narrowly lowered the 2018 meet-record time of 12.07 set by Long Beach Poly's Ariyonna Augustine.
Junior Xai Ricks of Long Beach Poly took part in the other two meet record efforts. In the boys 400, his time of 47.74 bested the 48.12 run in 2022 by Servite's Max Thomas (now at USC). Ricks then closed out the Redondo meet by running anchor on Poly's 4x400 relay-winning time of 3:16.28. Ricks ran the relay with freshmen Noah Smith and Malachi Dawson and sophomore Caliph Johnson. The previous record was only a year old as Central's relay notched a 3:18.16 in 2022.
The meet served as a valuable reward for early season training among freshmen and sophomores as there were several record-breaking times in lower-level events. The Carson FS girls 4x100 relay team set the meet record with a 50.11; Peninsula FS boys 4x100 broke a 10-year-old meet record with a time of 44.09; Clovis North's Zoe Goldsmith set a new mark in the FS girls 100 with her time of 12.34; South Torrance FS girls 800 sprint medley relay broke a 10-year record with its time of 1:54.96; and Roosevelt's Luke Amico went 42.12 in the FS boys 300 hurdles race. Perhaps the most dominant effort was turned in the FS boys 800 sprint medley relay where three teams, Peninsula, Sherman Oaks Notre Dame and Etiwanda, each broke Carson's 2018 meet record time of 1:38.97. Peninsula went 1:37.31, Notre Dame 1:37.38 and Etiwanda had a 1:38.91.
In the throws, Clovis North siblings McKay Madsen, a sophomore, and Loie Madsen, a senior, swept the varsity discus events. McKay went 172-0 in the boys competition, and Loie won the girls DT with a 129-6 best.
Carson junior Lauryn Williams won the varsity shot put at 39-6.50 to top the Etiwanda senior duo of Sinaiah Pointer (39-1.50) and Camryn Alo (39-1).
Warren (SS) senior Jaylon Wells won the boys shot put at 57-9.50 with Clovis North junior Brayden Bitter second at 56-5.50. Madsen was fourth at 54-8.25.
Among varsity winners who own current state-leading marks and times were: the ML King girls 4x100 relay winning in 47.81 (their state best time is 47.60); Alyssa Hope, who ran a leg of that ML King relay, is also the state leader in the triple jump. She won it Saturday in 38-7, but her state-best mark is 39-5; and another state leader, Kayla McBride in the 400 meters, won in 55.58, not far off from her state-best time of 55.16.
One prime relay race to watch came in the boys 4x100 with Long Beach Poly and Central in the same heat. Central got the best of Poly on Saturday, winning in 42.28. Poly was second in 42.51.
Ryan Blystone is a freelance writer and a regular contributor to MileSplit
Photos by Raymond