Shannon Murakami, already the SCV record-holder over 1,600 meters (4:42.50), five miles (28:32), and 10 miles (57:04), scorched a 10:09.21 3,200-meter performance at the SCV All-Comers Meet at Canyon High School.
The 2007 Saugus High graduate ran an impressive 5:08-5:00 negative split race, erasing Lauren Fleshman's 17-year-old SCV record - the oldest distance record in the books - by nearly 10 seconds on her way to a seventh-place finish. Only six men, including three former Foothill League cross country and track champions (Ornelas, Frick and myself), beat Murakami, a 12-time league champion herself.
O'Neil, a senior at UCLA and former standout at Hart High School, continued arguably the greatest season by an SCV distance male runner, setting his second valley record in eight days.
This one came in the mile at the Husky Classic in Seattle, Washington, where the 2012 Foothill League 1,600-meter champion came away with an eye-popping 4:00.19 personal best. That mark shattered his own SCV record of 4:04.33, run at last February's meet.
O'Neil's performance follows his stellar 8:04.72 in Lincoln, Nebraska, last weekend, which broke John Gilberton's SCV record of 8:08.54, run in Belgium in 2014. He also holds the SCV record over 1,500 meters, running 3:42.48.
Murakami and O'Neil weren't the only two to enjoy a successful weekend last Saturday.
Master's College senior Karis Frankian ran a 5:01.75 mile performance, which saw her come away with a big 6.35-second win at the Soka University Indoor Qualifying Meet. Frankian's win converts to 5:00.00 for 1,600 meters, breaking her all-time best of 5:05.50 from 2011.
She now ranks No. 24 on the all-time SCV 1,600-meter list.
Frankian's younger sister, Abigail, also won came away with a victory, winning heat two of the mile over teammate and former Canyon Cowboy Rachel Rush (5:18.88-5:22.27). Rush's time converts to 5:20.40 for 1,600 meters, a new personal best by nearly two seconds (ran 5:22.40 in 2014).
Could this weekend be even better???
Not one, not two, but FIVE Santa Clarita Valley records could go down this Friday and Saturday.
The action starts when George Serrano and the College of the Canyon's men's team will attempt to break the SCV records in the 4x800-meter relay and Distance Medley Relay at the Western State Conference Relays on Friday in Ventura.
The quartet of Ethan Walker, Jason Hillquist, Rodrigo Ornelas and Ashton Garcia broke Golden Valley's 2012 SCV record in the 4x800-meter relay at last year's meet, and just missed Golden Valley's DMR record of 10:12.76, also set in 2012, by less than three seconds (10:15.13).
The last three SCV record attempts will happen at the Beast, as the Saugus trio of senior Ryan Tate, sophomore Mariah Castillo and freshman Kobe Serrano chase three of the oldest records up the 4.65-mile trek.
Tate, already the fastest high school sophomore and junior up the Beast, will make one last attempt at Stephen Kent's 2006 SCV high school record of 35:37. His last two attempts saw the Utah Valley University signee come up just short in 35:45 (July 2015) and 36:15 (January 2016).
The other two - Castillo and Serrano - look to take down two class records after impressive season openers at last weekend's SCV All-Comers.
Castillo's personal best of 46:21 ranks No. 10 in Beast history, and trails Karis Frankian (45:53) and Brianna Jauregui (46:15) on the SCV all-time sophomore list. She's coming off a 5:05.26 1,600-meter win - one of the fastest season openers ever by a Foothill League female - and looks in prime shape to threaten Frankian's sophomore record. She also has some added motivation after coming up short in January (49:16).
On the boys side, Serrano is eyeing the 10-year-old SCV high school freshman record up the Beast after motoring to the third fastest time in SCV history last month (41:56). His run is 49 seconds off the No. 2 freshman time (41:07 by Alec Nelson in 2007), and 2:04 off the record (39:52 by myself in 2006). Serrano just missed Brian Zabilski's 10:00.11 Saugus frosh school record by just over a second (10:01.63) at the SCV All-Comers last weekend, though, so he's a legitimate threat to become just the second freshman in Beast history to break the 40-minute barrier.