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Jordan Lakewood Long Beach Poly Millikan St. Anthony Track & Field Wilson

PREVIEW: Long Beach Girls’ Track and Field

The562’s season previews for the 2022-23 school year are sponsored by Vertical Raise, the official team fundraising partner of The562.

The562’s coverage of cross country and track and field is sponsored by Bryson Financial.

The Long Beach Poly girls are looking for a 12th Moore League title in the last 13 years, and with a dual meet win over Wilson, the Jackrabbits are likely to get it. But Wilson has been the higher-ranked team in CIF-SS and CIF State polls, so it should be a fun postseason between the two Long beach powers.

The Jackrabbit sprints are led by Ari’yonna Smith, Kennadi Reed, Eriss Portley, Jaylin Hunter, Leila Holland, and (as she returns from injury) Taylor Johnson, who will run the 200/400 this year. In the hurdles Poly has a rising talent in sophomore Anise Becker.

The Jackrabbits boast known stars in the distance races too, as Moore League cross country champion Avery Peck can run the 1600 or 3200, and XC star/former league champ Camille Lindsey will run the 800 or 1600. Alexa Bryson and Danika Hunter add depth and senior experience and leadership in the 800 and 1600 as well, and could help power Poly’s 4×800 this year.

Portley will do the long and triple jumps for Poly, while Jill Wetteland is back in the high jump after a breakout freshman year.

In the throws, Poly has a star in junior Mai Ricks, along with Jaidah Irving and Kimberly Gonzalez.

At Wilson, a strong relays presence and some senior star power have the expectations sky-high for the Bruins. Arizona State signee Aujane Luckey is one of the top girls’ athletes in the state and could run a variety of events, as an elite middle-distance talent. She’s joined on the Bruins’ state-leading 4×400 team by freshman breakout Brooke Blue, Ma’Nia Tidwell, and Kaylin Edwards. Xcaret Tirado and Elisa Rodriguez join Luckey and Blue on the Bruins’ 4×800, currently No. 4 in the State.

Junior Tarynn Maroney comes from a long line of standout athletes, and looks like a fun presence to watch for Wilson as she’s currently among the tops in the league in the 100 and 200 and is the No. 1 Moore League pole vaulter, along with running on multiple Wilson relays. The freshman Blue and sophomores Edwards and Loren Webster give the Bruins some young speedy firepower, while Tirado and Natalie Maahs will compete in the 800 and 1600, with Maahs also in the 3200. Edwards and Tidwell give Wilson their traditionally strong presence in the hurdles as well.

Jordan is still in build mode on the girls’ side, but Moore likes his young talent. Sophomore Makayla Williams is the current Moore League in the 100 after transferring from Gahr, and sophomore Malaya Hardiman looks good in the 200 or the 400. Senior Amareah Hamilton is a 100 hurdler with big upside. The Panthers have another talented youngster in freshman Kelis Hicks, currently No. 2 in the league in the long jump. Williams, Hardiman, Hamilton, and Hicks will also run the relays for Jordan.

At Lakewood, sophomore Amaya Rice is a sprint doubler to watch, while senior La’Naya Hill-Muhammad will contend for the league 400 title. The Lancers’ throws program has been strong, and freshman Chrisette Hill could be the next Lakewood great. 

At Millikan, freshman Nadia Mejia is a 1600/3200 talent to watch, with Elle Lundahl hurdling, and Chiara Cortez in the throws.

Long Beach High School Track and Field Preview
Mike Guardabascio
An LBC native, Mike Guardabascio has been covering Long Beach sports professionally for 13 years, with his work published in dozens of Southern California magazines and newspapers. He's won numerous awards for his writing as well as the CIF Southern Section’s Champion For Character Award, and is the author of three books about Long Beach history.