When Aaliyah McCormick runs the 100-meter hurdles, someone could pound on a drum — a big drum — and it wouldn’t faze her.
The Scripps Ranch senior ran against San Diego’s Charlize James and Cathedral Catholic’s Kapiolani Coleman for the first time, but she didn’t see a lot of them after the gun sounded at the 41st Mt. Carmel Invitational Saturday.
McCormick scorched a time of 13.86 seconds — just .01 behind her section record of 13.85 set a year ago in the Division II championships — to improve on her state lead.
It was one of three meet records and a bundle of 2022 section season bests in the meet that featured more than 80 schools. The 13.86 shattered the 14.01 by Long Beach Wilson’s Ebony Collins in 2006.
Not that James and Coleman didn’t push McCormick.
James, who had the section lead at the start of the week at 14.36, was also wishing the automatic timing was a flash quicker as she clocked a personal best of 14.00 seconds, just missing her first sub-14.
Coleman, who would come back later to run the fastest 300-meter hurdle time of the season at 42.88 seconds, placed third at 14.07.
Putting those in perspective, McCormick equaled the second best time ever run in section history, James improved a full tenth of second to move into third and Coleman is now No. 4.
From another view, they are 1-2-3 in the state with Thousand Oak’s Lauren Thai becoming only the fourth runner to crack 15 seconds, finishing fourth in 14.95. And, San Diego High freshman Anisa Bowen-Fontenot is now right on the verge of a sub-15 time after placing fifth in 15.04.
One of McCormick’s strengths, in addition to having 11.99 speed in the 100, is the ability to shut out all distractions.
“During the race, I focus on the finish line and myself,” said McCormick, who raised a few eyebrows when she said her goal heading into the season was 13-seconds flat.
“The key is blocking everything out. Now I get to relax and enjoy spring break.”
James was still smiling because she lowered her school record and with normal progress, should get under 14 — perhaps as soon as the Arcadia Invitational in two weeks where the three girls should again be side-by-side.
“I felt good and got the push I needed for a PR (personal record),” said James. “It’s really good that the three of us can race against each other like this because we push each other.”
Coleman got her PR and some revenge later with the 300-hurdle win, which is more to the 5-foot-9 speedster’s liking.
“I’m happy with the PR (in the 100 hurdles),” said the junior. “I got a good start and was big at the end, I just need to work on my mechanics.”
In the 300s she wasn’t really challenged in bettering her time of 43.24 from a year ago. The 42.88 is No. 12 all-time.
Golden Valley’s girls, from Santa Clarita, got the meet off to a record start when the 4×100 relay team sped to a state-leading time of 46.53, eclipsing the meet record of 46.65 by Long Beach Wilson in 2006.
Another visitor, Mackenzie Browne from J.W. North of Riverside, collected the third all-time 800 meet best when she clocked a time of 2:09.70 to top Madeline Cramer of Bishop’s, who grabbed the section lead at 2:11.49. The previous top time was 2:10.54 by Emily Dunn of Anaheim Esperanza in 20067.
In near-perfect weather helped produce 11 more seasonal-bests:
Oregon-bound Jalil Tucker of Lincoln recorded a 10.66-second time in the 100-meter dash and only an over-the-allowable wind of 3.0-meters per second prevented him from adding a second 2022 best of 21.47 in the 200.
Point Loma’s Manuel Co,rreia posted a tough 800-1600 double, clocking a 1:55.14 to win the 800 and 4:14.62 to finish first in the 1,600.
Mission Hills’ Isaac Thomas erased his previous best of 15.53 in the 110-meter high hurdles with a 15.21.
Rancho Bernardo’s Matt Rydbeck improved his pole vault best by eight inches to win at 14-8.
Mission Bay’s Brandon Cheeks recorded a 45-3 in the triple jump, passing Eastlake’s Brandon Buu, who had gone 45-1½.
Girls season bests included:
Although Madison sophomore Amirah Shaheed placed second in the girls 100 to Golden Valley’s Adonijah Curry (11.77), she clocked an 11.89 to move to No. 1 in the section.
Poway’s Alyssa Bean had another big meet, winning the 400 in 55.82, placing second in the 200 at 24.73 and anchoring the Titans’ 4×400 relay in 56.2 for a 3:57.32, improving on their 3:58.25.
Del Norte’s Hannah Riggins showed end-of-season speed when she won the 1,600 in 4:54.26.
Mikaela Miles of Point Loma bounded 37-5 in the triple jump to add almost two feet to the previous best.
Cathedral Catholic’s Kennedy Clark added another four inches to her section-best in the shot with a winning toss of 43-4.
Brand is a freelance writer.