Some of the state's best track and field athletes, including a national sprint leader and a local state leader, are expected to compete at Saturday's 33rd Meet of Champions at American River College.
Some 153 schools, including 44 entrants ranked among the top 10 in the state, will be entered in what is viewed as Northern California's best invitational prep meet.
"I never thought it would be this big," said Jerry Colman, the Meet of Champions founder and director. "I've created a monster. We have some pretty awesome events."
Takkarist McKinley, a 6-foot-2, 235-pound senior from Kennedy of Richmond, who is headed to Cal on a football scholarship, will challenge Jesuit sprint standout Austin Mitsch in the 100 meters.
McKinley placed seventh in last year's CIF state 100 finale but finished second to Mitsch in both the 100 and 200 at last weekend's Woody Wilson Invitational at UC Davis.
Mitsch, who gave up football to run track, has a scholarship to Colorado and currently ranks No. 5 in California in the 100 (10.69 seconds) and the 200 (21.53 wind-aided), according to the website PrepCalTrack. McKinley has run wind-aided bests of 10.69 in the 100 and 21.69 in the 200 this season.
Castro Valley transfer Sasha Wallace is the national leader in the girls 100 hurdles (13.43). She was the state champion last year at Holy Names of Oakland.
Challenging Wallace will be two other sub-14-second hurdlers: San Leandro's Kortni Smyers-Jones (No. 4, 13.94) and Vacaville's Pattriana Perry (No. 5, 13.98).
Wallace, who is headed for Oregon on a scholarship, also ranks second in the state in the triple jump (40 feet, 4 inches). She was the field Athlete of the Meet at last year's MOC. In the triple jump, Wallace could be pushed by Tokay's Janell Hadnot, No. 4 in the state at 39-6.
Among the other athletes to watch:
Center senior Xavier Howell is the state leader in the boys' high jump after clearing 6-10 at Friday's Del Oro Invitational.
Heritage of Brentwood's Frank Kurtz is state leader (No. 4 nationally) in the boys' 400 with a time of 47.32. Kurtz, who will also run the 200, could be challenged by state No. 2 Christian Carter (47.53) of San Leandro.
In the boys' triple jump, James Logan's Jeff Prothro ranks No. 2 in the state (49-0) and Castro Valley's Nate Moore (48-11.50) is No. 3.
In the girls' 200, San Leandro's Gabriella Cantrell (23.97) is No. 2 in the state and No. 7 in the 100 (11.90). Cosumnes Oaks sophomore Natsumi Mcgee will be Cantrell's top challenger in both the 100 (12.05) and 200 (24.54).
Pleasant Valley of Chico's Brooke Whitburn (No. 6, 19-01.50), River Valley's Mackenzie Arnold (No. 7, 18-08.50w) and Franklin's Jorden O'Neal (No. 10, 18-08.75) are expected to battle in a strong girls long jump field.
Among the entries are several local athletes who will compete in college next fall.
They include Granite Bay's Trent Brendel (Cal) in the boys 800 and 1,600 and Lauren Kinloch (UC Davis) in the girls shot and discus; Jesuit's Sina Javidan-Nejad (Stanford) and Austin White (Oregon) in the shot put; Rocklin's Leah Carter (Nevada) in the high jump; Oakmont's Karlie Garcia (Mississippi) in the girls 3,200; and Vista del Lago's Madeleine Ankelyi (Harvard) in the girls 1,600.
MEET OF CHAMPIONS PARTICULARS
What: 33rd Sacramento Meet of Champions
Where: American River College
When: Saturday, gates open at 10 a.m.; open division, 11 a.m.; invitational division, field events, 5 p.m., running events, 5:30 p.m.
Tickets: General admission $5; children 12 and younger free
Call The Bee's Bill Paterson (916) 326-5506.