Randy Angel

Redondo’s Tate Curran has record-setting pole vault at 7th annual Nike Track Festival

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Tate Curran is all smiles after clearing the 17-foot mark in the pole vault competition at the 7th annual Redondo Nike Track Festival. Photo by Bob Leetch

By Randy Angel

With 82 schools and 2,700 prep athletes competing at the two-day 7th annual Redondo Nike Track Festival, it took a special moment for all eyes to be focused on a single athlete.

Grasping his pole with both hands, Redondo senior Tate Curran did just that as he prepared his sprint in an attempt at a record-setting pole vault mark.

Around 200 fans began a slow clap as Curran took off. The applause erupted as Curran cleared the bar set at 17 feet, 3/4 inches breaking the school and meet record.

Redondo senior Tate Curran won the Nike Track Festival pole vault competition with a record-setting performance of 17 feet, ¾ inches. Photo by Bob Leetch

Curran’s mark eclipsed the South Bay record of 16’ 9” set by South Torrance’s Steve Smith and he is only the 15th vaulter in state history to break 17 feet.

“Seventeen feet is pretty big time stuff for a high school athlete,” Redondo coach Bob Leetch said. “Tate nailed 17 feet on the first attempt and the crowd went absolutely nuts. I have never seen anything like it in a high school meet.  It was a really special moment and I am glad it happened here and in our meet.”

An ecstatic Curran said he was happy to set the mark in front of so many friends and family members while competing against many of the best pole vaulters in the state.

“Winning the Nike Invitational was really special, because it is one of the most premier invitationals in the country,” Curran said. “Having jumped this mark so early in the season is unbelievable and it really gives me an incredible boost of confidence going forward throughout the rest of the year.”

Curran has felt a bullseye on his back since his sophomore year as he continues his goal of topping his father Anthony’s high school mark of 17 feet, 4 1/4 inches, a national record set in 1978 when Anthony was a senior at Crespi High School and named Track & Field High School Athlete of the Year.

“Every year I am jumping toward high school records but my biggest goal this year is to top my old man,” Tate stated. “When I accomplish that ‘impossible feat’ as my dad would say, I want to go on to hold the state meet record because both my uncle Tim and my dad once previously held that record.”

Local fans can watch the younger Curran make another attempt at his dad’s record on Saturday when Mira Costa hosts its annual Mustang Relays beginning at 9 a.m.

Sponsored by Skechers Athletic Division, admission to the Mustang Relays is $8 for adults, $5 for students (with ID) senior citizens. Children under 5 are free.

Curran was not the only local athlete to enjoy success at the Nike Track Festival. Redondo and Mira Costa had a combined 21 top-ten finishes.

Following Curran in the boys pole vault, Redondo’s Etienne Doidic also set a personal best placing 6th with a mark of 13-09.

Redondo’s Ethan Comeaux placed second in a close 800-meter race. File photo by Ray Vidal

Redondo also had top-ten finishes with Ethan Comeaux (2nd, 800, 1:55.42), Jordan Jackson (5th, triple jump, 43-00) and its champion 4×800 relay team (8:00.56).

Mira Costa boys were led by five athletes who enjoyed personal records including Andrew Nieto (4th, 400m, 51.49), Michael Yaskowitz (5th, 1600m, 4:19.04), Caleb Llorin (6th, 1600m, 4:19.15), James Ryczanowski (7th, 300 hurdles, 41.26) and Cody Kallenbach (9th, 300 hurdles, 41.87).

In girls competition, Peninsula’s Jacqueline Ahrens placed 2nd in the pole vault at 11-9 while Redondo’s Kaitlin Heri and Isabelle Beaudoin finished in a four-way tie for third place at 11-3. Heri won the tiebreaker based on lowest number of attempts in previous rounds.

Redondo relay teams had 2nd-place finishes in 4×100, 4×400 and 4×800 while Akaylah Hill (2nd, long jump, 18-05) and Kennedy Williams (7th, 100m, 12.34) also placed in the top ten.

Mira Costa girls were led by Shante Robinson who placed 3r in the 300 hurdles (42.26) and set a personal record in the 100m (5th 12.19).

Other top finishers were Brigette Grau (5th, pole vault, 11-03), Jaylah Herron (6th, long jump, 16-11.5), Samantha Ealy (9th, triple jump, 35-00.25) and the Mustang’s 4×100 (4th, 48.99) and Distance Medley Relay (2nd 12:19.91) teams.

Redondo’s girls team placed 3rd overall behind Great Oak and defending state champs Carson while Mira Costa placed 8th. Redondo’s boys placed 4th behind Great Oak, Los Alamitos and Notre Dame.Sherman Oaks and Mira Costa finished 9th overall.

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