The Redondo Nike Festival entered its ninth year and again was a huge success with many of Southern California’s top teams and athletes congregating at the Sea Hawk Bowl including rival Mira Costa last Friday and Saturday.

More than 80 schools were invited, according to Redondo Union boys and girls track head coach Bob Leetch.

“It produced the largest number of elite marks in the nation,” Leetch said. “, which is the main portal of information for track and field in California, reports that then the next closest meet produced 42 elite marks.

“Elite marks are a high standard of marks based on the previous year’s state leaders,” Leetch explained. “Redondo Nike Track Festival produced 156 Elite marks. It is huge for our meet to put up those types of marks, crazy really.”  

De’Anna Nowling of Calabasas, who is the state champion in 100 meters, was one of the top athletes in attendance and she performed at a high level once again.

“Great competition, we have a great mix again, the top teams in the state,” Leetch said. “Plenty of state champions, we got plenty of top state teams.”

That made it perfect for the home team and Mira Costa as well.

“The Redondo Nike Invitational is always fun for our athletes,” said Mira Costa boys and girls track head coach Moe Russell. “We always come away with outstanding performances and this year was no different. Over 60 individual personal records from the Mustangs during the two-day event.”

For the Redondo Union and Mira Costa teams, their top individual performances were both in the pole vault.

Amari Turner was second and Brigitte Grau fourth in the girls’ pole vault.

Turner, who finished second at state last year, was in a dual with Paige Sommers of Westlake.

“She got me this time,” said Turner of Sommers. “We got to 13-feet. I didn’t make 13 today. Hopefully that is a new mark that will come soon.”

Tuner’s personal best is 12-feet-10, which is what she cleared at state.

She won four medals total, but three for finishing in the top four. She was on the winning distance relay team, she was second in the pole vault and fourth with the 4 x 100 relay team. She also had the tenth fastest time in the 100 meters and won a fourth medal for that.

“It feels good,” Turner said.

For Grau, it brought out her best against the best.

“My coaches and I are very happy with my performance,” Grau said.

She is working on fine tuning her mechanics.

“I am very happy with an 11’6” clearance this early on in the season. It is a very promising mark considering I am not doing a full approach yet. I am super excited for what the rest of this season will bring.”

Mira Costa’s Amari Fraser, senior, was also fourth in the 100 hurdles with her time of 15.27.

Overall, the Redondo Union girls team had a fine performance against top competition.

Mahkaia Lee of Redondo Union placed fifth in the long jump with a leap of 17’5.5.

“The powerful Redondo girls team came up short in winning the team title but were good enough place fourth best team overall,” Leetch said. “And Mira Costa placed a terrific 10th overall.”

“I think our girls’ team has always been pretty strong,” Turner said.

The highlight was their win in the sprint medley with a time of 1:51.53. The runners were Amber Autry, Julia Ausland, Lee and Turner.

The same four runners were fourth in the 4 x 100.

“They improved their seasonal best with a time 48.26,” Leetch said.

One other relay, the Seahawks girls distance crew placed second to powerful Great Oak in the 4 x 800 with a time of 9:27.46.

The Redondo Union boys’ team had a standout performance by a sprinter.

“Anthony Zuanich placed well with a 10.99 100-meter time in the invitational heat for the fifth fastest overall,” Leetch said. “He also led the 4x100 Relay with a time 43.85, good enough for ninth fastest time of the day.”

Other Mira Costa highlights were the girls distance medley relay finishing second with a time of 12:40.07 and the 4 x 400 relay fifth with a season best time of 4:07.78.

Individually, freshman Dalia Frias was eighth in the 1600 meters with a time of 5:11.71.

Several athletes were ninth including sophomore Cormac Carew with a personal best of 4:26.24 in the 1600, senior Natalia Cervantes was ninth fastest in the 300 hurdles in 48.86.

Senior pole vaulters Andrew Sandberg and Rory Schelly tied for ninth after clearing 13’6”.

Contact Lisa Jacobs or follow her on Twitter @lisaannjacobs.

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