Edison’s Alexa Sheldon shoots up leaderboard after Arcadia victory

Edison's Alexa Sheldon competes in the discus throw during the Track and Field Arcadia Invitational.
Edison’s Alexa Sheldon competes in the girls’ discus throw during the Arcadia Invitational on Saturday.
(James Carbone)

Alexa Sheldon’s ascendance has her grinning and winning quite often, the senior thrower making the most of what remains of her high school career.

The Edison girls’ shot put record has fallen, and so too did Sheldon when she authored her greatest throw yet to kick off the Arcadia Invitational night meet.

With her first competition throw of the evening, Sheldon produced a mark of 44 feet, 3½ inches, a toss that won the invitational flight of the shot put by 9 inches over a national field.

Edison's Alexa Sheldon is all smiles holding her medal after winning the girls' shot put in the Arcadia Invitational.
(James Carbone)

“I did not think that I actually hit it,” said Sheldon, whose winning throw was good for second in the CIF Southern Section and fourth in the state in shot put this season. “It seemed like a normal throw. It did not seem like I got after it or anything, and so when I was over at the sideline with my coach, I’m like, ‘Is that finally 43 [feet],’ because I was an inch away from it. I dropped to the ground and skidded my knees out of enjoyment to go sprint over to Mom when I hit the 44-[foot throw].”

A Cal State Fullerton commit, Sheldon has won all 10 starts she has made this spring in the shot put, including a handful of invitational victories. She will be the prohibitive favorite to defend her title in the event at the Orange County track and field championships on April 13 at Mission Viejo High.

The Edison school record in the shot put had previously belonged to Marie Philman, who set the previous standard of 39-10½ in 1996. Philman remains in possession of the Chargers’ discus throw record at 142-9.

Newport Harbor's Marley McCullough takes the baton from Natalie McCarty in the girls' distance medley relay.
Newport Harbor’s Marley McCullough takes the baton from Natalie McCarty for the anchor leg of the girls’ distance medley relay on Saturday.
(James Carbone)

Sheldon has threatened that mark, too, topping out at 141-3 in a dual meet against Fountain Valley on March 27. That mark is fifth in the section and eighth in the state. She finished 14th at 129-7 in the discus throw at Arcadia.

Arcadia offers distance relays, which provide intrigue due to their rarity in the high school season. While not contested in the CIF postseason, the distance medley relay resulted in a photo finish, with Newport Harbor being edged out by Clovis Buchanan (11:52.07) by two hundredths of a second.

The distance medley relay, comprising legs of 1,200 meters, 400 meters, 800 meters and 1,600 meters in that order, was run sequentially by junior Keaton Robar, freshman Aliyah Chappell, sophomore Natalie McCarty and junior Marley McCullough.

Newport Harbor's Marley McCullough, left, and Clovis Buchanan's Sierra Cornett race to the finish line.
Newport Harbor’s Marley McCullough, left, and Clovis Buchanan’s Sierra Cornett race to the finish line in the distance medley relay.
(James Carbone)

McCullough, who along with Robar reached the CIF State cross-country finals in the fall, said competing on a relay team has helped her form a bond with her teammates.

“That’s a fun event,” said McCullough. “I didn’t even know [distance relays were] a thing coming into this, and I think it’s really cool because I was just kind of bummed. I thought relay teams were so cool, like the [1,600-meter relay] and the [400-meter relay]. I knew I’m never going to get to do that. … You get some distance people, but then you get to take a sprinter from your team. You get close to someone that you usually probably wouldn’t. We’re all one team, but there’s so many kids on track.”

Earlier in the evening, Robar returned to the stage where she became an emerging star in the 800 meters. Even in competing in the seeded race, as opposed to the invitational flight, the field still propelled her to a seasonal-best 2:09.62.

Newport Harbor's Keaton Robar competes in the 800 meters seeded race in the Arcadia Invitational on Saturday.
(James Carbone)

Another difference this time around is that she found herself running from in front, becoming the hunted as San Diego Westview’s Kaitlyn Arciaga and JSerra’s Anne Elise Packard took aim at her on the backstretch of the final lap.

“The races that I’ve been in, you never see me leading,” Robar said. “Pretty much, this time, I was leading the whole time. It’s very common when you see the leader get outkicked, which is what happened.”

Corona del Mar’s Melisse Djomby Enyawe finished 12th in the race with a time of 2:20.02. The senior set a personal record of 2:12.87 in the event in her previous outing at the Azusa Meet of Champions on March 23.

Fountain Valley's Izzy Abrahams gets assistance from a coach before her pole vault attempt in the Arcadia Invitational.
(James Carbone)

Fountain Valley’s Isabella Abrahams tied for seventh in the girls’ pole vault, clearing the first three heights in a total of four attempts en route to a mark of 12 feet, 3 inches. She had three attempts to break her personal-best mark of 12-8, which she established at the Ontario Relays on Feb. 17.

Rounding out the local performances under the lights on Saturday were Corona del Mar’s Ava Simos in the girls’ 200 seeded sprint (seventh, 24.79 seconds) and Huntington Beach’s Makenzie McRae in the girls’ 3,200 meters (23rd, 10:32.15).

Corona del Mar's Ava Simos competes in the 200 meters seeded race of the Arcadia Invitational on Saturday.
(James Carbone)