LCHS Athletes Back in Action After 11-Month Hiatus

Photos courtesy Eric Danielson
Jaden Milbrodt participated in La Cañada High School’s first sporting event in 11 months on Tuesday, when the school hosted a cross-country time trial for LCHS and South Pasadena runners at Hahamongna Park. More sporting events are expected to come soon after the recent decline in COVID-19 cases.

Local parents and students were at Hahamongna Park on Tuesday to witness the first La Cañada High School athletic event in 11 months, and more competitions are certainly to come.
The school hosted a Rio Hondo League time trial for cross-country runners from South Pasadena and La Cañada. San Marino, Pasadena Blair and Monrovia will participate in the 3-mile run Thursday afternoon. Each school was designated a time to avoid large groups of athletes running at the same time.
LCHS junior varsity cheerleaders created signs supporting all runners, and members of the varsity cheer squad cheered for the athletes crossing the finish line.
“It was just so sweet because the kids know how much went into this,” said Carrie Saks, LCHS athletic director. “I had a student say, ‘Thank you so much for making this all happen.’ We really want them to play, and we’re doing everything we can. It’s nice that they can see that.”
South Pasadena’s Andrew Villapudua held the top spot among varsity runners on Tuesday with a time of 16 minutes, 6 seconds, followed by LCHS junior Jaden Milbrodt, who finished in 16:46. George Branda was the second Spartan to cross the finish line, placing sixth with a time of 18:37. Ethan Lee posted a time of 19:00, which was good for seventh, and Arya Ghaneh was ninth with a time of 19:52. Freshman Donovan Johnson finished in 20:46 for 12th place.
Catherine Mispagel led the Spartans in the varsity girls’ race with a time of 21:48, which was good for fourth place. Freshman Amy Kiang finished in 22:30 for ninth place, and Yasmine Ghaneh wasn’t far behind to place 10th with a time of 23:01.
Jamie Saunders led the frosh/soph boys’ race with a time of 21:13, and teammate George Harvey finished in 23:30 for third place.
Rio Hondo League administrators are not only working on another cross-country event, but having a schedule in place for other sports.
“I think everyone wants to do this if we can,” Saks said. “I know all the athletic directors want to do it. It’s just a matter of if their school district lets them. [La Cañada] is ready to get on board with it when they give us the green light.”
County public health officials gave it on Wednesday, announcing that it would update its Protocols for Youth and Adult Sports Leagues to align with the state’s guidelines.
The California Department of Public Health recently updated its youth sports guidelines and will base the return of high school sports on each county’s adjusted case rate per 100,000 people. Beginning Friday, the threshold for outdoor sports to resume practice and competition is 14 cases or lower per 100,000 despite still being in the purple tier, which indicates widespread COVID-19 infection.

Catherine Mispagel paced the La Cañada varsity girls’ cross-country team with a time of 21 minutes, 48 seconds, placing her fourth overall.

On Tuesday, Los Angeles County reported that metric to be 12.3 per 100,000, allowing high-contact sports such as football and water polo to compete as long as players and coaches are tested for the coronavirus weekly. Results must be made available within 24 hours of competition.
All teams must obtain informed consent from parents or guardians of young athletes participating in a sport. Competitions are limited to two teams within a county or against a school from an adjacent county.
“These will be in addition to the usual public health safety modifications that we use to prevent transmission of COVID — regular use of face masks by participants, coaches and spectators, physical distancing whenever possible, and frequent hand washing,” public health officials wrote in a statement.
Football players can start practicing in pads this Friday and games can be played as early as Thursday, March 11, in L.A. County.
However, indoor sports such as basketball and volleyball are not permitted by the state or the county. The CIF Southern Section remains in discussions with California officials about the return of indoor athletics, but Commissioner Rob Wigod said that schools within counties that meet the threshold can schedule indoor sports — such as basketball, volleyball and wrestling — to be played outdoors.