In the 21st century, only one City Section athlete has run the 400 meters faster than what Dijon Stanley of Granada Hills pulled off Thursday at the City Section track and field championships.
Stanley’s time of 46.94 seconds equals the fastest in the state this year and was an exhilarating moment for himself and the fans who showed up at Lake Balboa Birmingham High to witness the City’s most accomplished 400 runner since David Gettis of Dorsey ran 45.84 in 2005 to win the state title.
“I’m loving it right now,” Stanley said.
He led Granada Hills to its first City title in boys’ track.
The junior running back/track star loves reminding strangers and competitors that if you are talented and have good grades, college recruiters will find you.
With every accomplishment, the scholarship offers are coming fast and and furious from football recruiters loving his speed.
“They said the City died off, and I’m here to prove that it hasn’t,” he said.
Fans are trying to come up with new nicknames for Stanley, such as “Hot Mustard.” Another says, “Dijon is like fine mustard. More Grey Poupon, please.”
Stanley also won the 200 in 21.53 and was part of a winning 400 relay team. He’ll head to Clovis next weekend for the state championships trying to duplicate Gettis’ performance.
Reign Redmond led Carson to the girls’ title. She ran the anchor leg for the winning 400 relay team, won the 100 in 11.84 seconds and the 200 in 24.58. She has been looking forward to participating in the state championships because it hasn’t been held since 2019 because of COVID-19 restrictions.
“I’m so excited to compete in my first state championship,” said Redmond, who’s the daughter of former Carson football standout JR Redmond.
The comeback athlete of the meet was senior Sofia Abrego of Granada Hills. Three years ago as a freshman, she won three events. Then she pretty much disappeared because of injuries. Finally healthy, she won the 1,600 in 5:09.55 and the 800 in 2:18.64. She finished second in the 3,200.
“Honestly, I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to run pain free,” she said. “It was two years of injury after injury.”
Collin Harris of Dorsey, a senior headed to Cal Poly Pomona, won the long jump for the second straight year with a mark of 22 feet, 2 inches. Two of the contenders, freshman Jerald Evangelista of Carson and senior Arlis Boardingham of Birmingham, encountered obstacles. Evangelista rolled his ankle on his first attempt and couldn’t continue. Boardingham fouled on his first three attempts before finishing third.
Harris is just thankful he was able to overcome the challenges of COVID-19 restrictions in 2020 and 2021 to regain his love for long jumping. “It was rough because I wanted to compete,” he said of the stoppage. “Mentally, it upset me a lot. But when I had a chance to come back, it fired me up. It fueled the fire.”
Dorsey’s MyKale Mundy can claim to be the fastest sprinter in the City Section after winning the 100 in 11.01. Division I cross-country champion Max Fields of Palisades won the 3,200 in 9:39.66.