State Meet Race Video Countdown: No. 6, Boys 4x800m Relay

San Clemente's quartet of junior boys took the 4x800-meter relay lead early and held off some of the state's all-time great lineups in the inaugural event at the State Meet.

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Fifth in a Series

For as impressive as was the inaugural girls 4x800-meter relay, the boys was arguably even better. Consider, that race produced three of the top 10, five of the top 14, and six of the top 25 times in the U.S. this spring. Those times also rank 5-6-7-9-15 among CA's all-time list.

Not too shabby for the newbie event on the State Meet schedule. 

The San Clemente (SS) boys all-junior class lineup of Brett Ephraim, Jackson Brownell, Pierce Clark, and Taj Clark toured the baton around eight laps of the Veterans Memorial Stadium track at Buchanan HS in 7:38.59. That time is tied for U.S. No. 5 and sits CA No. 5 all-time. 

The Menlo School (CC) team of senior Aiden Deffner, sophomores William Hauser and Landon Pretre, and senior Justin Pretre placed second in a U.S. No. 8 time of 7:39.10 with Buchanan (CS) next in 7:39.74, Long Beach Poly (SS) at 7:40.57, Wilson (SS) next in 7:41.98, and Crystal Springs Uplands School (CC) at 7:45.30 for sixth. 

JT Kraemer went out in 56.45 to get Wilson out to the early lead with an opening 1:54.45 but Brownell gave San Clemente the lead after his first 800m and the Tritons more or less held it to the end. Pierce Clark went out in 55.37 on his third leg to create separation.

San Clemente anchor Taj Clark, who warmed up with a fourth-place finish in the open 800m some 35 minutes earlier, secured the victory for the Tritons with a closing two laps at 55.45 and 57.10 to hold off a handful of stellar anchors.

Justin Pretre, who on Friday raced in the 1600m prelims, challenged the field with closing laps of 56.23 and 55.93, the only anchor among the leaders to negative split his 800m leg.

Buchanan's anchor, senior Zach Weaver, who had placed seventh in the open 800m, closed in 55.84 and 56.59. Poly anchor Xai Ricks, who placed second in the 400m and would run on all three of the Jackrabbits' relay teams, put the field on notice with a first 400 at 51.65 before slipping to a closing lap of 57.94. 

Once the dust settled, four of the top nine times on California's All-Time prep history list were established!  

Watch the Race

Meet the Team

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Photos by DeAnna Turner and Raymond Tran 

Race Countdown voting by Ryan Blystone, Steve Brand, Albert Caruana, Mark Gardner, and Jeffrey Parenti