The 54th Arcadia Invitational


Sophia Li, Staff Writer

Known for enticing the nation’s most elite track and field athletes and runners, the annual Arcadia Invitational is the most prestigious and competitive track and field meet in the nation. This year, 622 runners from 29 states competed in the 54th Arcadia Invitational, which took place on the weekend from Apr. 8 to Apr. 9. In this meet alone, athletes came away with the #1 mark in 13 events in the nation. Some of the highlights of the meet include freshman sensation Sadie Engelhardt, from Ventura, who set a new world record in her age group in the mile (1600m) by running 4:33.29, and California distance runners, with teams like Newbury Park.

For the record, the top five track and field meets in the nation are all held by top-notch universities, with only the Arcadia Invitational, being the number one, put on by our very own high school, Arcadia High School. The meet captivates the top talents around the nation, with first-class performances all around, in a thrilling environment. 32 national records have been broken on Arcadia soil, and 203 U.S. Olympians have emerged from the Arcadia Invite, including Allyson Felix, Sydney Mclaughlin, and Ryan Hall. Rightly so, the meet carries a history and reputation worthy of its motto: “Home Of National Records.”

“Seeing all the athletes coming from all over the nation, and competing with such intensity inspired me. It was so nice volunteering for the event and having the community come together for our meet. I really enjoyed watching all of the events that took place, because each and every one of them was spectacular to watch,” Junior, Charlotte Huang, member of track and field stated.

Among all the events that the meet showcases, the event that never fails to be the apple of the eye is the 3200m, where male athletes each year vie to break the nine-minute barrier for the first time. Last year, at the 53rd invitational, 15 boys, all from California, broke nine in the 3200m.

This year, an unprecedented 32 male runners broke the barrier, a feat never accomplished before. Colin Sahlman and Lex Young from Newbury Park battled it out for first, with the senior, Sahlman, ultimately taking first with a meet record performance of 8:34.99. Sahlman is cross country 2021-2022 Gatorade Player of the Year, which is a prestigious sports award in athletics. His performance held off Young, who crossed in 8:35.72. Aside from the 3200m, each and every event had depth and performances like never seen before.

In the women’s 3200m, senior Dalia Frias from Mira Costa established a new Arcadia Invitational meet record, crossing the line in 9:55.50. Frias also set a California state record in the mile two weeks earlier, and now places eighth in the 3200m in California state history. In the women’s 1600m (mile), other than Sadie Engelhardt winning first, second, third, and fourth place runners, all ran a personal best, coming through all around 4:40.

Overall, the 2022 Arcadia Invitational was a great success. Athletes from all over the nation competed in the highest level of high school athletics, and each and every event had the best of the best. It is with great thanks to all of the student and parent volunteers, and especially Coach Schultz, that without them, this meet would not have been able to become a reality.


Photo courtesy of AUSD FACEBOOK