Sadie Engelhardt, Ventura Grab Another National Record

* The Ventura High School girls broke a new high school national distance medley relay record on Saturday at Mt. SAC

Photo Credit: Raymond Tran/MileSplit

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by Ryan Blystone - Milesplit California

WALNUT -- To set one national high school outdoor record was cause for a celebration when Sadie Engelhardt did so on Friday in the girls one mile race at the Mt. SAC Relays presented by Nike.

But what happens when you do it with three teammates who are among your best friends at school?

That's a whole other level of celebration.

"I was nervous for this race, mostly, because I wanted to do well for the team," said Engelhardt, who spoke standing alongside teammates Melanie True, Valentina Fakrogha and Aelo Curtis about their win in the distance medley relay in 11:21.85, breaking a 13-year-old national record. "We're obviously super close, so to share this with some of my best friends is very special."

The sophomore True led off the 1,200 meter segment, followed by a 400m from the senior Fakrogha. Curtis, another sophomore, worked hard during her 800m before giving the baton to Engelhardt for the 1,600m anchor.

The first 2,400 meters was adequate by her teammates, but Engelhardt trailed Santiago Corona's Rylee Blade by about 25 meters when she got the baton exchange from Curtis.

Engelhardt gained quickly on Blade on the backstretch, passing her. And then she never looked back. That confidence was masterful to watch.

It was a scenario that Ventura's coaches felt was possible.

"Before the race there was a lot of talk about a national record from our coaches. We all said, 'we'll see,' we had all had races, so obviously we were not fresh, but yeah, it all happened to click on one day," Engelhardt said. "We're very happy about that."

The time broke Harvard Westlake's mark of 11:22.23 from 2011. Ventura's time also shattered Great Oak's 2016 Mt. SAC Relays record by almost 20 full seconds (11:41.54).

The team's electrifying DMR performance may have contributed to another fine achievement -- a record-setting boost for the Ventura boys DMR team.

The Cougars, who had been cheering on the girls in their race earlier, followed with a school-record of their own, scoring a DMR victory of 9:59.51. The team consisted of Micah Grossman, Luke Carnaghe, Blake Harris and Anthony Fast Horse and that foursome supplanted the previous best of 10:14.22 from 2015.

"This was exactly what we wanted, everyone did their job today," Grossman said. "It's pretty awesome. The difference between running 10 flat and 9:59 for us, just feels awesome to get under that barrier. We knew we were capable of doing it, but until you do, it's just not the same. It's really gratifying we could execute it."

Ventura's double in the DMR was impressive and memorable, for sure. There were other schools and individuals who put on a double display of success, too, Saturday.

  • Long Beach Poly's relay teams won three events -- the boys 4x200 (1:27.65), the girls 4x100 shuttle hurdles (59.71) and girls 4x400 (3:49.66) -- and Jillene Wetteland, a junior high jumper, went 5-6 to win in a tiebreaker. The Poly girls shuttle hurdles time is a new state-leading season time, supplanting Long Beach Wilson's previous best of 1:00.49.
  • The Calabasas girls won two relays, the 4x100 (46.02) and 4x200 (1:37.17).
  • Individually, Notre Dame Sherman Oaks' Aja Johnson won the girls shot put with a top mark of 44-10.75 early in the day and then late afternoon won the discus on her sixth and final throw of 152-10. Avery Lewis, who is from Friends' Central in Pennsylvania, won the long jump (20-1.50) and 100 meters (11.21). Colorado's Braelyn Baker, a senior at Lakewood's Bear Creek, won the 200-meter dash (23.31) and the 400-meter hurdles (57.98).
  • Two new state leaders on the boys side emerged. Northview's Dylan Ochoa ran the 400-meter invitational race in 47.11, supplanting Oaks Christian's Chase Hansen (47.37). Cayden Roberson of Roosevelt, set a personal best of 37.06 in the 300-meter hurdles, topping the previous best of 37.42 by Cathedral Catholic San Diego's Vincent Atilano.
  • Anisa Bowen-Fontenot, a junior at San Diego High, lowered her own state-leading time in the 100m hurdles, going from the 13.86 she had at last month's Texas Relays to Saturday's time of 13.76 (+0.1).

One more note:

  • The Mt. SAC Relays has seen and done a lot in its 64 years and created memorable moments. But Saturday, a new event debuted on its high school docket and added two more races onto this year's schedule. The 400 meter hurdles, an event common for college track, ran for the first time with an all high school field. The inaugural winners were both from outside California: Braelyn Baker, a senior at Bear Creek in Lakewood, Colorado, in the girls invitational race in 57.98. On the boys side, Taconic Hills Central (N.Y.) senior Neil Howard III won in 52.18.