The Mt. SAC relays concluded on Saturday, April 15, and was highlighted by the performance of pole vaulter Armand Duplantis. Duplantis, 17, from Lafayette High School in Louisiana, is the world record holder for youth men’s pole vaulting with a jump record of 19 feet 4 1/4 inches. While he did not break his own record on Saturday, Duplantis did set a California youth record of 18 feet 3 inches.
Despite his record-breaking day, Duplantis was disappointed with his performance.
“The runway was different than what I’m used to,” a frustrated Duplantis said. “For me to be satisfied it kind of all depends on the day really,” he added. “I can hit 19 feet again, but it’s not every day you can do it.”
Also competing Saturday was Paralympic athlete Erik Hightower, who placed first in both the 200-meter and 400-meter wheelchair dash.
“It feels great. I love competing at Mt. SAC,” Hightower said. “I’ve been top ten in two Paralympic games and participated in several world championships, and I still always love competing here.”
Among other winners was local high schooler Kenya Paine from Long Beach Poly, who took first in the girls seeded 300 hurdles.
“I didn’t come here expecting to win,” Payne said. “I mean, it’s the Mt. SAC Relays, but I came out here and took it, and I’m really happy about that.”
Shae Anderson from Norco High School also had a noticeable day, as she set the California record in the women’s 400-meter dash invitational with a time of 51.99 seconds.
“This race was really important,” Anderson said. “The 400 is my favorite event, so to know that I came out here and performed like I did, setting the record and knowing I’m number one in the nation now means a lot to me.”
Also setting records on Saturday were the girls 4×200 relay team from Carson, and Long Beach Poly’s 4×800 relay team.
Other high school records were set by Cooper Teare of St. Joseph Notre Dame for the 1 mile, the 4×100 relay and 4×400 relay teams from Rancho Verde, the 4×200 relay team from Long Beach Poly and Claremont’s DMR team.
Mt. SAC Relays event director Doug Todd felt proud of this year’s event.
“It was fantastic, one of the best we’ve had in recent memory,” he said. “We had five meet records.”
Saturday was the culmination of the Relays and always is sure to feature an array of incredible talent, so Todd was not surprised that it featured so many great performances.
“You saw the very best high school, university and elite or Olympic athletes. That’s our big day,” Todd said.