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CHS track gets fast start with blistering times

The Claremont High School Wolfpack track and field team is off to a strong start, highlighted by a double victory over Ayala Tuesday, including a good showing at California Relays over the weekend.

At the California Relays, held at Cerritos College, the team set blistering fast times. The girls and boys almost swept all distance relays—girls and boys both won the 4 x 1600 and the 4 x 800 relays, and the girls won the distance medley relay, while the boys came second in that event.

The distance teams are now getting national recognition. The girls, Annie Boos, Tess Rounds, Jax Heckers and Janelle Baeskens are ranked first in the state and fifth in the nation for the 4 x 1600 relay, while the boys, Ryan Renken, Owen Bishop, Sergio Espinoza and Tab Backman are second in the state and fourth in the nation at that distance. For the 4 x 800, the girls, Rounds, Sarah Ayala, Frances O'Leary and Boos are currently seventh in the state, 35th in the nation, while the boys, Sergio Espinoza, Engelbert, Renken and Bishop are fourth in state and 15th in the nation.

At CHS on Tuesday, Claremont continued to dominate, sweeping several events on their way to defeating the Bulldogs 82-54 for the boys and 75-61 for the girls.

Perhaps the biggest news of the day was Boos, who set a school record at 5:04 in the 1600-meter race. She seems unstoppable, running a full seven seconds faster than her time at the Claremont four-way meet two weeks ago. Only a junior, she has the rest of this season and all of next to get faster and will undoubtedly better her own record. Boos also won the 800-meter event with a time of 2:20.

Junior Duy-Tran Sampson had a big day winning the 100 and 200-meter races. He also helped Claremont win the 4 x 100 relay, with Ira Clark, Damien Cannon and Thomas Beck as well as the 4 x 400 with Espinoza, Beck and Bishop.

Big sweeps for Claremont included: the boys’ 800-meter event with Bishop on top, followed close on his heels by Espinoza, Englebert and McGuire. Alexa Tisopulos won the girls 100-meter hurdles with three more Claremont runners, Olivia Thomas, Lyling Irwin and Camile Morken finishing the top four spots.

Girls first place finishes include: Ray’Yana Davidson, triple jump; Natalia Lopez, Kylie Robinson, Alyssa Cantrell and Kyla Morris, 4 x 400-meter relay; Morgan Hughes, Maddy Chapman, Genna Rogers and Daniela Lemus 4 x 100 relay; Cantrell 300-meter hurdles; Robinson, 400-meters and 200-meters; Lopex 100-meters.

Boys first place finishes include: Bryan Brown, triple jump and long jump; Misak Maranon Davis, pole vault; Renken, 1600-meters; Beck, 400 meters.

“I think our team in general will do well, our sprinters went just as far as our distance runners last year,” said coach Veronica Amarasekara, referring to the team’s performance in the CIF finals last year.

Coach Amarasekara, who has been head coach of the boys program for years, has just taken over leading the girls as well.

“Duy is outstanding,” she said of Tran-Sampson. “He is a 100 through 400 sprinter as well running relays. What people may not know he is also a mighty fine long jumper and a pole vaulter. I would expect to see him doing decathlon real soon.”

Two weeks ago the Pack hosted its annual friendly quad meet that includes Claremont’s rivals Damien and St. Lucy’s. “We won on both sides, we beat Damien by two points,” she went on to say. “That meet has always been about friendship and good sportsmanship and we have been fortunate to have our rivals in the meet.”

From here the Wolfpack will compete in the Covina Qualifiers this weekend, with the national meet at Arcadia coming in two weeks.

—Steven Felschundneff

steven@claremont-courier.com