Lee, Frias head list of local athletes competing for State track and field titles
by Randy Angel
Redondo senior Mahkaia Lee has one last chance to leave her mark among the record books of Sea Hawk track and field history.
Lee, who has the third-best mark in state long jump competition with a mark of 19 feet, 9.5 inches she set at the Trabuco Hills Invitational on March 30, will be looking to go out with a new personal record and, hopefully, a state championship.
“I believe it will take a jump of 20 plus to win the State Title,” Lee said. “I’m excited to be there. I’m looking forward to competing and giving it my best shot. Although I do want to perform well, I don’t feel pressured. I actually enjoy competing…adding pressure would take away the fun.”
In 2008 Chloe Curtis qualified for the California State Track Championships becoming the first Redondo athlete in 28 years to accomplish the feat. Lee reaching the State Meet this year marks the team’s 12th consecutive year to have had an athlete qualify.
“We as a staff are very proud of the season Mahkaia has had,” Redondo coach Bob 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.”
Lee and Serra’s A’Lena Cheney finished fourth and sixth, respectively, at the CIF Southern Section Masters Meet held at El Camino College last Saturday to advance in the girls long jump competition.
The 101st CIF State Track & Field Championships will take place Friday and Saturday at Veterans Memorial Stadium on the campus of Buchanan High School in Clovis.
While Lee will be wrapping up her prep career, Mira Costa freshman Dalia Frias is on the road to a superb high school career.
Frias qualified in the 1600 with a time of 4.51.47, a personal-best performance she turned in at last weekend’s Masters Meet.
“It feels really good to have run so well my freshman year, especially from having not really any running experience coming into it,” Frias said. “My main mentors have been my coaches Renee (Williams-Smith) and Annie (Seawright-Newton) along with many of the upperclassmen who have helped me become a better runner. 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.”
Also representing the Bay League will be Aiden Lieb, a junior hurdler from Peninsula High who won the 110 hurdles at the Masters Meet with a personal-best time of 14.48.
South Torrance senior Layne Hayward will represent the Spartans in the girls pole vault. Hayward set a personal record of 12’6” two weeks ago at the Division 2 finals.
Also from the Pioneer League, West Torrance will be sending a pair of athletes to the state championships.
Junior Jake Parker posted a time of 4:14.22 at the Masters Meet to finish eighth in the 1,600. He set a personal best the previous week with a time of 14:12.06
Kyten Arthur was fifth in the pole vault (14-9). He holds a personal record of 15’2” set at the Pioneer League finals.
Serra High will be represented by senior Jazmyne Frost and Inglewood High by junior Mekhi Mays.
As a sprinter, Frost earned spots to compete in the girls 100 and 200. She set personal records at the 2018 CIF State Championship prelims when she finished the 100 in 11.57 and the 200 in 23.65.
Mays finished fifth in the boys 200 (21.84) after placing first in the CIF-Southern Section Division 4 Finals two weeks ago.