Prep track and field stars prepare for Arcadia Invitational

Eric Sondheimer
Contact ReporterVarsity Times Insider
Arcadia Invitational, with athletes representing 28 states and four nations, is set for Friday and Saturday

T.J. Brock, the junior speedster from West Hills Chaminade, is pretty picky about what he wears when running.

"I refuse to wear socks," he said.

He runs barefooted in his spikes, and he sure can turn on the speed.

On Saturday during a track and field meet at UCLA, Brock ran the 100 meters in 10.53 seconds, a personal best and the state's fastest time so far this season.

"I was really surprised," said Brock, who ran 10.57 as a freshman. "I didn't expect to run as fast as I did."

It was only his second 100 of the season and could be a sign he's ready to compete against the best in California.

"We're taking it one race at a time," he said. "We'll see what my body puts out."

This is the week prep track and field fans begin to get excited, because the Arcadia Invitational is set for Friday and Saturday at Arcadia High School. There will be athletes from 28 states and four nations represented.

The invitational portion will take place Saturday beginning at 5:30 p.m. and has virtually a who's who of the best in Southern California.

From 400-meter runner Michael Norman of Vista Murrieta to shotputter Matt Katnik of Bellflower St. John Bosco, it's a meet that's going to produce lots of big performances.

Katnik's best mark is 68 feet, 9 inches, and the USC-bound senior would be thrilled to reach 70 feet Saturday.

"I'm just hoping for another PR," he said. "I love Arcadia. It's a great environment. I love how people show up. I've been training real hard."

Brock will not run in the 100. He's going to focus on the 400-meter relay. Chaminade has the state's fastest time of 41.10.

He's also trying to heal a split toe that he got from wearing the same shoes since his freshman year. He started to lose skin on his toe, causing it to bleed. But he's still refusing to wear socks. He intends to run the 100 next week at the Mt. San Antonio College Invitational.

The 100 will feature the Davis brothers from Alemany, Dominic and Diab. On March 14, Dominic ran a wind-aided 10.56 seconds and Diab 10.60. Antonio Mitchell of Vista Murrieta is also entered. He has a best time of 10.57.

The distance races will include cross-country standouts Austin Tamagno of Brea Olinda and Robert Brandt of Loyola.

In the girls' competition, City Section distance star Marissa Williams of Palisades is entered in the 1,600 and 3,200. Standout pole vaulter Kaitlyn Merritt of Santa Margarita is set to compete. And sophomore phenom Lauren Rain Williams of Oaks Christian will be featured in the sprints.

eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

Twitter: @LATSondheimer

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