Sadie Engelhardt breaks another record en route to her third 1,600-meter state title

Ventura’s Sadie Engelhardt punctuated her record-setting junior year doing what she does best Saturday night in Clovis: breaking another record and adding a couple more titles to her collection.

Even without the red cape, “Super Sadie” set a new standard for the 1,600 meters in the CIF state track and field championships at Buchanan High, finishing in a national-leading time of 4 minutes 32.06 seconds to shatter the state finals record of 4:33.45 she set last spring. She joined Irvine University’s Polly Plumer (1980-82), Vista’s Kira Jorgensen (1987-89) and Woodbridge’s Christine Babcock (2006-08) as the only girls to win three consecutive 1,600 titles. Engelhardt could become the first four-time state winner next year.

Setting the pace from the start, Engelhardt ran the first lap in 66 seconds, the second in 68 seconds, the third in 69 seconds and the last in 66 seconds to defeat runner-up Braelyn Combe from Corona Santiago by more than six seconds.

“I wanted to spread out and keep it an honest race,” Engelhardt said.

It was Engelhart’s sixth first-place medal in an individual state event — she has won two in cross country and three in track (she won the 800 as a sophomore, making her the first female to accomplish that state meet “double” since Pleasant Hill’s Kathy Costello won the mile and 880-yard races 49 years ago).

“The first lap was almost like a time trial mentality,” Engelhardt said of her 1,600 effort Saturday. “I wanted to see how I felt on the first lap and go from there. I really wanted to get 4:26 but didn’t know if today was the day.”

Instead of defending her state title in the 800, she joined teammates Melanie True, Tiffany Sax and Aelo Curtis to win the 4×800 relay in 8:57.21 — a California girls’ record. The Cougars’ foursome entered as the top seed after winning the Southern Section Masters Meet in 9:02.57, but they needed a superhuman effort from Englehardt on the anchor leg to prevail Saturday. A dropped baton on the final exchange left her trailing by 100 meters in third place when she got the baton, but she steadily closed the gap on front-running Santiago and took the lead rounding the final turn to win by almost three seconds.

“Part of my thinking was you only have to do the 4×800 twice, but I also love running with my teammates,” said Engelhardt, who next season could try to go after the state 800 record of 2:02.04 set by Harvard-Westlake’s Amy Weissenbach in 2011.

In the boys’ 4×800 relay, San Clemente broke its own meet record from last year by 52-hundredths of a second in a winning in 7:38.07.

Defending his 1,600-meter crown was Santa Barbara’s Andreas Dybdahl, who clocked 4:08.23 to edge fellow seniors Anthony Fast Horse (4:09.32) of Ventura and Felix Ibzan (4:10.33) from Beckman.

Niya Clayton won the girls’ 100 meters at the state finals last year and showed her speed during the last leg of the 4×100 on Saturday to hold off Long Beach Poly’s Brooklyn Lee by 11-hundredths of a second and help Oaks Christian win in a state-leading time of 45.67 seconds. Later, Clayton placed sixth in the 100, which Canyon Country Canyon senior Mikaela Warr won by six-thousandths of a second over Gardena Serra’s Mia Flowers in 11.41.

“We watched the tape from yesterday and saw that our handoffs were a little off and I didn’t push all the way through the finish,” Clayton, a senior, said of the Lions’ 46.33 effort to take first place in their qualifying heat Friday. “After winning the 100 last year I was like ‘what’s next?’ But this is my last run out in high school, everyone was working together and I got to run with my sister [Imani] so what could be better?”

After an exciting qualifying round Friday in which six boys posted personal records in the 100, San Diego Section winner Brandon Arrington Jr., a sophomore from Mt. Miguel, won the sprint in 10.33 to edge Granada Hills senior Jordan Coleman (10.43) and Bakersfield sophomore Jalen Ford (10.48). Coleman, the City Section 100 and 200 champion, also finished second in the 200 in 21.04 behind Arrington, who equaled his 20.55 time from Friday.

Upon clearing a personal record of 7 feet 0½ inches to win the boys’ high jump, Birmingham senior Deshawn Banks celebrated by doing a few celebratory flips for the crowd after a spirited duel with Sherman Oaks Notre Dame sophomore JJ Harel, who took second at 6-10.

“For me, getting a PR was a bigger deal because I’ve been trying to clear 7 feet all year,” said Banks, who was fifth at the state meet last year and took first in the event at Arcadia and Mt. SAC in April. “I was excited to jump against the sophomore. I stayed focused at the end, did my claps and went through my routine.”

Culver City senior Morgan Maddox, who had posted the leading qualifying times in the 200 and 400, finished second to Amirah Shaheed of San Diego Madison in the 200 and was third in the 400. Canyon’s Jordehn Gammage won the boys’ 300 hurdles in 37.35.

Ventura senior Valentina Fakrogha cleared 5-8 to win the girls’ high jump and Vista Murrieta senior Alyssa Alumbres won the triple jump in 40-11. Leaping 20-5¼ to win the long jump was Long Beach Wilson’s Loren Webster.

After winning the shotput with a throw of 44¾ to win state last year, Notre Dame junior Aja Johnson settled for second Saturday with an effort of 46-8¾, much better than the 44-2¼ she threw for second in Friday’s qualifying. Earlier Saturday, Johnson won the discus with a personal record of 158-10 on her fourth throw.

Dana Hills junior Evan Noonan ran the last lap in 57.12 seconds to win the boys’ 3,200 in 8:43.12 in a fast race in which 17 runners broke nine minutes. Defending champion Rylee Blade of Santiago was third in the girls’ race in 10:06.26. Jaelyn Williams of Eastlake won in 9:57.11.

Wilson took first in the last event, the 4×400 relay, in 3:41.40 to wrap up the girls’ team title with 36 points. Ventura finished second with 30 points and Vista Murrieta was third with 23.

Poly senior Xai Ricks won the 400 in 46.79 and ran the anchor leg on the 4×400 in 46.6 to secure second and clinch a boys-record 11th team title for the Jackrabbits. Poly scored 33 points in claiming its first title since 2011, with Clovis North (28) finishing second and Wilson (27) third.

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