Olympians compete in 6th Annual Arnie Robinson Track & Field Invitational


The start of the fastest heat of the men’s 800m. Photo credit: Sufiyan Mansuri, Mesa Track & Field alumni

Chris Varela Benitez, Sports Writer

San Diego Mesa College hosted the 6th Annual Arnie Robinson Track and Field Invitational featuring some of the best teams in the state on April 6 with several Olympians recording top SoCal Regional times.

Mesa head coach Sean Ricketts made his home meet debut alongside sprints, hurdles, and relays coach Matthew Beckstead, throwing events coach Alex Knudsen, pole vault and multi events coach Stan Vegar, and director of operations Manny Bautista.

The men’s 4x100m relay ran a personal best of 41.80 which ranks them fourth in the SoCal Region. Mt. SAC ran a fast time of 40.95 to edge out the Olympians. Last year, our 4x100m relay team placed fifth in the CCCAA California State Championships. After the race All-American Cooper Bibbs said, “I am proud of my teammates for running their best and we are all looking forward to the championship season.”

Cedell Morris won the high jump competition in 1.95m and Ryan Dean came in third with 1.90m. Morris proudly said, “I came out here to compete and I walked away with an overall win.” Cedell is currently ranked 8th and Ryan is 12 in the SoCal Region.

In the women’s side, freshman sprint and hurdles star Dani Johnson completed the 100m and 400m hurdles double. She ran a big personal best of 14.42 in the 100m hurdles placing her first in the SoCal Region. Then, her 1:03.54 in the 400m hurdles puts her second best in the SoCal Region. “I’m just happy to be out here competing because I been dealing with injury problems.” She said, “I want to stay healthy to finish the season strong.”

Middle distance runner Kristina Tovilovic ran a seasonal best in the 1500m and third overall with a time of 4:57.12. “It was a tough race,” she said, “It was difficult finding a rhythm to stick with but by the end of the race I was able to put together a strong kick.”

After a long day Ricketts said, “The meet was smooth, we were right on time, and we did not have any problems. This is my first year as head coach so it was very exciting to host a meet at home. Now we get into the fun part of the season.”

The men’s and women’s Track and Field team will host the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference Preliminary on April 18. There the men will compete to defend their conference title April 21 at San Bernardino Valley College. Finally, the Olympians will once again compete at home and host the CCCAA SoCal Regional Preliminary on May 5 and the Championship May 12.