The Santa Monica High School girls track and field team is going the distance. Literally.
This year’s squad features a quartet of accomplished long-race runners who have become leading standouts in coach Tania Fischer’s program.
Their talent was on display last month at an invitational in Redondo Beach, where the four athletes combined to set a school record in the distance medley relay.
Kasia Krzyzanowski, Anya Sturm, Janaya Bruce and Halimat Adeyemi combined to clock in at 12 minutes 55.38 seconds, easily eclipsing the previous Samohi mark of 13:02.26 that was set last year.
“They didn’t smash it, but they definitely broke it,” Fischer said.
Fischer said the new standard came in an event that often reflects a team’s depth, a good sign for the Vikings as they prepare for the elite Arcadia Invitational on April 8-9 at Arcadia High School. The meet is considered one of the most competitive high school track and field gatherings in the country each year.
“You have your individual events, but the most exciting events are always the relays,” Fischer said. “You have to have a sprinter, you have to have someone who can run an 800. It blends your whole team into one. You have to have all these different kinds of skills. … The relays are really important.”
Krzyzanowski appears primed for a successful spring in her final year at Samohi. This past fall, the senior captured an individual league championship in cross-country and became the first girl in history to represent the Vikings in Division 1 of the CIF Southern Section finals.
Krzyzanowski ran an 11:28.27 to win the 3,200-meter run March 19 during the Maurice Greene Invitational at Oaks Christian School in Westlake Village. Her time is a new meet record, according to Fischer.
Sturm came in second in that event with a time of 11:31.52, edging third-place Camarillo senior Lauren Powers by more than six seconds.
Bruce snagged third place in the 800-meter run, clocking in at 2:25.35. Sturm also competed in the 800, an event won by Oaks Christian junior Carolyn Wilson in 2:19.39.
Adeyemi, meanwhile, posted a top-20 finish in a 100-meter dash competition that featured 50 runners. The senior clocked in at 13.36 seconds in an event won by Woodland Hills-El Camino Real senior Naiah Boardingham (11.94). Adeyemi’s personal best is a wind-aided 12.71, which she logged last March.
Krzyzanowski and Adeyemi are planning to continue their running careers in college next year, according to Fischer, although their destinations have not yet been finalized. The coach said the seniors’ contributions at Samohi make it easier for younger athletes to envision successful athletic careers beyond high school.
“The idea is, ‘Look, you can run in college if you keep it up,’” she said. “That’s my goal: that they continue after they graduate.”