In just two years, the Redondo Nike Track and Field Festival has become a major track and field destination.

In its inaugural season last year, Redondo coach Bob Leetch capped the field at 18 teams. This year, the meet has expanded to at least 48 teams and has transformed into a two-day extravaganza.

"This meet is totally big-time now," Leetch said. "It just went nuts. It's not just great schools that are coming, but great athletes too."

The Friday Distance Carnival will begin at 5 p.m. and feature three major events - the 4x800 relay, the 3,200 meters and the distance medley.

The main event Saturday begins with field events at 9 a.m. and running events at 10 a.m.

It is a meet that is quickly gaining traction in the track and field world not just as a quality meet but also as a fun meet.

"We try to be different. We make it fun," Leetch said. "We play inspiring songs during the races, we give away great prizes and we have great awards.

"Plus, we have one of the top track facilities and we're close to the beach.It's not Fresno or Chino. Schools want to get off the 91 (Freeway). It's a fun meet, a great atmosphere and our affiliation with Nike gives us some great branding.

"All these things give a little sizzle to the meet."

The meet features its share of local teams, including Redondo, Mira Costa, Palos Verdes, Chadwick, West Torrance, South Torrance, Torrance, Inglewood, Lawndale, Leuzinger, El Segundo, Beverly Hills, Culver City, Santa Monica and Beverly Hills.

But then there are the superpowers.

Defending champion Long Beach Poly returns. So does Notre Dame/Sherman Oaks and Thousand Oaks. Then there's Simi Valley (with cross country national champion Sarah Baxter scheduled to compete), Loyola, Lowell, Dos Pueblos, Fountain Valley, Knight (with Brian Guijarro), Cathedral and Chaminade. will post live updates and videos. Winners will receive "champion" deluxe backpacks and thick medals. Overall team winners for both days will receive a custom-made plaque that is in the shape of a surfboard.

"We've really created a big-meet atmosphere," Leetch said. "They all saw all the dyestat elite marks we produced last year, and the kids have opportunities to run fast and get their marks for Arcadia and Mt. SAC.

"But we don't limit it to the stars. Six-minute milers can still come. It's not just for the (Redondo stars) Lindsey Mulls and Evan Malones. Everyone can compete in this great, exciting atmosphere, and they all have a blast."