CHS track teams soar to new heights with double win

If you attended Tuesday’s track and field meet at Claremont High School and were a bit uncertain about what was going on, you are not alone.

Let’s be clear:?from a spectator’s perspective, track is a difficult sport to follow; events run concurrently all over the venue, they don’t use the scoreboard, and a running tally of the score isn’t available.

To make matters worse, on Tuesday Claremont hosted a double-dual meet with Alta Loma and Colony. This is how it worked: Claremont was competing against both Colony and Alta Loma separately, while Alta Loma was also competing against Colony. Essentially, it was three dual meets happening at the same time, at the same place.

The reason for this odd conglomeration, according to Coach Veronica Amarasekara, was the decision by CIF officials to move the season up by one week, which created a conflict between league prelims and Easter break.

The good news is that Claremont won both of its meets. The girls defeated Colony, 96-40, and Alta Loma, 83-49, while the boys beat Colony, 80-56, and Alta Loma, 100-36. Colony boys got the victory over Alta Loma, 79-56, while the Alta Loma girls easily defeated Colony, 91-40.

“I am really pleased with the performance from some of our younger athletes. We had lots of personal records,” Coach Amarasekara said.

One such up-and-coming athlete, Selah Eum, won the 200-meter dash and the long jump, and took second in the triple jump. She also ran a leg in Claremont’s second place finish in the 4×100.

Claremont freshman Bella Sanvictores hit a personal record, clearing 10-1 in the pole vault, which was an astounding foot-and-a-half higher than second-place Devin Spreeman of Alta Loma. Assistant coach Jose Ancona said he wasn’t sure where the vault ranked among Claremont’s all-time best, but was confident it placed in the top four. Sanvictores made three unsuccessful attempts at 10-6, that mark will have to wait until a future date.

In the girls’ distance events, Claremont seniors Monica Fonseca and Grace Dorantes came in first and second in the 3200 meter, with teammate sophomore Ashlyn Heckers in third. Colony sophomore Amber Rios narrowly edged out Claremont freshman Maddie Coles and junior Azalea Segura-Mora in the 1600. However, Claremont snagged fourth and fifth place with sophomore Angie Gushue and senior Emma Carter.

Claremont also swept the 800, with senior Kalinda Reynolds coming in first followed by junior Isatu N’Diaye and senior Julia Marriott.

The boys claimed the top seven spots in the 3200 with senior Aaron Reyes coming in first, followed by junior Jaden Clark and sophomore Askari Ahad. In addition, Claremont seniors Jacob Moran and Ryan Cowgill placed first and second in the 800.

In the past, Claremont has relied heavily on the strength of its distance runners. But this year the Pack has a sprinter, senior Nathaniel Gadsby, who won the 100- and 200-meter races and ran a leg of the Pack’s second place efforts in the 4×100 and 4×400.

Other top Claremont girls’ results include: Aysha Gsibat, Chelsea Lin, Victoria Rogers, Eum, second in 4x 100; Gsibat, Reynolds, Lin, N’Diaye, second in 4×400; Paige Thielke second in high jump; Dylan Rees, second in 100 hurdles; Lin second and Reimy Liou third in long jump; Lin, third in triple jump; Tatiana Sosnovsky second in shot put; Sosnovsky, first and Simone Murguia, second in discus.

Top boys results: Levi Gardner, first and Isaac Martinez, second in 400; Jack Keough-Lansford, third in 1600; Brian Marks second and Nathaniel Waggener, third in 110 hurdles; Waggener, first in 300 hurdles; Gabriel El-Jaouny, Isaac Martinez, Nathaniel Oluyseyi-Oke, Gadsby, second in 4×100; Gardner, Marks, Gadsby, Martinez second in 4×400; Michael Judson third in high jump; Nathan Hoon second in pole vault; Cooper Holt second and Andrew Truttmann third in long jump; Artemis O’Reilly Hahn, first and Robert Davis, second in triple jump.

Coach Amarasekara said their early season can be summed up as: “train, train, train in between the rain, rain, rain.”

Claremont held a friendly, non-scoring, tri-meet with Damien, St Lucy’s and LaSalle on February 26. On March 2 they were at the Saddle Up Invitational, and last weekend they competed in the Redondo Invitational.

“I really have to applaud the people at Saddle Up, Vista Murrieta—they only had to cancel one event even with the rain.”

It’s going to be another tough year competing against last year’s boys and girls league champions Ayala. The Bulldogs snapped a multi-year winning streak for Claremont girls track and the Pack will be anxious to take the trophy back.

“We ended up being second in both boys and girls last year, the first time the girls had not won league in years.” Coach Amarasekara said. “But that happens to teams, and you just keep building.”

Claremont will be at the California Relays at Long Beach Poly this weekend, followed on Tuesday by a home league meet versus Glendora.

“We are looking forward to having a good season, the kids are great and are working hard,” Coach Amarasekara said.

A final note, Coach Amarasekara told the COURIER on Tuesday that last June she was named Girls Track and Field Coach of the Year by the California Coaches Association. When asked why she kept it a secret she said, “I don’t like to draw attention to myself, besides, you did not ask.”

—Steven Felschundneff



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