Lane Tech Boys lead strong first day at Arcadia Invite

Chicago Lane Tech's 4x800 relay grabs the lead on the anchor leg (Jeff Parenti photo)

Arcadia HS--

The opening day of the 54th Annual Arcadia Invitational (minus 2020 because of COVID) could have been billed "Fast Times at Arcadia High" because of the super-fast performances amid the staggering heatwave that has rocked most of Southern California.

After the Jserra girls clocked 9:06.45 to easily the invitational 4x800 relay, it was the boys' turn to show off. Long Beach Wilson, CA kept applying the pressure on each lead-off leg with speedy opening 400s. The gap they created prevented a cluster of teams from working together. Wilson's lead runner junior Isaac Lewis sped off to an opening 25-second 200m that split the 13-field field up. Lane senior Emmett Kennedy tested his mettle by going with him. The opening leg was 1:54-55. Kennedy finished in 1:57.2.

It was more of the same as Wilson senior Nico Colchico raced to a galloping lead on the field. And again the lead pack made its strong assertion with 200m to go to close the lead. Lane senior Jack Klein followed by Bellarmine senior Tommy Snycerski was there too. A fleet of 1:55s to 1:57s presented itself well and there was no doubt that we were in for something special.

Now, the third legs kept their feet on the gas but it was Lane Tech (junior Hunter Whitney), and Bellarmine (senior Rick Yanashita) that met Wilson senior Leroy Crook at the final exchange. It was an impressive display, to say the least. Whitney was patient and smart enough to split 1:58.1. The 5:52 aggregate time was well within the bandwidth to clock a sub-7:50 for all three teams or maybe even four.

Junior William Archer of Lane Tech was in lockstep with Bellarmine senior Ben Pinkel and Wilson junior Marcell Francis - Mitchell. They were rolling and sub-6:50 on the bell. Pinkel and Francis - Mitchell pulled away from Archer with very stout 1:52 and 1:54 carries. The top four teams netted top 10 marks in the country. Bellarmine US#2 7:45.79, Wilson US#3 7:46.38, Buchanan US#7 7:52.43, and Lane Tech US#10 7:53.51.

Junior Evelyn Hett of Chicago Jones College Prep made the journey to California a successful one as she competed in the girls-rated 3200m race. Hett held back in a large pack of nearly 30 girls. As the leaders clocked 5:21 for the first mile, Hett was wise to gauge her current ability within the fray. Hett held strong and clocked a personal best 11:07.94. The winner was junior Shelby Jensen of Westlake, Utah and she ran 10:45.55.

The final land of Lincoln competitor was Akili Parekh of Chicago Latin. The junior standout played a more conservative race style instead of his usual front-running tactics. Parekh was nestled among 15 or 16 or so runners through the first mile under 4:40. Parekh's body language and form were intact as he inched toward newer heights of his running ability. He was on 9:15 pace until 600m to go. Parekh would eventually finish 12th overall in a personal best of 9:21.77.