Arcadia’s 45th Invitational Adds to History
by Connor Duckworth
From left: Futsom Zeinasellassie (North Central, IN), Devon Allen (Brophy College Prep, AZ) and Sarah Baxter (Simi Valley, CA)
All photos by Margot Kelly
It was a beautiful weekend for track at the Arcadia Invitational as athletes from around the nation and even Canada competed in the record setting meet. The out of state athletes commented repeatedly how diverse of a change it was from their snow or humidity. The weather itself was minimal to the incredible performances that were accomplished.
Friday night included a variety of relays in which a number of athletes got their first dose of many more medals to come. The Jackrabbits of Long Beach Poly (photo above left) High School had a dominant taking home the gold in a trio of 4x100m, 100m shuttle hurdles, and 800m sprint medley relay. Their 4x100m was a number two all-time ranking coming in at 58.11 seconds. The 800m sprint medley put them on top of the national leader board with a time of 1:44.37. The Jackrabbits walked away with the 100m shuttle hurdles setting the bar to break once again.
Harvard Westlake’s (photo above right) women’s 1600m sprint medley relay team outperformed everyone so far this season and set a meet record of 3:55.34. This women’s powerhouse team will be a force in the CIF Southern Section Meets next month.
On the men’s side, Brophy College Prep of Arizona (photo above left) led by national star, Devon Allen, captured the 110M shuttle hurdles race after Vista Murrieta clipped a hurdle on the last leg. Although Devon Allen rolled through the finish line they were able to hold off their foes.
Brian Fitzgerald’s Rio Mesa High School (photo above right) relay teams continue to thrive at the top level year after year. The men’s 4x200m team continued their success by taking a U.S. eighth place time of 1:26.76. The Spartans are a favorite every year in their CIF Meets.
The Saturday night festivities grew into a spectacle as the top twenty runners filled all twenty nationally ranked spots in the men’s 3200m. Futsum Zeinasellassie of North Central High, Indiana ran a blazing 8:47.75 time where sixteen runners all broke nine minutes.
Sophomore Sarah Baxter of Simi Valley won her second consecutive 3200m race, while Amy-Eloise Neale added to her consecutive streak in the 1600m and barely finished behind Savannah Camacho in the 800m.
The Long Beach Poly women captured more victories in the 4x100m with a time of 46.13, and star Traci Hicks won the girls 100m hurdles with a time of 13.63 seconds. Arianna Washington was barely edged out at the finish by .01 of a second in the 200m with a final time of 23.97.
Ethan Cochran, the senior at Newport Harbor easily won both the men’s shot put and discus. His top U.S. ranked throw of 209-08 in the discus got a lot of people’s attention. The sophomore sensation, Ashlie Blake of Liberty High in Nevada collected two gold medals in the women’s shot put and discus.
Klyvens Delaunay of Claremont High School took home gold in both the long and triple jumps and securing a number five U.S. mark in the triple jump with 49-04.25.
The headline of the weekend was Devon Allen of Brophy College Prep in Arizona. This football and track standout just made his college decision more difficult as he is on the radar for a few dozen top programs around the nation. The junior collected four medals on the night and earned a top three nationally ranked spot in every individual race he competed in. Allen’s dominating performances included the 110m and 300m hurdles, the 4x100m relay, and a major upset of the top nationally ranked runner, in the 200m. Devon was by far the Men’s Athlete of the Meet and will bring his hardware back home to Arizona. Allen’s future can only get brighter if he continues his success into next year.
Every year it seems that the Arcadia Invitational gets better and better and this 45th running of the event stood strong against its rich history. The hundreds of schools that participated added a slew of top ten national marks and allowed many athletes to share the spotlight. As the athletes head back home this Easter Weekend, they have around another month of training to get to their state meets where we will see more records being broken.