There really is nothing like the Arcadia Invitational .
Known as the “Home of National Records,” the track and field meet in Southern California did not disappoint again on Saturday.
The top marks in the nation for this season were set in eight events and Chloe Cunliffe from West Seattle (Wash.) High set the national record in the girls pole vault at 14 feet, 8 inches.
And Kern County athletes were right there in the mix.
Liberty senior Daniel Viveros repeated as the boys shot put champion. It was the 23rd consecutive win in a shot put competition for the 2018 CIF State champion.
In fact, only one other competitor, Tanner Duffin from St. Pius X Catholic in Georgia, had a mark above the lowest of Viveros’ five marks on Saturday.
Viveros’ first throw was 65-9 and Duffin, who finished second, had a top mark of 65-11½. Viveros’ best throw came on his last attempt at 66-9. His top mark this season two weeks ago in Santa Barbara at 68-11 is tops in the United States.
“It feels great,” Viveros said. “Really, I was just trying to get everything together. I didn’t have a good week of practice, but it was still good.”
Viveros also took fourth in the discus with personal-best of 187-7, which ranks No. 5 in California and 14th nationally.
Liberty sophomore Faith Bender continued to hold her spot as the second-best in the girls discus in the nation. She is also No. 2 in the Central Section behind Fowler senior Jocelynn Budwig.
After Bender’s first throw didn’t hit more than 130 feet and then sectored her second throw, her third and final preliminary throw went 163-10, just six inches off her personal best of 164-2.
It was the top throw at the time before Budwig bested Bender on the very next throw with a 165-2, which was the top mark.
Budwig and Bender are the top two in the event in the United States. Bender also finished third in the shot put at 45-3¼.
They weren’t alone in having banner days on the biggest stage.
Liberty sophomore Reese Renz was hopeful of getting into the elite invitational heats in the girls hurdles.
Despite heading into competition ranked in the top-10 in both the 100 and 300 hurdles in the state, the high level of hurdlers from around the country in competition at Arcadia pushed Renz into the seeded heat.
Renz stumbled over the hurdles during the 100 hurdles, but still finished fifth in her heat at 14.56.
Upset at herself, Renz made a quick turnaround and put together one of the top performances of the night.
Renz set a personal-best in the 300 hurdles at 42.40, winning her heat by nearly two seconds. It was also the third-best time of the night and the best for a hurdler from California on Saturday.
Leah Phillips from Bullis (Maryland) won the event in 40.82, the top time in the nation this season and Anna Hall from Valor Christian in Colorado finished second in 41.34. That’s the third-best time this season.
For Renz, she now ranks No. 3 overall in California this season.
“After the 100 hurdles, to come out and run this makes my day and coming here all worth while. I am super excited,” Renz said.
Bakersfield High senior Kynnedi McCall finished fourth in the girls 400 invitational in 55.15. McCall’s PR of 54.61 set on March 30 is still the top time in California.
In one of the most impressive races of the night, Stockdale senior Marcus Mota proved he is still in the running for a state medal next month.
Ten of the top 13 times in the boys 3,200 meters this season were set in the invitational heat, including Mota’s season-best of 9:11.50. Mota finished 18th overall in the race that had 14 runners finish under nine minutes.
“That was a fast first mile,” Mota said. “Wow.”
Taft sophomore Mackalya Wells finished fifth in the girls heptathlon with a score of 4,220.
BHS freshman Malik Bolton, who is No. 4 in the Central Section in the 400, did not participate in the meet. He is expected to join several local athletes in action Thursday at the Patriot Games at Liberty beginning at 3:30 p.m.