Three runners from Mira Costa and one field athlete from Redondo Union advanced to the CIF-Southern Section track and field Masters Meet after the CIF Finals were held at El Camino College last Saturday.
Mira Costa will be represented by Cy Chittenden, Billy Atkinson and Dalia Frias while Mahkaia Lee of Redondo Union will be their lone representative.
In the ultra-competitive CIF Finals, it takes a superb effort by even the best athletes to earn a spot in the CIF-Southern Section Masters Meet year-after-year.
“The Mustang family is very proud of our team and the three great athletes moving on to the CIF Masters,” said Mira Costa boys and girls track and field head coach Moe Russell. “Dahlia, Cy and Billy work extremely hard with their team and coaches each and every day. Earning a spot at this meet, the last before state championships, is an example of what that hard work can do.”
Lee of Redondo Union had the best finish with a third place after completion of the girls’ long jump.
“I had a good jump day at CIF Finals with a jump of 19-feet 2-inches,” Lee said. “I felt good on Saturday. Each jump I got into a better rhythm and I was able to hit the board each time. I’m working on just being consistent for the Masters Meet.”
Competing against the best she showed she belongs.
“I got to jump against great competition from all four divisions and ended up third overall. I can’t wait to represent Redondo Union High School at the Masters Meet.”
She will be in the mix with a shot at state as a reward if she does well.
“Mahkaia has had a terrific season and she is peaking at exactly the right time,” said Redondo Union boys and girls track and field head coach Bob Leetch. “She has been one of the cornerstones of our program the past four years. It’s great to see her enjoy the success she’s enjoying now. This is well deserved.”
All four athletes will compete at El Camino College on Saturday.
Mira Costa was led by Chittenden, senior, who finished in fourth place in the boys 3200 meters with a personal best time of 9:13.02.
He was followed right behind by teammate Billy Atkinson, junior, in fifth with a time of 9:19.07.
“We are fortunate to have two kids who can run strategically sound races, and keep their wits about them, amidst wildly changing conditions,” said Mira Costa assistant coach Jeff Atkinson. “As a result, they are now among the top 12 distance runners in the entirety of Southern California regardless of division.”
They are joined by Dalia Frias, freshman, who finished sixth in the girls 1600 meters.
“Racing in this week’s CIF finals race was a huge honor and I have been lucky enough to race against some of the best runners in California which has allowed me to become a better runner,” Frias said. “Being able qualify for the Masters Meet is a big accomplishment and I am looking forward to see what I can do.”
“Dalia Frias had a banner day at CIF Finals,” said her coach Renee Williams Smith. “She ran a time of 4:58.5 in the girls 1600 meters making her one of only 12 athletes across all divisions to qualify for the Masters Meet.”
Her time was a personal best.
“She is the only girl from the South Bay to advance to this level in this event,” Williams Smith said. “She is a natural competitor and it showed.”