Junior hurdler qualifies for important meet

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Baton Pass Akela Morinaka (left) receives the baton handoff from Tayler Rodriguez (right) in the varsity girls 4x1600 meter relay in the Ice Breaker Relays at Monrovia High School. Photo by Tom Fritzius

Setting personal records every subsequent meet, Culver City High School underclass and varsity distance runners scored well in the Culver City Invitational Relays and in a tri-meet against Inglewood and North Torrance held at Culver City High.

Junior Lucas Nozick, who led the Centaur hurdlers with victories in the 110-meter high hurdles and the 300-meter intermediate hurdles in the tri-meet, clocked a 15.77 in the 110-meter event, marking the fourth time in succession that he has met the qualifying standard for the prestigious Arcadia Invitational, April 8-9.

Sophomore Robert Heyl set a personal record in his leg of the frosh/soph 4×1600 meters in the recent Culver City Invitational Relays. Junior Cody Lewis continued his excellent season, clocking 4:48.00 in his 1600-meter leg of the varsity distance medley relay.

For the girls, freshman Akela Morinaka set a personal best, running 2:40.00 in the frosh/soph 4×800 Sophomore Ellis Kennedy in the varsity 4×1600, freshman Kelli Tademaru in the frosh/soph 4×1600, freshman Danya Aleem in both the frosh/soph 4×1600 and the frosh/soph 4×800, and freshman Logan Kim in the frosh/soph 4×800 (breaking the three-minute barrier for the first time, with a 2:58) also set personal records.

The highlight of the day in the Culver City Relays for the Centaurs hurdlers was the performance of Nozick, who placed second in the 110-meter high hurdles in a personal best of 15.12, and he followed with a fifth-place finish in the 300-meter hurdles.

For the girls, sophomore Courtney Chappell won the frosh/soph 110-meter hurdles, and freshman Aina Aziman broke the 60-second barrier in the 300-meter hurdles, running the event for only the second time.

Twelve personal bests were set by the Centaur distance runners at in the recent tri-meet against Inglewood and North Torrance.

Junior Sho Harikawa claimed his best-ever mark in the 1600 meters, along with sophomore Evan McNally in the 1600 meters, Heyl in the 1600 meters, sophomore Kevin Liu in the 1600 meters, junior Jeffrey Asai in the 800 meters, and senior Charles Back in the 800 meters. The boys scored well in all three events (the 800, the 1600 and the 3200) with Lewis highlighting the day by running a 4:41.00 in the 1600 meters, followed by a 2:08.00 in the 800 meters.

Morinaka ran a personal record 5:55 for a second-place finish in the varsity girls 1600 meters. She then pushed hard to take a second-place finish in the varsity girls 800 meters. Other individual marks were set by freshman Hirari Watanabe in the frosh/soph 1600 meters, freshman Kelly Chin in the frosh/soph 1600 meters and the frosh/soph 3200 meters, sophomore Amina Anvery in the frosh/soph 1600 meters, and Tademaru in the varsity 3200 meters.

“The girls scored impressively, considering all of them are freshmen and sophomores.  I expect great showings from the squad later this season and next year as they improve,” said distance and hurdlers head coach Tom Fritzius.

Junior hurdler qualifies for important meet