Lucas Jackson finally did it.

After brushing up against the 2-minute benchmark in the 800 meters all of last season, the senior eclipsed it during an invitational at Palos Verdes High School last month.

It was fast enough for a first-place finish and possibly a sign of what could be a promising campaign for Jackson, who will be among the leaders for the Santa Monica High boys track and field team this season.

“Lucas has been running very well,” Vikings coach Tania Fischer said.

Jackson is one of several athletes in Fischer’s program to qualify for the elite Arcadia Invitational, which will be held Friday and Saturday at Arcadia High School. The meet is considered one of the most competitive high school track and field gatherings in the country each year.

Jackson earned a spot in the 3,200-meter run, traversing that distance in 9 minutes 34.76 seconds to take first place at the Maurice Greene Invitational on March 19 at Oaks Christian School in Westlake Village. He ran a 9:27.01 to place 18th in the event at last year’s Arcadia meet.

Jackson’s qualifying time in the 3,200 vaulted him to No. 1 in the current Ocean League rankings.
Jackson will also represent Samohi in Arcadia in the distance medley relay, where he’ll join seniors Darren Dixon and Jared Hassim and junior Brighton Mills.

Dixon, the quartet’s sprinting specialist, was third in the 100-meter dash at the Palos Verdes invitational March 12 with a time of 11.55 seconds. He was eighth in the same event with an 11.33 a week later in Westlake Village, where he placed 11th in the 200 at 23.20 seconds.

Hassim, a middle-distance runner, logged a 2:09.48 to take eighth place in the 800 at the Palos Verdes invitational. He was 22nd in the 400 with a time of 54.35 seconds at Oaks Christian a week later.

Mills, one of the conference leaders in the 800, clocked a career-best 2:02.64 to earn runner-up honors behind Jackson (1:59.17) at the Palos Verdes meet. He was fifth in the same race a week later in Westlake Village with a 2:02.93 and 12th with a 2:02.77 at the UCLA Legends Meet on April 1.

The Vikings’ contingent in Arcadia will also include senior sprinter Marcel Espinoza and sophomore pole vaulter Ariel Dyrek.

Espinoza, who won an individual title in the 300-meter dash as a junior at last year’s indoor state championships, is off to a speedy start in the final spring of his prep career.

He won the 400-meter race with a career-best time of 51.02 seconds in Palos Verdes and also added a victory in the 200 with a 22.37. He ran a 22.21 in the shorter race at UCLA.

Dyrek recorded a career-best mark of 14 feet to tie Manhattan Beach-Mira Costa senior Zachariah Augenstein for top honors at the Palos Verdes meet.

The sophomore also logged a first-place finish at Oaks Christian with a clearance of 13-3.

Jackson and Espinoza are weighing options to continue their athletic careers in the collegiate ranks, Fischer said.

jeff@smdp.com

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