CHS track makes a mark in state meet

For the first time since 2013, Claremont High School track and field competed in the State Championships, sending three athletes to the elite competition.

Sophomore Cameron Kading brought home a first-place trophy in the Paralympic 100-meter sprint, which was a very proud moment for his coach, Veronica Amarasekara. It was the first time the state meet has included Paralympic events, so it was particularly rewarding to get a first place.

“It kind of blends both of my jobs,” said coach Amarasekara, who is a special education teacher at Danbury.

The meet, which is held at Veteran’s Stadium in Clovis, runs for two days with the prelims on Friday and the finals on Saturday.

Annie Boos ran her second- and third-fastest times during the 1600-meter event. Her times were good enough to achieve seventh place, which unfortunately, was one place short of a podium appearance.

Ryan Renken got 13th place in a very fast 3200-meter race. The junior will almost certainly beat his own best times next season and will be a top contender in cross-country as well.

“This was a great way to cap a great season,” said Coach Amarasekara.

Also at the state meet was her daughter Didi Amarasekara, who ran the 300-meter hurdles. “It was the best race of her high school career. She was just two-tenths of a second from qualifying [for finals],” said coach Amarasekara. Didi graduated this year from Etiwanda High and will attend University of California of Riverside in fall.

It was a nice reward for Coach Amarasekara to see both her daughter and three Claremont runners compete at the state level, because she very nearly quit years ago when her son started at Etiwanda High School. She said a member of the Claremont team that year talked her out of quitting by saying she could cheer for her son during his races, and go back to coaching the team when he finished (Claremont was in the same league as Etiwanda back then).

Beginning almost immediately, Coach Amarasekara will start her season as a heptathlete in master’s track and field. She has been competing for 17 years, which is not without some hardships due to injuries she suffered in a car accident in the early ‘90s.

“I am in a constant state of track and field,’ she said.

—Steven Felschundneff


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