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CHS track prepares for stiff state competition, Volleyball says goodbye to big season

It has been unusually cool for May in southern California and Tuesday afternoon it was dark and looked like rain.

“I love this weather,” senior Annie Boos said, as she finished a short training run.

Boos has reason to be upbeat—she will be heading off to the CIF finals this week as one of the fastest competitors in the 1600- and 3200-meter races.

“On Saturday, it is going to be hot,” Coach Veronica Amarasekara quipped.

The heat could be a problem, since the Pack’s first race, the boys and girls 1600-meter, begins at 1:30 p.m. In general, distance runners do not get their best times on hot days. However, all the Pack needs to do is to run fast enough to move on to the next meet.

Boos is not alone. Several of her teammates are also headed to the meet this Saturday in Cerritos. Junior Abby Holt in high jump; senior Max McGuire in the pole vault; Ryan Renken in the 1600- and 3200-meter; Owen Bishop in the 1600- and 3200; senior Juan Diego Calvo in the 800-meter; and sophomore Sydney Hwang in the 3200-meter.

Para-athlete Cameron Kading hopes to repeat his victory in the 100-meter race at the California State meet. This year he will also compete in the 200-meter race and the long jump.

All four divisions of the CIF Southern Section are headed to the finals, with the top 12 finishers in the distance and field events qualifying for the CIF Masters meet on May 26 at Arcadia High School.

The top six qualifiers at the masters will automatically move on the California State meet, in addition to anyone who hits a set qualifying mark, either a certain height in the jumping events or a set time in a race.

“The watch and the tape don’t lie,” Coach Amarasekara said. “We have to be in the top 12 to move on.”

Claremont should do very well with Bishop, the current state cross country champion, as well as with Boos and Renken, who hold several CHS records. A strong showing at the state meet would be the crowning achievement for an already storied season.

Graduation will leave a bit of a vacuum at the top, as Boos, Renken and Bishop will be moving on. However, this year’s junior varsity squad was one of the best in the Southern Section, so Claremont should be a top competitor come next year.

BOYS VOLLEYBALL

CHS boys volleyball’s somewhat unexpected but nonetheless very successful season, came to an end last Thursday when the Pack lost at home to Channel Islands, 3-0, in the second round of the CIF playoff tournament. 

“We started well and were up 15-8 in the first set,” Coach Bernie Wendling said. “We made a few mistakes, and Channel Islands got their confidence. They [Channel Islands] had great ball control and played together well. We struggled connecting with our middles a little, which we need for our offense to run well. Still, the Wolfpack battled to the end.”

Until Thursday, CHS had not lost a match since March 30, even though the boys were pushed to five sets several times.

“They just refused to lose, they found ways to win instead,” Coach Wendling said. “They really learned to care about each other and to not be jealous of a teammate, even if that meant someone might be playing instead of them. The team’s success belonged to everyone. I am so proud of them.”

It was a great season for Claremont, winning league again after a four-year respite and adding to their legacy of eight league championships in 12 seasons. The Pack is definitely back.

“[It’s] a total tribute to the quality of athletes in this community, not to mention some tall parents, and the support of men’s volleyball by administration, staff and students,” Coach Wendling said.

Claremont ends with a record of 15-12 overall and 6-2 in league, and will undoubtedly be looking forward to the 2018 season.

—Steven Felschundneff

steven@claremont-courier.com