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Girls golf poised to claim league title/track strong second

by Steven Felschundneff | steven@claremont-courier.com

The Claremont High School boys and girls golf teams are winding down their pandemic season with a handful of last-minute matches including a “double header” of sorts against Glendora this last week.

Similar to Wolfpack tennis, the shortened schedule caused by the virus means that both the boys and girls teams are sharing the greens and teeing off in tandem. On Tuesday the Pack had a split return at Marshall Canyon Golf Course, with the boys losing to the Tartans, 195-216, while the girls won 209-239.

Claremont ace, junior Kelly Xu shot a three under 33, followed by Madison Stout at 39 Nora Campbell, 42, Davorah Strober, 43 and Mikala Purugganan, 48.

Leading the boys was Noah Klinovsky who shot a five over 40, followed by Jack Magallanes at 43, T.J. Holstrom, 44, Aaron Stockwell, 44, and Harry Abbott, 45.

Both teams traveled to Glendora for the second half of their double on Thursday after press time.

“The girls side is sitting in first place so if we win out, we will win the league title,” Coach Terrance Lynch said. “In boys it’s a little more jumbled. Glendora is a very good boys team, they are in the thick of it, there is a lot of parity on the boys side.”

The teams have a bye next week because Colony did not field a team. However, the following week Claremont will participate in the individual league prelims at Western Hills Country Club on Monday, May 24, with the finals the next day at General Old Golf Course in Riverside.

If any Claremont players do well in league finals, they will advance to the CIF tournament beginning the week of June first.

“We are obviously led on the girls side by Kelly Xu, she is doing, in my opinion, what a future professional golfer should. She is under par in every match,” Coach Lynch said.

Xu has committed to compete on the women’s golf team at Stanford after she graduates next year.

“We have a very good team with [Xu], returning first team all league junior Madison Stout and junior Davorah Strober who is a very good golfer,” Coach Lynch said.

Mikala Purugganan is the only senior on the team, so most of the girls will be back, for what will hopefully be a normal season, next fall. In addition, Xu’s sister Kristina Xu will be joining the team as a freshman.

On the boys side, Claremont is not quite as dominant. Senior Connor Reis finished second place as a sophomore, then didn’t play last year when the season was canceled after one week. Now as a senior, he has picked up where he left off and has earned a scholarship to compete at St. Mary’s College of California in Moraga.

“He is also probably our top soccer player and a captain. His brother was a [soccer] goalie at Duke University,” Coach Lynch said.

As for next season, everyone is crossing their fingers that the schedule will return to normal with the girls competing in the fall and the boys in the spring.

“We are one of the sports that I think we should have been playing in January, just like cross country, that was released early,” Coach Lynch said, referring to the CIF’s initial decision to start high school competition around the first of the year. That did not happen and for most teams the season did not begin until March or later.

“The challenge has been getting course time because golf has exploded since it’s one of the things people can do outside. So golf has become extremely popular,” Coach Lynch said. “Everyone says ‘I can’t believe the parking lot [at Marshall Canyon] is full’ and that is because they sell out every day. So it has been a challenge to get tee times.”

But there are positives to the combined schedule. Coach Lynch said it’s good for the boys and girls to play together so they cheer each other on. “It’s been good, They play the same sport. They play the same game,” he said.

Track and Field

Claremont track and field had a barn burner on Wednesday, narrowly defeating Glendora at CHS.

The score was so close that at first Coach Veronica Amarasekara thought the boys teams had tied at 68 points each. But upon further inspection of the score book, it was clear the Tartans had failed to clear the qualifying heights in a couple of field events, giving the victory to the Pack. For the record, the boys prevailed by 68-64 while the girls had a slightly better advantage at 70.5 to 63.5.

“It went down to the last three events on both sides but we prevailed,” Coach Amarasekara said. The deciding events were the girls 3200, with Angie Gushue taking first and Alexa Gossett second, and Selah Eum second and Amanda Shultz third in the triple jump.

On the boys side it came down to the 3200 meter and the 4x400 relay. Ruben Denson nabbed a second in the 3200 followed by Alan Jung in third.

“The four by four came down to the final ten meters of the race and they won it so we thought we had tied, but when I checked the score I said, ‘wait a minute, there were some points that weren’t awarded’ so I looked and we won by four points,” according to Coach Amarasekara.

Garrett Sanin cleared 11 feet six inches in the pole vault and was the only athlete who scored so the remaining four points were not awarded, which pushed the pack over the top. The triple jumpers helped to set the stage with a second place finish by Taj Morris and third by Rohit Kiran, which brought the boys point total to 64.

The four boys in the 4x400 were Sebastian Grannis, Antonio Diaz, Coen Martinez and Jason Miranda.

“They pulled some clutch points for us,” Coach Amarasekara said.

Other notable girls results: Jie Yi Denise Chen won the 1600, with Maddie Coles second; Chen also won the 800 meters; a half hour after the 1600, Coles took second in the 400 which was a PR; Halle McDaniels won the shot put and the discus; Eum won the long jump and was second in the triple jump and second in the 200.

Top Boys results: Luke Pruitt won the shot put with a toss of 50 feet even, it is the first time in years that a CHS athlete has thrown that far; Jake Sosnovsky came in second with a 40’ 4” toss; Victor Chen, Martinez, Caleb Winfrey and Omar Anany won the boys 4x100 relay; Martinez also won the 100 meters and was a close second in the 200 meters; Anany was second in the 100, third in the 200 and third in the long jump; and Chen was second in the long jump.

Claremont junior Bella Sanvictores set a school record in the pole vault, clearing 11 feet nine inches on May 8 at the Arcadia Invitational. She actually cleared the same height as the winner and the second place jumper but had more misses and had to settle for third place. She broke the school record during the Ayala meet last month at 11’ 6” and then repeated it last weekend.

Both teams have a 3-1 record and will travel to Ontario on Tuesday to face Colony. If Claremont wins that meet The Pack will secure second place in Palomares League.

Claremont will host league prelims on May 22 and finals on May 28. CIF officials have canceled the state meet this year, but there will still be CIF prelims and finals for the Southern Section.

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