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Tamagno, Walsh set pace in 3,200
ARCADIA – One could say with near certainty that great performances would come out of the prestigious Arcadia Invitational.
The best of the best competed Saturday night in what could only be described as a race for national recognition.
In the 3,200-meter run, Brea Olinda’s Austin Tamagno (8:54.13) and Canyon’s Wesley Walsh (8:56.25) finished seventh and 11th, respectively, in the meet’s premier showcase event. The race furnished the top 12 times in the nation.
Robert Brandt of Loyola, who had set the previous national mark of 8:56.69, led for most of the first seven laps. The field came after Brandt in the last lap, including Tamagno, who briefly took the lead with 200 meters to go.
Jesse Reiser of McHenry, Ill., became the national leader with a time of 8:52.
Malik McMorris hurled his way into the record books, reclaiming the national lead with a 194-8 discus throw. The Monarchs senior had been displaced from the top of the U.S. leaderboard by Carlos Davis of Blue Springs, Mo., who produced a 193-7 on April 2. McMorris had been surprised to hear the news as he lined up with his fellow competitors, but he quickly regained his throne.
“This is great that I took back that national record,” he said. “I didn’t know that someone had took it from me until earlier today. One of the competitors’ grandma came up to me and said, ‘194 (feet) Malik, I want to see it today.’ I was like, ‘OK, I’ll see what I can do.’”
McMorris’ toss broke his school record, which was 192-11.
Quinten Pounds of Cypress moved into a tie for the state’s fourth spot in the high jump. His lifetime best leap of 6-9 tied the school record for the Centurions.
Connor Meech’s chance at the 300 hurdles leaders ended early, as the San Juan Hills’ senior clipped a hurdle late to slow his final approach. He finished fourth.
In the 800, Huntington Beach junior Cassie Durgy continued to show her growth with a personal record of 2:10.10. The Oilers distance runner was running against two-time California-state champion Mikaela Smith (committed to USC). Durgy finished fourth, but she said the big names in the competition did not break her focus.
“The athletes in this meet are definitely the top of the state or even the U.S.,” she said. “I was trying to hit my splits and not focus too much on the athletes I was racing against. At the end of the day, it comes down to you and the clock.”
An astonishing eight pole vaulters remained alive when the bar was raised to 13-1 in the girls meet. Santa Margarita’s Kaitlyn Merritt proved why she is the undisputed state champion of the event, as she was the only one to clear 13-7.
Tesoro’s Amanda Gehrich became the state leader in the mile by running a 4:47.66 to place second.