Culver City Observer -

By Fred Altieri
Sports Reporter 

League Titles for Culver High Girls and Boys Track & Field

Girls Dominate Sprinting Events, Boys Relay Team Clinches Victory


Fred Altieri

Centaur ace sprinter Kayla Barnes enjoys the varsity girls 4x100m relay victory

Speed is of the essence for Culver City High. For the first time in school history both the varsity girls and boys track and field teams repeated as league champions at the same time. The girls dominated once again, winning the Ocean League by 98 points. The boys won their team title by a mere three points.

The 2018 Ocean League Championships took place on Wednesday evening, May 3 at Culver City High for the fourth consecutive year. El Segundo High, Santa Monica High, Beverly Hills High, Lawndale High and Hawthorne High along with Culver High participated in the meet that started at 5:00 p.m. in daylight and ended well after 8:00 p.m. under the stadium lights.

The Centaur boys edged out Lawndale High on the last relay race of the evening to take the league team title for the second consecutive year under head coach Jahmal Wright. The Culver girls won their team competition in convincing fashion and now have won four consecutive league titles under head coach Rayfield Beaton.

"I thought it was a good meet for everybody. That atmosphere was great as well as the competitiveness from all the teams. It was a positive experience for everybody involved," said Wright.

"The girls varsity did very well in that they won by over 100 points. It was a dominating performance by our girls and I'm very proud of them. Our boys had to win the 4-by-4 (400 meter) relay to win the meet. It ended up being a pretty tight race with Santa Monica."

The Culver varsity girls were impressive from the very first race: the 4x100 meter relay race. Ari Belcher, Ayahna Bahati, Alero Soaris and Kayla Barnes ran 49.26 seconds to beat Beverly Hills and the rest of the field by over two seconds.

Kayla Barnes proceeded to win top sprinter honors, taking both the 100m (12.47) and the 200m races (26.15). Soaris took third place in the 100m and the 200m events. Culver's Taylore Reliford placed second in the 200m while Anaiya Mitchell tied for third and Ari Belcher took fifth.

The Centaur girls also swept the top four spots in the 400m event. Anaiya Mitchell took the gold medal in 59.53 seconds. Reliford, Belcher and Emily Sugiyama placed second through fourth. In the girl's varsity 800m race freshman Beneen Fune took bronze.

Eden Winslow also won a bronze medal in the 1600m event with Fune taking fourth. Winslow also placed fourth in the 3200m distance race. Culver's Hazel Anagu took gold in the varsity girls shot put event with a toss of 24' 3.75". Nyia Depina won silver with a toss of 23' 7.75". Depina won the varsity girls discus event by over 11 feet with a throw of 73' 3.5".

Angel Morris won gold medals in two jumping events. She won the high jump with a leap of five feet even and took the long jump with a leap of 16' 6". Kayla Patrick took silver in the high jump and fourth in the long jump while Kalyn Hooks placed fifth in the long jump. Aja Paxton won the triple jump with a leap of 31' 6.6". Patrick and Hooks placed third and fourth respectively.

El Segundo's Lauren Davis prevented the Centaur girls from sweeping both the 100m hurdles and 300m hurdles events with two gold medals. Culver's Bahati, Guess Scott, Jasmine Marrero, Morris, Jayda Crawford and Amber Green took 2nd-7th in the 100m hurdles respectively. Marrero and Scott finished second and third in the 300m hurdles.

"Track and field is such a team sport so it's very difficult to single out one or two individuals. For us to win the boys varsity track meet by three points, a lot of our athletes that competed all had a hand in earning points for the team," said Wright.

"We felt excited and pretty confident going into the 4x400m race even though we know anything can happen. We actually took one-two-three in the open 400-meter race. But we were battling with Lawndale for the League Championship. The race added to the suspense."

Jayden Evans won the varsity boys 200m event with a time of 22.85. Allen Smith took bronze in 23.58 seconds. Evans placed second in the 100m finals and Smith finished fifth. The Culver sprinters swept the top three spots in the varsity boys 400m event. Dexter Hollier-Larouse (51.10) edged out Richard Reliford (51.13) and Dominick Tatum (51.45).

Arman Rostamian won gold in the varsity boys 1600m run with a time of 4:31.01. Brandon Cummings finished fifth (4:44.40). Rostamian took silver in the varsity boys 800m event in 1:59.41. Aidan Kim finished fifth (2:02.95). Cummings was Culver's top finisher in the 3200m distance run with a seventh-place finish.

Desmond Dickson won the varsity boys 300m hurdles in 41.72. Dickson took bronze in the varsity boys 110m hurdles with a time of 16.97. The Centaurs were edged out for the varsity boys 4x100m relay gold medal by Lawndale: 43.75 to 43.89 seconds. The Culver boys won the last event of the meet: the 4x400m with a time of 3:25.23 to Santa Monica's 3:26.51.

Fred Altieri

Culver's Jayden Evans crosses the finish line in 22.85 seconds to take gold in the varsity boys 200m sprint

The Culver boys won the varsity title with 140 points to Lawndale's 137. Santa Monica with 127, El Segundo 116 and Beverly Hills 24 rounded out the boy's varsity standings. The varsity girls standings: Culver City 231, El Segundo 133, Santa Monica 76, Beverly Hills 31 and Lawndale 4.

Santa Monica won the frosh/soph girls title with 173 points. Culver City finished second with 169, El Segundo 111, Beverly Hills 25 and Lawndale 12. El Segundo won the frosh/soph boys title with 182 points. Santa Monica finished second with 133, Culver City 83, Lawndale 41, Beverly Hills 21 and Hawthorne 1.

Wright concluded: "I'm very pleased with all the hard work our athletes put in and it paid off. We now have won the varsity boys and girls sides in back-to-back years. That's never happened before in the history of our school. That's a pretty cool deal."


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