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By Zach Cavanagh

It took some extra paperwork, but the Triton Invitational made its return to San Clemente High School on Saturday, April 24.

As an invitational meet with athletes from multiple schools, the annual track and field event needed permission from the Orange County Health Care Agency to be run this year. Only events with just two schools participating don’t need that extra approval under current state guidelines.

When the spring sports season was stopped in mid-March of last year due to coronavirus concerns, the Triton Invitational was one of the events unable to be contested. However, SCHS got the needed approval on April 16, and dozens of athletes and schools descended on the track at Thalassa Stadium for some much-anticipated competition.

The host Tritons had most of their success on Saturday on the girls side.

Junior Caroline Hawkes collected San Clemente’s lone win at the invitational with a personal-record run in the 400-meter sprint. Hawkes posted a time of 57.11 seconds to outkick nearest pursuer Idara Ibekwe of J.W. North (58.58 seconds). According to, Hawkes’ time is the ninth-best in the state this season and seventh-best in the CIF-Southern Section.

Hawkes also ran a personal-record time in the 200-meter sprint at 25.44 for a fourth-place finish. Stevie Wu of Murrieta Mesa won the race at an even 25 seconds. Hawkes’ time is the 18th-best in the state, and Wu’s is the seventh-best.

In the pole vault, senior Sierra Adams topped her own school record. Adams cleared a height of 11 feet, 1 inch to finish fourth in the event. Adams last set the school record of 11 feet at the most recent Triton Invitational in 2019. Freshman Aspen Fears of Vista Murrieta won the event with a clearance of 11 feet, 7 inches.

San Clemente senior Sierra Adams topped her own school record in the pole vault by clearing the bar at 11 feet, 1 inch at the Triton Invitational on Saturday, April 24. Photo: Leila Adams

San Clemente got a podium-finisher in the high jump, as junior Portia Kipper cleared the bar at 5 feet, 2 inches, a new personal record, to take third place in the event. San Clemente junior Natalie Vissman finished fourth with a clearance of 5 feet. Zharia Taylor of Long Beach Poly won the event at 5 feet, 6 inches, the top mark in the state this season.

In the distance runs on the track, UC San Diego-bound senior Kelsie Yamano finished 10th in the 1,600-meter race at 5:15, and the Tritons finished fourth in the distance medley relay at 13:09.

On the boys side, San Clemente’s top performance came in the pole vault from junior Trazler McGrath, who set a personal record clearance of 13 feet, 3 inches to finish in fifth. San Clemente junior Aiden Bennett finished seventh with a clearance of 12 feet, 3 inches. Garrett Brown of La Costa Canyon won the event at 15 feet, 9 inches.

Other notable performances at the Triton Invitational included those from Servite’s Max Thomas, who posted the CIF-SS’ top times this season in the 100 meters (10.76 seconds) and 200 meters (21.75 seconds). Both of Thomas’ times are the third-fastest in the state this season.

In boys shot put, Cade Moran of Murrieta Mesa posted the third-best throw in the state this season at 57 feet, 11 inches. In the girls 100-meter hurdles, Jade McDonald of Long Beach Poly ran the fourth-best time in the state this season at 14.80 seconds.

Zach Cavanagh

Zach Cavanagh is the sports editor for Picket Fence Media. Zach is a California Journalism Award winner and has covered sports in Orange County since 2013. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @ZachCav and follow our sports coverage on Twitter @SouthOCSports. Email at

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