24 US#1 performances
meet director Rich Gonzalez: "Wow!"
by Dave Devine
DyeStat Northwest Editor
Arcadia, CA – In the closing moments of the 40th Annual Arcadia Invitational, as the Long Beach Poly boys were celebrating yet another relay triumph, meet director Rich Gonzalez could be overheard wandering past the electronic scoreboard and repeating a number to himself. Twenty-four, he mumbled, not quite believing it. Twenty-four? Wow. He wasn’t talking about the winning time in the girls’ 200 meter dash (24:00), or the top mark in the boys’ long jump (24-02.50), he was talking about the number of US-leading performances recorded in the two days of this massive Southern California track meet.
Twenty-four national #1’s. Wow, indeed.
Certainly, there was the new national high school record of 1:28.43 for the 800m Sprint Medley, authored Friday night by the Long Beach Poly quartet that won three relays over the course of the weekend; the electricity from that one was still buzzing through the crowd Saturday afternoon. But Saturday evening—with its mix of individual events and traditional relay races—had its own special moments and memorable performances.
Early on, there was the sight of Tori Anthony (Castilleja CA), national indoor record holder for the pole vault, bounding down an elevated infield runway and taking three solid attempts at a national outdoor record of 14-01.00, before settling for a 13-07.00 win. Almost simultaneously, a few feet away and on a parallel approach, St. Francis CA vaulter Casey Roche was soaring over 17 feet.
Four distance races—the boys’ and girls’ mile and 2-mile—featured early, and in two cases risky, breakaway moves yielding fast times and well-deserved wins. On the girls’ side, Alex Kosinski (Oak Ridge CA) in the mile and Jordan Hasay (Mission College Prep CA) in the 2-mile, seized the lead from the gun and drew steadily away from talented fields for dominant wins (4:43.34 and 10:07.65, respectively). Those victories were not completely unexpected, given the recent accomplishments of these two young women. In the boys’ mile and 2-mile, however, the favorites were less clear, which made the gambits delivered by Michael Chinchar (Kentwood WA) and Luke Puskedra (Judge Memorial UT) all the more impressive. Chinchar, in the mile (4:09.67), and Puskedra, in the deuce (9:00.51), followed pre-established plans to run fast times, developed substantial leads, and dared the fields to come back. In both cases, the fields couldn’t quite manage it (although Charles White from Colorado made things pretty interesting for Chinchar in the last 100m of the mile).
Then there was the curious coincidence of a double flip-flop in the boys and girls 100/200 races. In the girls’ sprints, Mt. Eden CA senior Cherrelle Garrett topped St. Elizabeth CA freshman Ashton Purvis, 11.65 to 11.66, only to have the super-frosh reverse the finish and take the 200—24.00 to 24.08. The same reversal took place on the boys’ side, with Dondre McDonald (Inglewood CA) slipping past Jahvid Best (Salesian CA) in the 100 (10.58 to 10.59), and then Best taking his revenge in the longer sprint, 21.40 to 21.69.
Holy Names CA leaper Ke'Nyia Richardson, hoping to add to the weekend's national record count with an outdoor triple jump mark of her own, fell short of that goal, but still managed an impressive 43-01.50 win.
Jacquelyn Coward (Knoxville West TN), with her red and white striped socks hiked to her knees, was the night’s only double winner, taking both girls’ hurdle events in 13.60 and 41.66 (the 100 hurdle time a new meet record). A young man named Bryshon Nellum (LB Poly CA), who was already having quite a weekend, took down a meet record as well—his own—lowering the 400 mark to 46.02 and coming tantalizingly close to his stated goal of sub-46. Taft CA’s Jeshua Anderson, with his 35.75 300 meter hurdle win, couldn’t quite topple David Klech’s meet record (35.45), but he did manage history’s #9 mark all-time. (Terry Prentice of Diamond Ranch CA took the boys 110 highs in a US#2 13.77, and LB Poly soph Jasmine Joseph won the girls 400 in 53.48.)
Another all-time race was turned in by Corona del Mar, who won the girls’ Distance Medley Relay in 11:41.28, the #6 high school mark all-time, but not even a school record at the California distance powerhouse as they have now won this race three straight years, all with top 10 all time marks. La Sierra CA’s foursome of Steven Norton, Jared Drinkard, and Dylan and Spencer Knight were having a solid weekend of their own, following up their Friday night 4x800 win (7:44.90) with a blistering victory in the DMR (10:09.51).
Fellow Californian Cory Primm (Westlake) erased a self-described “disappointing” indoor campaign with a gutty, wire-to-wire 1:49.50 800 that left a talented field battling in his wake. In the girls’ 800, the opposite was true, as the battle took place all the way to the wire, with a three-across stretch drive going to Justine Fedronic (Carlmont CA), over Emily Dunn (Esperanza CA) and Natalie Johnson (Xavier Prep AZ) in—get this—2:08.08, 2:08.32, 2:08.61.
Deep into the evening, word came from the shot put circle that Joe Canavan (Palm Desert CA) had reached a monster 66-00.00 on his final throw. Those late-meet heroics in the field set the stage for the final heroics on the track: the 4x400 relays.
There’s a reason most track meets reserve the 4x400s for the concluding event—because they often provide a riveting and climactic ending to a night of track and field. This night was no different. First, the girls’ 4 x400 saw the epic East vs. West matchup that so many had hoped for, pitting Eleanor Roosevelt of Maryland against Long Beach Poly of California. The LB Poly girls had already won the 4x100, and Roosevelt had a first and three relay seconds in the bag, but this was the final confrontation, and it showed. Anchors Takecia Jameson of Roosevelt and Jasmine Joseph of LB Poly staged a scintillating homestretch war, with Jameson never yielding the lead to run 3:40.48 to Poly’s 3:41.17.
Then it was time for the boys, and with Bryshon Nellum running anchor for LB Poly, it was only a question of whether he’d get the stick with a lead, and how fast he’d run. Taking the baton with a slim 2 meter advantage, he ripped a 47.1, gapped the field, and streamed past a boisterous and adoring crowd for his fourth gold of the meet.
One final wow, on a night full of them.