Relay squad sets school record, ties state best
Re-establishing their dominance in northern California, the St. Mary’s track & field team blew away the field Saturday at the Meet of Champions in Sacramento. They won six individual events as well as both boys’ relays, and several Panthers posted personal and season bests.
The highlight of the day was the boys’ 4x100-meter relay team tying the state’s best mark this season, as well as setting a new school record. The team of Asokah Muhammed, Courtney Brown, Chris Dunbar and Halihl Guy torched the field in 41.30 seconds, tying Taft High’s season best. The Panthers’ previous best this year was 41.78 seconds, a quantum leap from Saturday’s mark.
“They beat their own mark by a lot,” St. Mary’s head coach Jay Lawson said. “For them to go down that far, that’s a huge day for them.”
But the hits just kept on coming for the relay members. Dunbar won the 400-meter dash with a personal best, Muhammed won the triple jump, and Guy won the 300-meter high hurdles with his best time of the season. The four then reunited to win the 4x400-meter relaygoing away to end the night, although Dunbar aggravated his hamstring on the anchor leg.
“We’re peaking right now,” Guy said. “We didn’t want to peak to early and die at the end of the season, so we’re doing it at the right time. We’re all just running really well right now.”
Guy said his team is now the fastest in the state.
“I think that’s the best time in the state this year. Taft ran that time in the dual meet that was hand-timed. There’s no doubt that we’re the best right now,” he said.
Less surprising but just as dominant was Kamaiya Warren, who won both the shot put and discus yet again. Ignoring the heat and her fatigue from taking the SAT that morning, Warren set personal bests in both events.
“This is the first time Kamaiya has put together two personal bests at the same meet. She usually throws better in one or the other,” Lawson said. “It was a breakthrough for her to do well in both, that’s what she’ll need to do in the state meet.”
Warren wasn’t surprised she won both events, as she has failed to pull the double just once this year, but said she wasn’t at the top of her game.
“I’m the best I’ve ever been right now, but I feel that I can do better,” she said. “If I can throw that far when I’m hot and tired and just took the SAT, imagine what I can do on a really good day.”
St. Mary’s first winner of the day was high jumper Riana Shaw, who cleared five feet, five inches. Shaw has made a huge improvement in the last few weeks, topped by her jump of five feet, eight inches last week at the Top 8 Invitational, a personal best. She attributed her sudden outburst to paying more attention at practice.
“I finally started really listening to my coach, and that’s made a big difference,” she said. “It’s all starting to make sense.”
But Shaw, who never jumped higher than 5 feet, two inches before this season, has even loftier goals for the end of her senior year.
“I want to jump six feet this year. That’s what I have to keep telling myself if I want to get better,” she said.
With BSAL finals this week and the state championship meet at the beginning of June, Lawson said his team is starting to come together.
“This is a big meet for us going into championship season next week. Everyone’s getting tuned up, and we had a lot of personal bests today,” Lawson said. “It’s not so much the wins as that everyone’s getting faster.”