Two of them met in preschool, while the other two were best friends at Truckee Elementary School. In the decade since, they have reunited to form Truckee’s Division I-A defending state champion and all-time record holding 4 x 800 relay team.
With the blazing time of 9:39, the relay team consisting of then-junior Quinn Parker, sophomores Skyler Flora and Gabrielle Rinne, and freshman Olivia Yale, registered the second-fastest time of all 4 x 800 teams at the NIAA state championships held in Las Vegas last May. That included all divisions, including Division I teams.
This season they were ready to test their speed against even greater competition at the 47th Annual Arcadia Invitational, held last weekend at Arcadia High School near Los Angeles. The meet is considered one of the largest and most prestigious high school track and field events in the nation. Simply qualifying to participate is an honor.
Truckee’s 4 x 800 relay team qualified for the seeded race, along with 22 other teams, including one traveling all the way from New Jersey.
While a typical relay race will field eight teams, this race included all 23 teams in one heat. It was difficult to imagine the logistics involved in having 92 athletes on the track for a 10-minute race, especially when it came to baton handoffs.
It was a challenge, but the Truckee girls shattered their previous record, finishing second with a time of 9:31.72, narrowly losing to West Ranch High School of Santa Clarita (9:30.59).
Each of the girls ran at or close to their individual personal bests in the 800 to achieve a DyeStat National Elite (top 100) time. Currently, they are ranked 37th in the nation.
Flora and Rinne qualified for individual events as well, both held on Saturday.
Flora finished seventh in her 1-mile heat with a new personal record of 5:11.18. Rinne ran in the evening Invitational 800 race, placing eighth with a season-best time of 2:14.94, less than a half-second off a National Elite time. Defending California State Champion Mikaela Smith won the race with a time of 2:10.06.