Unsung group excels

There was a football-like capacity crowd of more than 7,000 that filled Arcadia High’s stadium Saturday night for the Arcadia Invitational, and the 400-meter relay resembled an all-star team of football players.

Track and field: An article in the April 11 Sports section on the Arcadia Invitational meet said 17 runners had broken nine minutes in the boys’ 3,200 meters. Sixteen runners broke nine minutes. —

There was USC-bound Robert Woods leading the state Division III champions from Gardena Serra. There was California-bound Kaelin Clay from always fast Long Beach Poly. There was the No. 1 junior running back prospect in the state, De’Anthony Thomas, running for Los Angeles Crenshaw.

So guess which relay team ran the third-fastest time in Arcadia history? It was unsung Oxnard Rio Mesa and the team of Jamison Jordan, LaDarrin Roach, Blake Selig and Jamaal Perkins, who finished in 40.69 seconds, the second-fastest time in the nation. The first three all played football, and they treasured their moment of outrunning athletes from the big-name football powers.

“It’s indescribable,” Jordan said. “We knew we were capable of it. This really boosts our confidence.”

There were new and old faces stepping forward. Junior Jantzen Oshier of Mission Viejo Trabuco Hills pulled off an upset in the mile, winning in 4 minutes 12.90 seconds. Elias Geydon of Los Angeles Loyola was third in 4:13.39.

In the hurdles, a standout has emerged in Agoura junior Jonathan Cabral, who won the 110 high hurdles in 13.94 and the 300 intermediates in 36.83, the third-fastest time in the nation. He appears ready to take over for injured D.J. Morgan of Woodland Hills Taft as the top hurdler in the state.

Asked how he had gotten so good, Cabral said, “My dad. One day, when I was little, he took me to do the hurdles. Since then, he’s been my coach.”

In the 200, Crenshaw’s Thomas turned on the speed and won in 21.48, beating Woods, who finished third in 21.55. George Atkinson from Livermore Granada took second in 21.53.

“I just ran a good curve and tried to relax down the straightaway,” Thomas said.

In the girls’ 110 high hurdles, Stanford-bound Kori Carter showed off her outstanding form with a winning time of 13.55. Carter completed the double with a victory in the 300 in 42.52.

In the pole vault, UCLA-bound Michael Woepse didn’t get the chance to go for 18 feet, but he cleared 17 feet to win before missing three times at 17-5.

“The wind was good and the runway was fast, so it’s kind of a bummer I only got 17 feet,” Woepse said. “18 feet is definitely there. That’s the goal.”

The best individual performance came from the most unlikely of competitors, 400-meter runner Josh Mance of Chino Don Lugo. Because of an oversight, he never was entered in the meet even though he won the silver medal last summer at the IAAF World Youth Championships in Italy.

He was cleared to run for Don Lugo by the Southern Section on Jan. 25 after transferring from Chino Hills. His new principal, Preston Carr, called Arcadia officials this week and asked if he could run. On Saturday morning, Carr answered the phone at Don Lugo and received word that Mance could run because of a late scratch. Mance ran 46.79 in the day portion of the meet, the fastest 400 in the nation. He came back in the evening to run 47.11, the second fastest time in the nation.

In the boys’ 3,200, 17 runners ran under nine minutes.