Above: Bishop Amat’s Darien Johnson in the boys 110 hurdles at Mt. SAC
By Steve Ramirez
Invitational track and field meets are about showtime, and no one exhibited that more than West Covina’s BeeJay Lee, who continues to look like the best sprinter in the CIF-Southern Section.
The junior made a pretty loud statement Saturday, breezing to the fifth-quickest time in the country after winning the 100-meter invitational run at the 52nd Mt. San Antonio College Relays with an impressive time of 10.61 seconds.
He also tied the best mark in the state this year after beating Covina’s Remontay McClain, who finished second at 10.73 with Robert Herron of Dorsey third at 10.79.
Other top performances were turned in by Bishop Amat’s Kyle Price, who was second in the long jump invitational; Pasadena’s Alexis Walker, who was second in the girls high jump invitational; Diamond Ranch’s Koree Hines, who was third in the 110 hurdles invitational; and San Dimas’ Erika Kalmar, who was fourth in the 400 invitational, and Katherine Salcido, who was fifth in the long jump invitational.
But the story of the day was Lee.
“I worked on my blocks all week,” said Lee, who finished third in a seeded 100 race at last week’s Arcadia Invitational. “I learned to stay low and get out as fast as I could and push with as much power as I could. I ran my first 50 with full speed, picked up my knees a little bit the last 50 and had a nice (finish).”
Lee broke with the field strong at the start and was even during the first 40 meters before pulling away over the final 50 and getting good separation at the finish.
“There’s always competition out there,” Lee said. “You never want to underestimate anyone. The first 50, I always go as fast as I can and the final 50, I just pick up my knees. I’m always ready to run because the competition is so strong and you have to be prepared for it.”
Lee beat McClain in the 100 for the fourth time this season after previously besting his friendly rival at a tri-meet at Covina in March, the Covina Invitational earlier this month and at last week’s Arcadia Invitational.
McClain backed up his second-place finish in the 100 with a solid third in the 200. Robert Woods of Serra won the race in 21.17. McClain, who shined in the event at the Arcadia Invitational last week, was even until the turn and finished in 21.43.
“I feel good (about the day),” McClain said. “I gave it 100 percent. I felt good about getting third in the 200 and second in the 100. Overall, it was a good day today.”
Price led the area contingent in the long jump, placing second with a leap of 18 feet, 1
Walker had a solid performance in the high jump, easily taking second with a leap of 5-8.
She just missed taking the top spot, which was earned by Long Beach Poly’s Tara Richmond, who went 5-10.
The area was well represented in the boys 110 hurdles invitational race. Diamond Ranch’s Hines finished a solid third at 14:37, beating Amat’s Darien Johnson (fourth, 14.56), Diamond Ranch’s Ryan Gibson (seventh, 14.91) and West Covina’s Ricky Johnson (eighth, 15.10).
John Cabral of Granite Hills won the race at 13.96.
Damien’s Jarrett Gonzales and West Covina’s Johnson also did well in the 300 hurdles invitational, finishing fourth (38.40) and sixth (38.88), respectively.
Kalmar was steady in the 400 invitational. She kept up with the leaders before giving way down the stretch and finishing fourth with a time of 57.04.
Other good performances were turned in by Glendora’s Austin Goodheart, who was ninth in the 800 invitational at 1:57.54; Arcadia’s Catrina McAlister, who was sixth in the girls 800 invitational at 2:14.22; Diamond Ranch’s Daylon Wright, who was sixth in the 400 invitational at 49.99; Muir’s Taylar Mills, who was sixth in the girls 300 invitational at 46.82; and St. Lucy’s Melissa Horton, who was 13th in the 800 invitational at 2:18.56.
Pasadena’s Todd Barnes finished fifth in the high jump invitational with a leap of 6-4.
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