Strong winds weren’t powerful enough to keep the Malibu High School girls 4x100-meter team from running a blazing time at the Marie Smith Malibu Invitational on their home track on March 16.

The tetrad placed second in the race with a time of 55.37 seconds. The foursome—seniors Rivers Redclay and Collette Aldrich, sophomore Ellie Howard and freshman Jacqueline Reynaga—finished the event ahead of nine other teams, falling 0.6 seconds behind first-place Notre Dame. 

Reynaga, who sprints the last leg of the baton-passing race, said she and the other runners—Redclay, who runs the first portion of the race; Aldrich, who sprints the second; and Howard—could have run faster if the wind wasn’t blowing. She said their speed makes them successful.

“The first person usually gets pretty far ahead, our second runner is really fast—she gets us ahead,” said Reynaga. “Our third runner keeps it up, and I try to keep it up, too.”

The group’s coach, Amy Galipeau, said the sprinters’ camaraderie makes them tough to beat. 

“The girls work really well together,” she said. 

The group’s finish last weekend was their first non-first-place finish this season. They have finished tops in meets against Brentwood School, Carpinteria and Fillmore. Last season, Redclay and Aldrich were members of the Sharks 4x100 team that raced in the CIF-Southern Section Division 4 Preliminaries last May. Galipeau said the 2019 version of the group, along with the Sharks 4x400 team, composed of Rivers, Aldrich, Reynaga, and junior Asher Andrus, is also running toward a CIF appearance. 

“We have two seniors from last year, so it was really easy for them to pick up where they left off last year,” the coach said of the shorter-distance sprinting group. “We got really lucky we got a couple of new girls this year—a freshman and a sophomore, Ellie and Jacqueline, who have stepped up to the plate.”

The 4x100 group’s performance was one of 10 top-five finishes by Malibu athletes at the Invitational, an event that featured 22 schools. 

Andrus finished second in the women’s 200 with a time of 29.60, a personal record, and her time of 1:08.40, another personal record, garnered her fifth place in the women’s 400-meter. Andrus’ classmate, Aidan Reid, placed fourth in the women’s 1,600-meter with a time of 6:12.98. 

Senior Sorin Moore’s throw of over 86 feet placed second in the women’s discus and her 26-11.00 toss snagged fifth in the women shotput. Junior Kylie Anderson’s 30-01.00 jump placed fourth in the women’s triple jump. 

Eleventh grader Odin Bercu’s dash of 49.64 got him fifth in the men’s 300-meter hurdles, and he jumped 5-00.00 to land fifth in the men’s high jump. 

The meet included dozens of boy and girl athletes from schools such as Brentwood, Crespi, California City, La Salle, New Roads and Venice. All competed in running, jumping and throwing events that featured them not only going against each other but an onslaught of constant wind. 

The Sharks held a few athletes out of the event in order to give them time to rest before a meet at Nordoff on Thursday. 

Malibu’s other varsity performers included Anderson placing sixth in the women’s long jump. Junior Kate Nadeau finished 21st in the women’s 200-meter and junior Erin Muldoon placed eighth in the women’s 400-meter. Redclay finished ninth in the event and junior Kate Nadeau placed 12th.

Senior Lindsay Strachan placed ninth in the women’s 800-meter, and senior Natacha Jouonang got 11th in the women’s 100-meter hurdles. 

Jude Iredell placed 14th in the men’s 400 and Tristan Pollard placed 33rd in the men’s 800-meters. The men’s 1,600-meter race finished with senior Anderson Newman in 22nd, Odin Bercu 29th and Pollard 50th.

Malibu’s distance running coach Mark Larsen said the wind did hinder some of the races. 

“It changes how you race for the day,” he said. “The distance kids can’t get super fast because they have to sit behind kids to make sure someone is blocking the wind in front of them.”

Reynaga said she, Redclay, Aldrich and Howard have not run their best race yet this season. 

“Ellie and I have not gotten the handoff right. It’s just not a smooth transition,” she said, adding that completing the baton handoff better would shave half a second off their race time.

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