Rodrick Pleasant, Del Norte Girls Lead CA Stars at Nike Nats

Just as she did en route to a State Meet title, senior Hannah Riggins again dropped a devastating third-leg split in leading Del Norte/Nighthawks Elite TC to a 4x800-meter title in one of the fastest times in the U.S.

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Wrapping up Day 2 at the Nike Outdoor Nationals on Friday at historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, we lead off with two CIF-State Meet champions winning Nike Nats titles.

Of course, we start with two-time 100m-200m CIF sprint champion Rodrick Pleasant of Serra-Gardena (SS). Pleasant, who roared to the State Meet title in an MR time of 10.20 (2.0), almost equalled that on Friday, stopping the Hayward Field clock in 10.21 (0.4). It is the third-fastest wind-legal time for the future Oregon Duck track and football star who holds the CA record at 10.14/1.3 (U.S. No. 3) and the all-conditions CA best of 10.09/3.3 (U.S. No. 2). 

The 4x800-meter relay, added to the CIF-State Meet schedule this spring for the first time, saw the San Clemente (SS) boys and Del Norte (SD) girls win the initial titles. On Friday, the same Del Norte lineup, competing here as Nighthawks Elite TC, held off a revamped JSerra (SS) Track Club quartet with both teams rolling to season-bests. 

The Del Norte lineup of sophomore Emily Russo, junior Ella Echsner, senior Hannah Riggins, and sophomore Paige Echsner, the same lineup that ran at the State Meet at the end of May, ran 8:51.78, bettering their previous best from the State Meet of 8:55.99. That mark provisionally ranks U.S. No. 3. Riggins, who ran a 2:07 third-leg split at State, went 2:05 here and Paige Echsner anchored in 2:09.

The JSerra lineup of senior Anastasia Snodgrass, junior Brooke O'Brien, sophomore Anne Elise Packard, and junior Georgia Jeanneret, placed second in 8:52.26. At State, the JSerra lineup sans Snodgrass, ran 9:01.10 for second place. This improvement moves them provisionally up to U.S. No. 4. 

The Loyola (SS) boys distance medley relay team, competing as the Los Angeles Cubs, placed second in 10:18.90, with a 1200-400-800-1600 lineup of junior Connor Bennett, and seniors Zachary Pastore, Harrison Lavery, and Henry Payne. 

Among the many other CA athletes competing in Eugene, future Oregon Duck, Brazil Neal of Serra-Gardena, ran an 11.59 (0.2) PR in the 100m for third place in a race won by amazing Lake Oswego (OR) junior Mia Brahe-Pedersen in 11.11.

A pair of junior boys, Joshua Bell of Templeton (CS) and Josh Chu Ponderosa (SJ) placed seventh and eighth in the boys 5K at 14:49.00 and 14:50.76, respectively. 

Junior Jathiyah Muhammad, the 2022 CIF-State pole vault champion, cleared a PR of 14-02 for third place, reigning State Meet champion Iliana Downing, a junior at La Costa Canyon (SD) competing for North County Pole Vault, placed sixth at 13-02.25, and her club teammate Avery Hilliard, a senior at Poway (SD), placed seventh in 12-08.25.

Chaparral (SS) senior Leland Godfrey placed second in the Boys Emerging Elite shot put at 56-00.50.

Murrieta Valley (SS) freshman Arielle Avina placed seventh in 17:07.32 in the Girls Emerging Elite 5K.

Golden Valley (SS) freshman Marley Scoggins, running for New Image Training Group, placed fifth in the Emerging Elite Girls 100m in 12.08 (1.0).