LC Girls Win Meet, Boys Edged by Monrovia

Photo courtesy Pete Magill
Catherine Mispagel and Jenna Milbrodt tied in the 3200 meters with a time of 13:30 during the league meet against Monrovia last week.

The heat was on as La Cañada High School’s boys and girls track teams welcomed Monrovia last Thursday in the first league meet of the season. Facing scorching temperatures and a Wildcats squad stacked with sprinters and hurdlers, the Spartans handily won varsity girls, 92-32, while getting edged out on boys varsity, 64-61.
At 3-0, the Spartan girls remained undefeated this season, while the LC boys fell to 1-1.
“This may be the strongest girls team the school has ever had,” said LCHS girls’ track head coach Chris Matarese. “We have competitive athletes in all events, and everyone is willing to do whatever it takes to win as a team.”
The Spartan girls relied on distance running and field events to break open the meet. Catherine Mispagel crushed her personal record (PR) in the 800 meters, running 2 minutes, 34.67 seconds, then doubled back for a first-place tie with teammate Jenna Milbrodt in the 3200 (13:30). Milbrodt was second in the 800 (2:37.40). In the 1600, frosh sensations Arielle McKenzie and Katelyn Matarese traded leads before McKenzie crossed the line first (5:15.33), with Matarese second (5:19.32).
There was a Spartan sweep in the high jump, with Annalise Evans, Jordan Lay and Jayli Day going 1-2-3 in the same height, 4 feet, 6 inches. Brooke Gilchrest dominated the shot put, throwing 28-4 to win by nine feet. In the horizontal jumps, Audrey Butler inched past Claudia Plocher in the long jump, 14-6 to 14-5, while Plocher claimed victory in the triple jump (30-6), with Butler third (28-8). In the pole vault, Sundara Wakeman PR’d to win in 7-3, with Evans second at 6-6.
The 300-meter hurdles saw Artis Phillips and Leslie Dick take first and second, running 51.40 and 52.30, respectively. In the 100 hurdles, it was Karla Cadman second (18.0) and Dick third (19.86).
The 4×100 relay ran unopposed, with Phillips, Grace Paton, Kaitlyn Creighton and Olivia Toland recording 53.11 to remain unbeaten in the event this season. Creighton ran 13.92 for second place in the 100, with McKenzie third in 14.01.Lainey Johansing finished second in the 200 (30.33), while Day and Ellie Cucullu went second and third in the 400, running 66.0 and 67.59, respectively. In the 4×400 relay, McKenzie, Phillips, Cucullu and Dick ran 4:15.87 — the best time for La Cañada in four years — for the win.
On the varsity boys’ side, the LC distance runners countered the Wildcats’ sprint strength with a dominant performance of their own. Jaden Milbrodt scored a hat trick, winning the 800 meters (2:24.54), 1600 meters (4:56.30) and 3200 meters (11:28.99). Max Smith picked up second place points in both the 1600 (4:56.80) and 3200 (11:37.37), and Arya Ghaneh ran second in the 800 (2:25.42) and third in the 3200 (12:21.15).
Field events were also strong for La Cañada. Dominic Corrente set a PR in the pole vault, going 11-8, and notched second in the high jump at 5-6. Luke Johnson cleared six feet to win the high jump and doubled back in the long jump with a third-place leap of 18 feet. Johnson also won the 110 high hurdles in a PR 16.28. Taking second in the pole vault was Sam Shrinsky at 10 feet. In the shot put, the Spartans went 2-3, with Max Russakow putting 30-5 and Sam Shrinsky 29-6.
Fast times and PRs weren’t enough in the sprints. Ivan Ostry improved his 100 PR to 11.47, and Zain Bangash notched a PR 24.84 in the 200, but both marks earned third-place finishes against the Monrovia speedsters. Ryan Armijo ran 54.46 for second in the 400. In the 300 hurdles, Samuel Parks was second (49.96) and Kamran Samudrala third (54.50).
The LCHS frosh-soph teams took advantage of Monrovia’s depleted numbers to score victories in the girls’ and boys’ competitions, 46-10 and 22-20, respectively.
For the girls, the 4×100 relay squad of Nicole Van Slooten, Katelyn Hung, Amanda Grabal and Chiara Matuska opened the meet with a win, running 57.57. Yasmin Ghaneh was a two-time winner for the Spartans, taking the 1600 (6:11.19) and the 3200 (20:32.48). Also scoring double victories was Van Slooten, who won the 100 hurdles in 20.02 and the 300 hurdles in 57.14. In the long jump, Hung went 13-3 for the win.
Scoring victories for the LCHS boys were Jeshurun Liou in the long jump, with a leap of 16-1, and Brandon Goldsby in the shot put at 33-10.
Varsity girls standouts Ellaney Matarese, McKenzie, Katelyn Matarese and Phillips will be in action this Saturday at the elite-level Arcadia Invitational at Arcadia High School, with running events beginning at 5 p.m. The Spartans then face South Pasadena on their home turf on Tuesday, with the undefeated Spartan and Tiger girls’ varsity and frosh-soph squads facing off for the league championship. The league showdown is scheduled to 3:15 p.m.