CHS track continues to rack up wins
With dark clouds gathering over the San Gabriel Mountains and a cool, stiff, westerly wind, it certainly did not feel like April in southern California as Claremont hosted Diamond Bar for a Palomares League track and field meet on Tuesday.
Watching the girls’ 400-meter race, head coach Veronica Amarasekara said, “We have a prevailing wind,” and then, with a smile and a sweeping gesture toward the finish line, she added, “pushing them right down into CIF.”
Perhaps most notable are the Pack’s distance runners. Coming off of a cross-country season with one CIF Southern Section title and dual CIF State titles, they barely skipped a beat as track and field season started.
At the Mount SAC Relays last weekend, a team of four Claremont boys won the distance medley relay (DMR) and in the process not only set a school record, but also posted the best DMR time in the nation this year. Owen Bishop was the lead-off, running the 1200-meter followed by Duy Tran Sampson in the 400-meter, Juan Diego Calvo in the 800-meter and anchored by Ryan Renken running 1600-meter. The boys’ time of 10.01.9 was also the seventh fastest ever in the state of California.
“We beat Great Oak, which is always nice to do,” said Assistant Coach Bill Reeves. Great Oak has been a force in distance running for years and Claremont stole victory by a mere two seconds. “[Great Oak runner] Solomon Fountain tried to out kick Ryan [Renken] at the end, but Ryan held on,” Coach Reeves added.
At the Arcadia Invitational two weeks ago Annie Boos entered the two-mile race with the goal of beating the school record. What she did was to smash that record, running 20 seconds faster than the 10:47 time set by teammate Sydney Hwang two weeks earlier at the Meet of Champions. Boos also placed third in the Brooks one-mile event at Mt. SAC Relays.
“It was a shock,” Boos said about her performance at Arcadia. “My goal was to break 10:40, so it was pretty cool to get 10:27.”
The Pack had a busy couple of weeks with big invitational events every weekend and league meets during the week. First up was Arcadia, then a close league meet with Ayala, followed by the Mt. Sac Relays last weekend and the Diamond Bar meet.
Claremont very narrowly defeated Ayala with the boys topping the Bulldogs 74-62 while the girls had a razor thin victory at 69-67. At Tuesday’s Diamond Bar meet the Pack go an easy win, 91-44 for the boys and 107-28 for the girls.
Racing every weekend and once during the week is taking its toll.
“We are really tired right now,” said coach Reeves, thankfully the team will get the weekend off to recover.
“It’s nice to have a weekend off, just to relax,” Renken said.
Claremont’s talent runs deep. Charlie Davis is a multi event athlete who can be competitive in high jump, long jump, pole vault and sprints. Tran Sampson won the 100-meter sprint during the Ayala meet and will be a key player against Glendora, however he is nursing a hamstring injury. He stoically said that it was not a big deal, however, it was clearly giving him some trouble when a sizable lead in the 4 x 100 turned into a narrow victory during his anchor leg of the event.
Next Tuesday Claremont hosts a very competitive Glendora team for a meet that will decide the Palomares League championship.
Coach Amarasekara is cautiously optimistic, “There are several ways we could win on paper, but our athletes ultimately have to do what they trained to do,” she said.
Coach Amarasekara, who is a master track athlete, really seems to enjoy her job. “I never stop moving during a meet,” she said. “It’s just so enjoyable for me to see these kids develop during the season and getting PRs.”
In addition to the Glendora meet, Claremont will also host the Palomares League Prelims on Saturday, April 29.
Mike Collins named new CHS athletic director
The Claremont High School football program announced via Twitter that former head coach Mike Collins will replace Rick Dutton as the school’s new athletic director. Mr. Collins, who teaches PE at the school, was head coach of the Pack for 20 years. A full story on Mr. Collins’ promotion will appear in a future edition of the COURIER.
Claremont lost a very close Palomares League game to Bonita, 6-4, on Wednesday in La Verne.
The two teams were tied at one run each in the first inning and again at two runs each after three innings. The Pack took the lead in the fifth with two runs, only to see it disappear in the sixth when Bonita scored four runs. The Bearcats’ Isaac Mendez pitched six innings earning the win.
Junior Jake Holcroft produced the bulk of Claremont’s offense, with a double, a triple and a home run, scoring three times and getting two RBIs.
With the loss Claremont is now 3-5 in league which drops them to fourth place. They will get a rematch against Bonita on Friday at home.
Claremont lost a pitcher’s duel to Diamond Bar, 2-1 on Wednesday in Diamond Bar. The Brahmas scored in the first inning and led all the way to the sixth when Claremont tied. Unfortunately for the Pack, Diamond Bar also scored in the sixth sealing the deal. With the loss the girls are now 3-6 in league and 5-8 overall. They have an away game at Glendora on Friday.
Claremont defeated rival Damien, 3-0, at home on Tuesday. In spite of the lopsided sounding score it was actually a very close match, with Claremont taking the first two sets 25-20 and 25-22. The third and final set was a marathon, going to 39-37 before Claremont could get the two-point advantage required for the win. The Pack is now 3-2 in the Hacienda League, which put the boys in second place.
Claremont easily defeated Ayala, 16-2, on Tuesday in Chino Hills. With the win they are now 7-1 in league and hosted Diamond Bar on Thursday after press time. Diamond Bar defeated Claremont the first time around so a Wolfpack win will result in a shared league title with the Brahmas.
For the second year in a row, the California Coaches Association has named Claremont coach Bill Reeves the Cross Country Coach of the Year for Southern California. Coach Reeves has had some incredible results since he started with the Pack three years ago. In 2016 the girls won the CIF Southern Section title and both the boys and the girls won CIF State titles. Additionally, senior Owen Bishop won the individual title at the state meet.
Webb coach reaches milestone
The Gauls’ 1-0 win over Rio Hondo Prep on April 3 gave Webb Schools varsity baseball coach Jeff Stodgel 100 career wins. The game featured a two-hit, complete game shutout performance by starting pitcher Wyatt Albert. Adrian Alvarez had the game’s lone RBI, which came in the fifth inning. The boys are now 11-3 in league.