Redondo Union’s Mahkaia Lee and Mira Costa’s Dalia Frias will compete at the 101st CIF State Track & Field Championships on Friday at Buchanan High School’s Veterans Memorial Stadium in Clovis against the best athletes from across the state.
Both athletes advanced following the Masters Meet held at El Camino College on May 18.
Lee, a senior, finished fourth in the long jump with a distance of 18 feet 9.75 inches.
“I’m excited to be there,” Lee said. “I’m looking forward to competing and giving it my best shot.”
She explained the added pressure to be successful is not something she expects to bother her.
“Although I do want to perform well, I don’t feel pressured," she said. "I actually enjoy competing—adding pressure would take away the fun.”
She has a goal in mind.
“I believe it will take a jump of 20-plus (feet) to win the state title,” she said.
Freshman Caelyn Harris of Upland won the Masters Meet with a jump of 20 feet 5.25 inches. She was the only long jump competitor to break 20 feet.
Lee follows a growing list of Redondo Union athletes who have advanced to the state meet.
“In 2008, Chloe Curtis qualified for the California State Track Championships becoming the first athlete in 28 years to accomplish the feat,” said Redondo Union boys and girls track and field head coach Bob Leetch. “Mahkaia Lee reaching the State Meet this year marks our 12th consecutive year we have had an athlete qualify.”
She will be their lone representative.
“We as a staff are very proud of the season Mahkaia has had,” Leetch said. “On a more personal note watching her overcome her injury that occurred at the Arcadia Invitational and fight back to where she is now has been inspiring.”
As for Mira Costa, a freshman will represent the Mustangs in Clovis after three runners made attempts to advance to state. Frias finished seventh in the 1,600 meters.
“It feels really good to have run so well my freshman year, especially from having no really running experience coming into it,” Frias said.
She credited her coaches “along with many of the upperclassmen who have helped me become a better runner.”
As for state, she said, “I am just trying to keep a positive mindset coming into state knowing that I have done all the training leading up to this and it’s time to just put it all into the track.”
“Dalia is an amazing young athlete,” said Mira Costa boys and girls head track and field head coach Moe Russell. “Earning a spot at the state meet out of the tough Southern Section is truly special. Coach Renee Williams Smith and Dalia had a great game plan going into the race and the result has her moving onto CIF-State.”
Frias ran a personal best time of 4:51.39.
“Her workouts indicated that she was capable of running this fast so it is particularly exciting that as a freshman she put it all together on Saturday afternoon and ran a blazing 4:51, which was a personal best by 5 seconds,” Williams Smith said. “She is currently ranked as the No. 2 freshman in California in the 1,600.”
Williams Smith broke down the race by the freshman.
“Dalia ran a faster first lap (1:12) than last week and then settled in with a 1:15 second lap along with the rest of the pack. Her goal was to stay in the pack even pushing the pace if she needed too in order to hit the mark.”
Added her coach, “Last week’s race at CIF finals went out slow and it was a little challenging to make up the time in the last lap. Saturday, she was able to adjust her pacing for each lap to stay in the pack. Dalia was very impressive in her ability to focus in this race.”
Audrey Suarez, sophomore, from Mayfield won the event in a time of 4:45.04. She held off senior Fatima Cortes of Great Oak who was timed in 4:45.41.
There will be no boys competing at state this year from either Redondo Union or Mira Costa.
The best finishers this year were Cy Chittenden, senior, and Billy Atkinson, junior, who ran in the 3200 meters race, but saw their season come to an end.
Chittenden ran his last high school race in a personal best time of 9:11.34, which was good for 10th place.
Atkinson finished in 12th place in the same race with a time of 9:31.05.
Nico Young, sophomore, of Newbury Park won with a time of 8:56.46.
“Cy Chittenden and Billy Atkinson gave everything they had in the 3,200m and left it all on the track,” Russell said. “Our Mustang family is so proud of them and all they accomplished this season.”
The state prelims competition will start at 3 p.m. on Friday with the field events and at 5 p.m. the track portion starts. The top qualifiers advance to the state finals on Saturday. That starts at 4:30 p.m. with the field events.