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November 19
2003 - U.S. Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon introduces the first of several bills intended to block the 78-million-ton Cemex gravel mine in Soledad Canyon [story]


After Santa Clarita Valley records by Austin O’Neil (3K), Shannon Murakami (5-mile and 5K road) and Ashley Heys (HS 5-mile), we thought we’d look at some of the other records that could potentially be broken this year. That being said, here’s 10 SCV records that could go down in 2016:

1. The women’s 3,200-meter record: 10:18.21

scvtrackrecords2016_01All eyes could be on Santa Clarita Valley all-time great Shannon Murakami this weekend. If she shows up at this Saturday’s SCV All-Comers at Canyon High School, the 2006 Saugus High graduate and SCV record-holder for 1,600 meters (4:42.50) has a legitimate shot at taking down the oldest SCV record in the record books – Lauren Fleshman’s 17-year-old 3,200-meter record (10:18.21!).

Of course there’s Fleshman’s SCV 3,000-meter record of 8:43.92, which converts to an insanely fast 9:22.43 3,200-meter mark, and her 5,000-meter valley record of 14:58.58 is an average of 4:49.22 for 3.1 miles, but no one’s run faster than 10:18.21 in an open 3,200-meter race.

Murakami’s fitness is obviously in a great place following impressive performances at the Placerita Holiday 5K on Jan. 16 (17:01) and the Ben’s Ten Five Miler on Feb. 6 (28:32). Both were SCV records on the roads. She also closed her workout with a 4:56 mile earlier this morning. How many other females in SCV history have run faster than 4:56 you might be asking? Just 15.

If there’s a day Fleshman’s 17-year-old record is going to go it’s this Saturday. We’ve seen several names over the past two decades try to take it down, most notably Samantha Ortega, who came up just short with a 10:20.25 performance at last April’s Arcadia Invitational.

Murakami currently sits at No. 5 in the SCV all-time 3,200-meter list, as she ran 10:31.24 at the 2007 CIF Southern Section Championships.
2. The men’s 4×800-meter relay record: 7:56.47

George Serrano and his crew at College of the Canyons returns 14 men at two flat or better this spring:

Some of those names:scvtrackrecords2016_02
Joel Estrada 1:54.45
Jimmy DeMello 1:54.52
Jason Hillquist 1:54.64
Ethan Walker 1:54.82
Alex Bernal 1:56.07
Juan Jimenez 1:56.13
Christian Meyer 1:56.54
Arnold Bautista 1:58.24
Anthony Rosales 1:58.90
Josh Tan 1:59.17
Nick Liebmann 2:00.04

The Santa Clarita Valley 4×800-meter relay record stands at 7:56.47, set by the COC quartet of Ethan Walker (Saugus HS ’14), Jason Hillquist ( Canyon HS ’14), Rodrigo Ornelas (Saugus HS ’13) and Ashton Garcia (West Ranch HS ’14). Anything less than an SCV record would be a disappointment for this group of half-milers. The Cougars could even potentially have two teams under their own record if they line up two teams at the Western State Conference Relay next weekend. Serrano, one of the greatest coaches to ever come through SCV, mentioned how difficult it is to get four guys to run fast this early in the season, but hinted an April relay race could be in the works.

His squad also showed solid early-season form at last week’s COC Intersquad Meet, where they had four run between 2:01-2:03 for 800 meters (Walker, Hillquist and Myers) and three at 4:06-4:12 for 1,500 meters (Walker, Hillquist and Estrada).
3. The women’s 10,000-meter record: 34:32.06

Over the summer we witnessed Grace Graham-Zamudio and Samantha Ortega, two of the greatest females in Santa Clarita Valley history, go head-to-head at the College of the Canyons, where they produced the first sub-17-minute clockings (16:49 and 16:53!). Graham-Zamudio is currently the SCV 10,000-meter women’s record-holder at 34:32.06, while Ortega is her record’s biggest threat this spring.

To break down the record, 34:32 is two 17:16 5K’s back-to-back and 5:33 pace for 6.2 miles.

Ortega already holds a handful of SCV records, including the Mt. SAC (16:47), Woodward Park (17:26) and Beast (39:49) records. She’s run 4:53 over 1,600 meters and 10:20 over 3,200 meters on the track and should without a doubt be even better as the distance gets longer. She’s also coming off an impressive freshman cross country season for Arizona State University, which saw her miss qualifying the NCAA Division 1 Championships by just four seconds, and clocked 9:44 for 3,000 meters two weekends ago (converts to 10:27.09 for 3,200 meters).

Zamudio, on the other hand, is done with her collegiate career. She ran for Glendale Community College, where she became the first in CCCAA history to sweep the 1,500, 5,000 and 10,000-meter state crowns, doing so in less than 24 hours, then attended Loyola Marymount University, where she set the SCV 10K record and went 16:19.82 in the 5K, the fourth fastest in valley history.

She now runs for Sketchers, and I believe her latest performance was a 1:20:03 performance in her half-marathon debut in 2015.

4. The all-time and high school Beast men’s record: 34:47 and 35:37

No male in Beast history has been as successful as Saugus High’s Ryan Tate when it comes to the 4.65-mile climb. Tate, who already holds the all-time high school sophomore (38:08) and junior (36:04) records up the Beast will make one last attempt at Stephen Kent’s 10-year-old SCV high school record in a couple weeks. Tate is the second fastest high school runner up the historic climb, having run 35:45 last fall. That mark is just seven ticks off Kent’s 2006 record (35:37). Tate also went 36:15 in January, showing he’s in a serious position to threaten the record.

Tate is also one of four to break 36 minutes, joining Seth Totten (34:47), Jeff Jackson (34:48) and Kent (34:52) with under the barrier. Barring a serious injury, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Tate threaten Totten’s all-time SCV record later this summer.

5. The women’s all-time Beast record: 39:49

scvtrackrecords2016_03Samantha Ortega is the female version of Ryan Tate when it comes to the Beast, although her marks up the mountain are far more impressive.

Ortega, now a freshman at Arizona State University, delivered an incredible 39:49 SCV record before she departed for ASU in July. That time is two minutes, four seconds, faster than the next fastest woman (Shannon Murakami ran 41:53 in January).

See our story on her historic record here.

Ortega also holds the high school record at 40:30, the high school junior record at 43:26, and has broken the all-time women’s record up the Beast the last four times she’s run it. If you insert her on the SCV all-time men’s list, she’d rank No. 41.

As fast as 39:49 is, we think Ortega can run much faster. Maybe under the 39-minute barrier?

Only 32 men have run faster than that mark.

Ortega has the ability to become the 33rd.

6. The men’s DMR record: 10:12.76

The College of the Canyons men’s program could add the SCV record in the Distance Medley Relay to their resume in two weekends as well.

The quartet of Rodrigo Ornelas, Robert Brennan, Jason Hillquist and Ethan Walker clocked 10:15.13 at last year’s Western State Conference Relays. That performance ranks No. 3 in SCV history, just 2.37 seconds off Golden Valley High School’s SCV record, set at the 2012 Arcadia Invite.

Hillquist and Walker lead a long list of runners that could appear on COC’s DMR record attempt later this month.

7. The men’s 800-meter record: 1:47.21

scvtrackrecords2016_04It’s hard to bet against Chris Low, Santa Clarita’s fastest half-miler, as he’s broken the SCV record in the 800-meter run each of the last two years.

Low, who ran a stunning 1:47.21 performance in Portland, Oregon, last spring, could make it three years in a row. There’s not much more to say about Low, as he’s nearly four seconds faster than the next fastest half-miler in Santa Clarita, and has proven himself time and time again.

Don’t forget to keep your eye on Austin O’Neil, though, who now holds SCV records in the 1,500-meter run (3:42.38), mile (4:04.33) and 3,000-meter run (8:04.72). O’Neil’s personal best for 800 meters is 1:50.79, No. 3 in SCV history.

8. The women’s Central Park team time record: 89:55

Saugus High School, 10-time defending CIF state champions in cross country, will once again be favorites to make it 11 in row in November.

scvtrackrecords2016_05Last October, the program also surprised many with an electric performance at Foothill League Meet No. 2, where they blazed a 79:55 course record at Central Park (Kaylee Thompson 17:38, Mariah Castillo 7:50, Ashley Heys 17:54, Sydney Suarez 18:03 and Jacqueline Cascione 18:28).

It might sound crazy, but the Lady Centurions could threaten their own record if the squad stays healthy. The team brings back Thompson, Castillo and Cascione, as well as newcomer Mackenna Park, who ran a solo 19:24 mark to win the frosh/soph league championship last November, and later, scorched a surprising 18:55 5,000-meter performance at the CIF State Championships in just her third varsity race three weeks later. If the program can find a fifth runner, this group could not only threaten their own record, but extend their historic streak of state crowns as well. Sophomore Savannah Sehenuk is the next fastest, having won the junior varsity league crown in a quick 18:55 last fall.

9. The men’s 1,500-meter record: 3:42.38

Expect UCLA senior runner Austin O’Neil to challenge his own SCV record over 1,500 meters.

The 2012 Hart High School graduate showed he’s in the best shape of his life with a valley record in the 3,000-meter run in North Carolina last weekend. That mark broke John Gilbertson’s record by four seconds and converts to 8:40 for 3,200 meters.

O’Neil also went 4:07 in the mile two weekends back, a performance that converts to 3:49 for 1,500 meters, and 1:50 800-meter speed, so a new record in this event could be a real possibility when he finally makes his season debut later this spring.

10. The men’s mile record: 4:04.33

scvtrackrecords2016_06In my eyes, the biggest headline this year is UCLA’s Austin O’Neil and a possible sub-four-minute mile this winter/spring.

No one in SCV history has ever broken the four-minute barrier, as O’Neil is the SCV record-holder at 4:04.33. He could threaten that barrier after impressive back-to-back performances, where he went 4:07 in the mile two weeks ago and set the SCV record in the 3,000-meter run last weekend (8:04.72!). Might 2016 be the first year a male goes sub-four minutes?

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