Over the past few years, every third Saturday of April has been billed as Track and Field Saturday, especially in the South Bay.
That is because there are two major track and field meets that include the always prestigious Mt. San Antonio College Relays in Walnut and the South Bay Championships at West Torrance High School.
Usually, the top athletes travel to Mt. SAC in the bigger classic. However, most of the local athletes competed in the South Bay Championships and some of the times and marks were no slouch.
There were a few outstanding marks at Mt. SAC, led by Carson senior Ashley Anderson. Anderson recorded a national leading mark of 41 feet, 2.5 inches in the triple jump to win the invitational title at the event.
Anderson already had clinched the event of 40-6 on her third attempt, but she wanted to add some more. She blasted at the national best on her sixth try.
Also shining was Redondo junior Amber Gore. She captured the 800-meter run at two minutes and 12.19 seconds.
Powerful Serra High of Gardena did not have all of its top athletes there, including top nationally ranked long jumper Adoree Jackson, who won the event at 25-0.5 at the Arcadia Invitational on April 12, but managed to have some fine performances.
Leading the Cavaliers was Alyjah Kennedy who finished ninth in the invitational triple jump with a mark of 36-10.25 and was third in the open long jump (17-1.25) on Friday.
The Lady Cavaliers also won the seeded 4x400 relay clocking 3:53.01 and its boys were fifth in the invitational 4x100 (42.42). Jeanette Paul was eighth in the girls invitatioal 100 hurdles in 14.48. Jeremy Franklin finished eighth in the invitational discus with a toss of 165-1.
Inglewood St. Mary's Academy had second place finishes, both behind champion Long Beach Poly, in the girls 4x200 (1:40.15) and 4x400 (3:51.66). The Belles' Sierra Peterson finished second behind Poly's Ariana Washington (23.5) timing 24.12.
Carson's boys also had some fine performances on Saturday. The Colts won the seeded 4x100 (42.63) and Josh Martin took sixth in the invitational triple jump (43-10.5).
The big highlight in Friday's edition of Mt. SAC was accomplished by San Pedro senior Steve Correa who captured the boys invitational 1,600-meter run in an impressive time of 9:07.84. He was able to defeat second place Michael Teran of Jurupa Hills (9:09.05) and third place Carlos Suarez from Redondo (9:19.28).
The Sea Hawks had a second place finish in the boys open division 4x800 with a school record time of 7:43.5, the second best time in the United States. Winning was Temecula Great Oak with a national best time of 7:42.81.
St. Mary's Treasure May was third in the girls open triple jump at 35-2. South Torrance junior Kimberly Coscia placed 12th in the invitational mile clocking 5:04.86.
Coscia could have run the 3,200 at Mt. SAC but she opted to enter the race in the South Bay Championships on Saturday. She ended up running away with the race in a meet record time of 10:43.31.
That was one of the top highlights of the meet but it included team champions Manhattan Beach Mira Costa (boys) and Redondo (girls). The Lady Sea Hawks, who have won this meet for the fifth consecutive time, were led by the meet's Most Valuable Athlete Tairyn Montgomery. Montgomery sparked Redondo by winning the shot put (33-7), long jump (16-6) and was on the Sea Hawks' winning 4x400 relay which was timed at 48.93.
Kaitlin Heri was victorious in the pole vault at 12 feet. Ashley Wells finsihed second in the discus (119-9). Nicole Beaudoin was second, behind Coscia, in the 3,200 (11:05.58) and took fourth at the 1,600 (5:14.13). Finishing third at the 1,600 for Redondo was Taylor Beaudoin at 5:13.8.
For Mira Costa's boys, Robert Mahon led the way by winning the 110-meter high hurdles (15.1) and placing fourth in the 300 intermediate hurdles (42.09). It was the sixth South Bay title for the Mustangs, who will have a home showdown meet with the rival Sea Hawks on Thursday at 2:30 p.m. at Mira Costa. The Mustangs outscored second place Rolling Hills Estates Peninsula 79.25 to 64.5. Third place was Palos Verdes with 49.
For the girls, Redondo ran away with the meet, 150-79 over runner-up Peninsula. Mira Costa (50) took third.
The Panther boys were led by the meet's top male athlete, Mitchel Charles. Charles swept the weight events in taking the shot put with a personal best mark of 58-10 and the discus with a toss of 171 feet, both among the tops in California this season.
Palos Verdes has always been strong in distance running and its boys showed it by sweeping the 800, 1,600 and 3,200. Jake Cohen captured the 800 (1:57.94); Luke Letwin took the 1,600 (4:25.26) and Bennett Gagon won the 3,200 (9:33.88).
Other top performers for the boys included Jeremiah Peoples (Torrance, 300 intermediate hurdles, 39.57), Jacob Funes and Michael Moody of Peninsula tying for first in the high jump (6-0) and Funes finishing second in the tirple jump (40-8) and Ira Moore of North Torrance capturing the triple jump (41-10).
Also for the girls, Peninsula's Tinika Onnekikami wonthe 400 (56.34) and took second in the 800 (2:18.26).
Some teams were shorthanded in the meet, including Redondo's girls who won handily, despite having several top athletes at Mt. SAC.