Saugus' (from left to right) Kaylin Mahoney, Alex Hampton, Karis Franklin and Stephanie Bulder pose after setting a state record in the 4Xmile relay at the Mt. San Antonio College Relays on Friday. (Kirby Lee / U.S. Presswire / April 14, 2011)
The North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake girls' 4x800 relay team didn't care about setting a record Friday night at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut. The Wolverines just wanted to run as fast as they could.
Even a nerve-racking false start couldn't prevent them from clocking 9 minutes 3.77 seconds — the fastest outdoor time in the nation this year — on their way to winning the Invitational race at the 53rd Mt. SAC Relays.
Harvard-Westlake not only shattered this year's national best of 9:19.43 by Mountain Brook of Alabama, but it also easily broke the Mt. SAC record of 9:06, set by Long Beach Poly in 2003.
Sophomore Yasmin Moreno and senior Lauren Hansson kept the Wolverines near the front, but junior Cami Chapus trailed two runners when she took the baton for her two laps. Chapus sprinted to the lead around the first turn and never let up, widening the margin to 50 meters for Amy Weissenbach's anchor leg.
No matter what, I wanted to get off to a fast start, and when I saw them ahead of me, it motivated me even more, said Chapus, winner of back-to-back state cross-country titles. I was just hoping I didn't trip. We had a great meet at Arcadia last week, and we didn't really set a time goal here — we focused more on effort and happened to get it [the record] anyway.
Perhaps the most impressive performance was turned in by Saugus' Alex Hampton, Kaylin Mahoney, Danielle Hernando and Stephanie Bulder, who won the Invitational 4xmile relay in a state-record 20:09.51.
Three-time state cross-country champion Elias Gedyon of Los Angeles Loyola ran 4:12.34 to win the boys' Invitational 1,600, edging South Pasadena's Sam Pons by 0.59 of a second.
A week after winning the 800 in Arcadia, senior Jennifer Owen of Valencia West Ranch won the girls' Invitational 1,600 in 4:55.43.
Russell Brown of the Oregon Track Club set a meet and Hilmer Lodge Stadium record in the men's Elite Invitational 1500 with a time of 3:35.70, eclipsing the mark of 3:36.40 set by Steve Scott in 1979.
In the women's University Open division, USC freshman Lauren Blackburn, a two-time Texas state high school high hurdles champion, won the 100 hurdles in 13.41 seconds, and Cal State Fullerton senior Ciara Short won the 100-meter dash in 11.58 seconds.