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CHS track teams show they are loaded with talent

In the first Sierra League dual meet of the season, the Claremont Wolfpack boys and girls track and field teams took on the South Hills Huskies. The Lady Wolfpack, with Coach Jose Ancona at the helm, defeated the Huskies 93-43 on the day. The boys team, led by Coach Veronica Amarasekara, won by the score of 71-61.

Claremont girls track and field have taken the Sierra League title the last 2 years. Coach Ancona is confident that they will be able to do it yet again.

“I have no problem talking about my team’s strengths, as I believe we have the athletes to finish first again. Our lineup is public. I invite all the other teams to line their athletes up how they want and try to beat us,” he said.

The dual meet against South Hills consisted of 16 events for boys and girls each, with each athlete being able to compete in a maximum of 4 events. Claremont girls came flying out of the blocks with wins in the 4x100 relay, 1600, 400 and 800-meter distance run, and 100-meter sprint. This all but sealed the race for the Lady Wolfpack, who finished the meet by totaling almost 100 points.

The girls track roster includes a number of highly talented athletes, as Coach Ancona pointed out.

“Brittany Brown is one of the best sprinters in the state. Merin Arft, Kiana Cavanaugh, and Riley McLachlan are all very competitive in distance running,” he said. “Kelsey Johnson is a great multi-runner, she does high jump, pole vault, and 100-meter hurdles all extremely well. Julia Cantrell is one of our top distance runners and a top hurdler at 300 meters. Finally, our 4x400 team is very strong but we have one injured runner Kim Chen. When she comes back the relay team will be unstoppable.”

Claremont boys had a more difficult time putting away the Huskies. With wins in the 1600-meter run, 110-meter hurdles, and 800-meter run, the Pack was neck and neck with South Hills after 8 events. Coach “V” summarized Claremont’s initial struggles.

“We started off the meet with a disqualification and did not score the way we should have in several other early events. Going into the second half of the meet we held on to a very slim lead. At that point, the team pulled together with an effort that included multiple scorers in key events.”

The Pack was able to pull in front of South Hills and extend their lead when some of their veterans took over.

“Aric Crowell, Jimmy Baeskens, and Adam Johnson led a strong performance by the distance team to help us during that final push. Nick Guzman and Jon Reza led the sprinters and hurdlers, and Ryan Saeta and Nick Guido brought in crucial points in the throws to seal our 10-point victory,” Coach V said.

Ancona commented further on the girls squad’s chances of taking the title for a third year in a row: “St Lucy’s usually has a strong squad but they are somewhat unpredictable. Our biggest test will be at the end of the season when we face Ayala.”

The Wolpack competed in the California Relays over the weekend, and put in another strong performance. Brown won 2 events, and the Lady Wolfpack finished either first or second in 5 out of the 9 events in which they competed. The boys team had a first-place finish for their 4x100 relay team. Claremont will feature again at a dual meet this week against Damien and St. Lucy’s, then will race in the Arcadia Invitational next week.

—Chris Oakley

sports@claremont-courier.com

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