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O.C. athletes ready to be tested at Arcadia

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

The anticipation will be high, and their motivation higher, as the county’s elite track and field athletes compete Saturday in the Arcadia Invitational at Arcadia High.

The meet is annually one of the premier events of the high school season. The addition of out-of-state talent affords the county’s best a measuring stick as they pursue their year-end goals.

Many have their eyes set on CIF-SS Masters and CIF State berths, goals that seem to be within reach for Huntington Beach’s Cassie Durgy.

The junior distance runner is the state leader in the 800 meters. She ran her best time of the season (2:11.19) two weeks ago at the adidas Meet of Champions Distance Classic at Azusa Pacific University.

Oilers coach Kareen Shackelford has taken note of the focus Durgy has brought to the track, saying that the cross country runner has committed herself to improving her speed.

“She has been working diligently on her speed,” Shackelford said. “She has confidence, but also the discipline to know that nothing is going to come easy. She’s demonstrating that she would be an attractive mid-distance runner for any (college) program. She’s really showing her versatility.”

Mater Dei’s Malik McMorris is another state leader poised to put on a show at Arcadia. The senior owns the top spot in the discus with a mark of 190-7.

Monarchs coach Rick Martinez believes McMorris could author an assault on the school record book in the discus and the shot put.

“I know that whenever we have a big meet like this, Malik always tends to get up for it,” Martinez said. “It wouldn’t surprise me if we end up with two new school records tomorrow.”

The Mater Dei records are 61-3.75 for the shot put and 192-11 in the discus (set by McMorris at the 2014 CIF-SS Masters Meet).

Connor Meech of San Juan Hills nabbed the state’s second-best time with a 37.84 in the 300 hurdles at the Trabuco Hills Invitational last week. He will be the county favorite to oppose Isaiah Oliver (Brophy College Prep), who owns the sixth fastest mark in the nation.

The girls 400 relay presents a county showdown, where Mater Dei, Santa Margarita, and Los Alamitos will square off in a battle of the county’s top three relay teams.

Loyola’s Robert Brandt will be tested in his bid to keep the top 3,200 time in the state. Collin Price (St. Margaret’s, 9:08.56), Wesley Walsh (Canyon, 9:09.15), and Austin Tamagno (Brea Olinda, 9:09.26) will also race in the 3,200. They are currently ranked third, fourth, and fifth in the state, respectively.

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Arcadia Invitational

Where, when: Arcadia High (180 Campus Dr., Arcadia); Saturday

First event: Boys 400 relay, 9:30 a.m.

Fan info: Admission, adults and students (w/ valid HS identification), $18; children (10 and under), $5. Tickets can be purchased at the Arcadia High ticket booths.

Seating capacity: 7,500


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