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Jordan Lakewood Long Beach Poly Millikan Track & Field

Long Beach Track Stars Shine at Arcadia Invitational

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It was a busy week for Long Beach track and field athletes, with dual meets on Wednesday in the Moore League and then the star-studded Arcadia Invitational Friday and Saturday night. The local stars shone brightly under the lights at Arcadia, with big wins and personal bests in several events.

The action started on Wednesday, as Long Beach Poly took a step closer to clinching the Moore League boys’ and girls’ track and field championships. The Jackrabbits pulled out a narrow win over Jordan on the boys’ side and prevailed on the girls’ side as well, winning the boys’ head-to-head contest 67-64 and the girls’ 97-24.

The boys’ battle was close enough that star Poly 400/800 runner Xai Ricks had to do the high jump to secure some much needed pointes for the Jackrabbits, whose depth in the distance races (scoring 17 points in the 1600 and 3200) carried the day.


The win gives Poly victories over both Wilson and Jordan this year on the boys’ and girls’ side, giving them the inside track to the league title with just one week of dual meets remaining (the Jackrabbits visit Millikan April 19 looking to close it out).

The action continued into the weekend with a large contingent of Poly, Jordan, Millikan, and Lakewood athletes at Arcadia.

For Poly, the boys’ 4x400 quartet of Noah Smith, Caliph Johnson, Lamarr Kirk Jr. and Xai Ricks won the invitational race with a time of 3:15.56, second-best in California this year and trailing only league rival Wilson, who put up 3:15.04 at the Texas Relays last week. 

“We all wanted to leave here with a win, we didn’t want to finish tonight without winning,” said Ricks.

Johnson and Smith were joined by freshman Malachi Dawson and senior Cal signee Javon Hampton for a second-place finish at Arcadia in the sprint medley relay, with the second-fastest time in the state this year.

The Jackrabbits weren’t the only underclassmen showing out at Arcadia, however. Millikan’s Jason Parra ran a truly ludicrous 8:46.50 in the 3200, the fastest two-mile time ever by a Long Beach high school athlete, beating his own record set earlier this year. The junior’s mark is also now the best in the state this year, although in a tribute to how stacked the Arcadia field is, he only finished ninth in the race, which was the fastest two-mile field in history.

The Panthers had a strong showing at Arcadia as well, as Darryll Stevens put up a top-10 in the state mark in the 300 hurdles with a time of 38.81. Jordan also saw nice marks from its sprint medley relays and from jumper Jerman Simms Jr., who took third in the open high jump with a six-foot clearance.

For Lakewood, the Lancers got an Arcadia gold in the 4x200 seeded race, where their quartet of Jai’ya Jones, Amaya Rice, Ziann Jefferson, and La’Naya Hill-Muhammad won with a time of 1:39.04.

The top Moore League teams will all be in action at the Mt. SAC Invitational this weekend, where the girls’ 4x100 invitational race will feature four Long Beach teams in its nine-team field, with Poly, Wilson, Jordan, and Lakewood all competing.

PHOTOS: Arcadia Invitational Track & Field
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.