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CHS cross country prepares for another dominating year

To say that Claremont High School has a good cross-country team would be an understatement. The girls have claimed two consecutive state team titles, and in 2016 the boys ran to both a state team title and overall individual winner.

But with the best runners constantly graduating, the challenge is to maintain consistently high results.

Good coaching is a big plus and Claremont’s current winning streak reached its stride once Bill Reeves took over in 2015. In addition to the state title, last year the girls swept the Palomares League meets, including the prelims and finals, added another CIF Southern Section Division 2 title, and another California State title, plus the team took its first ever trip to the Nike Cross Nationals.

Boys cross-country also had a banner year, sweeping league and claiming a CIF Southern Section title.

The good news is among the seven girls who took the state title last year, only Tess Rounds graduated. In addition, the girls team is particularly deep with one freshman, Maddie Coles, who is already making waves.

Senior Sydney Hwang will lead the team again this year with junior Azalea Segura-Mora right behind. Both girls will get a chance to test their mettle at the Cool Breeze Invite next month.

Longtime assistant coach Jose Ancona is taking time off to work on a master’s degree, so Coach Reeves added Kiana Cavanaugh to his coaching staff. She joins John Thalman, who has been with the team for years, and Ed Lowrie who started last year.

Coach Cavanaugh has lived in the City of Trees her entire life, attending Condit Elementary, El Roble Intermediate and graduating from CHS in 2016. She also ran cross country for three years for the Pack.

“She helped with camp last year and did a great job. So, with Coach Ancona off this year I brought her on as an assistant,” coach Reeves said during a phone interview.

On Tuesday, Coach Cavanaugh led the daily workout with a command that belied her young age. The team ran up Thompson Creek Trail to the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park and Coach Cavanaugh ran with them. It is a natural fit because the current crop of seniors were freshman when she was a senior.

“I feel very honored [to work at CHS], and it has been a wonderful opportunity. I started out at UC Davis but decided it wasn’t what I was looking for, so I came home and went to Mt Sac. But as serendipity would have it, this opportunity opened up,” Coach Cavanaugh said.

Coach Reeves invited Coach Cavanaugh to be a counselor at cross-country camp at Mount Kare in Wrightwood last year, and was so impressed by her leadership skills that he offered her the assistant job for the 2017 season. However, her fall schedule of classes was already set so she declined. This year she was more than happy to take on the challenge.

The team was back at Mount Kare last week, which provides an opportunity for the runners to bond as a team, not to mention train at altitude. This year however, they were in for a bit of a surprise as the smoke from the Holy Fire blew in, forcing cancellations of some events.

“The smoke from the OC fire was very unexpected but we tailored the schedule every day and played it by ear. They were really good sports about the schedule change and they had good attitudes the whole time,” Coach Cavanaugh said of the team. “I personally had a great time and I feel that the athletes also had a great time.

“We are looking really good this year. Up at camp, two boys broke the course record—not just one but two—so that was very exciting,” Coach Cavanaugh said of  runners, Adam Trafecanty and Jacob Moran.

“As a field, the girls were faster than last year so we’re feeling very confident about their abilities this season,” Coach Cavanaugh added.

Mile Split rankings won’t be out in until the weekend but Coach Reeves said he expects both the boys and the girls to be in the top four in the state.

“The girls look really good, the boys are really deep and we have younger kids who are stepping up,” coach Reeves said.

The team will be at Cool Breeze on September 7, followed by the first Palomares League meet on the 15th and the Stanford Invite the next weekend.

“Coach Reeves, he is the brains behind it all and he has a great training program in place. With the whole coaching staff, we each add our own little touch and I am exited to be a part of that.” Coach Cavanaugh said.

 

CHS girls water polo sends athletes to national competition

From July 26 through 29, the Claremont girls water polo program sent several athletes to the National Junior Olympics held in San Jose, with championship games held at Stanford University.

The girls play for different local clubs including Foothill Water Polo, Chino Hills Area Water Polo and Rosebowl Aquatics Water Polo Club. The National Junior Olympics require club teams to qualify by regions throughout the US with about 90 teams in each age group.

Claremont girls include Adrian Wong, Madison Romero, Maddie Waasdorp, Aurora Sheridan, Lauren Hoyle, Megan DePrez, Makenna Moore, Helena Sandhagen, and Abigail Torry. The girls played well in the four-day tournament, competing as many as three games a day.

Waasdorp, (pictured at right), a junior at CHS, played on the 16 and under Rosebowl Water Polo Club and took home the bronze medal, a first for Claremont. Rosebowl only had one loss to Santa Barbara by a single goal. Her team took a silver medal in the US club championships in June.

 in Orange County.

 

—Steven Felschundneff

steven@claremont-courier.com