LCHS Track Battles Opponents on Three Fronts

Photo courtesy Diana Hernandez
Corey Cheung placed sixth in the rising stars division’s 100-meter race and set a personal record with 11.74 seconds at South Pasadena last Saturday.

La Cañada High School’s boys’ and girls’ track teams did triple-duty this past week, sweeping a home quad meet against San Marino, Temple City and Blair last Wednesday; traveling to South Pasadena High School for the Tiger Invitational on Friday; and sending four athletes to the elite-level Arcadia High School Invitational on Saturday night.

Rio Hondo League Quad Meet

The Spartans opened the week’s competition with boys and girls wins over all three Rio Hondo League opponents in Wednesday’s quad meet. This leaves the boys varsity at 4-1 on the season, while the girls’ varsity remains undefeated at 6-0.

“Any time you can rack up three league wins in a single outing is a good day,” said Spartan assistant coach Pete Magill. “This sets the stage for Tuesday’s dual meet against South Pasadena, which will determine the league championship on all levels.”

Luke Johnson was the top scorer for the La Cañada boys’ varsity, picking up three wins: high jump in a personal record (PR) 6 feet, 3 inches, long jump in a PR 20-2 and 110 hurdles in 16.5 seconds.

In the boys’ sprints, Ivan Ostry continued to improve, running 11.43 for the 100-meter win, with Zain Bangash third in 11.94. It was Bangash first in the 200, with a PR 24.27. Ryan Armijo picked up second-place points for the Spartans in the 400 (54.1), and Kamran Samudrala ran second in the 300 hurdles, going 50.61.

In boys’ distance events, Jaden Milbrodt added to his season win total with victories in the 800 (2 minutes, 15.22 seconds) and 3200 (10:58.51). Teammate Max Smith was third in the 800 (2:17.58).

Spartan boys dominated the field events, sweeping four events and winning the fifth. Behind Johnson’s wins, Dominic Corrente (5-6) and Steven Miketta (5-4) went 2-3 in the high jump, while Tyler Callahan (17-8) and Caleb Carruthers (17-4) were 2-3 in the long jump. Callahan won the triple jump, going 38-8, with Andrew Berry second in 27-6. Miketta (11-6), Corrente (11-6) and Samudrala (9-6) went 1-2-3, respectively, in the pole vault. Maximo Mora won the shot put with a heave of 34-2.

The Spartan girls were strong from top to bottom, winning nine of 13 events. Grace Paton led the way, scoring victories in the 100 (13.58 PR) and 200 (28.17), while also joining Kaitlyn Creighton, Arielle McKenzie and Olivia Toland on the winning 4×100 relay (52.35). In the 4×400 relay, it was Leslie Dick, Catherine Mispagel, Jordan Lay and Jayli Day carrying the baton to victory in 4:26.23.

McKenzie won the 400 in a PR 59.49, with fellow freshman Katelyn Matarese taking second in a PR 61.92. Backing up Paton in the short sprints, Creighton was second in the 100 (13.61) and third in the 200 (28.99). Dick scored a big PR win in the 300 hurdles, running 51.62, while teammate Karla Kadman was second in 55.64. The duo switched places in the 100 hurdles, with Kadman winning (18.5) and Dick second (19.1), while Lainey Johansing ran third (21.0).

In distance events, Mispagel continued to improve, winning a final-stretch sprint to take the 800 in 2:30.71, with Jenna Milbrodt third (2:34.49). Milbrodt returned to easily win the 3200 in 13:10.93.

The field events produced wins by Annalise Evans in the high jump (4-6) and Claudia Plocher in the triple jump (32-10). Day and Sundara Wakeman went 2-3 in the high jump, with both leaping 4-4. Audrey Butler backed up Plocher in the triple jump with a PR 31-5. Butler was also second in the long jump (15-7.5), with Creighton third (15-5). Evans was second in pole vault (7 feet). And Brooke Gilchrest was second in the shot put (27-3).

Leading the Spartan frosh-soph boys’ assault, Jeshurun Liou picked up PR wins in the 100 (12.32) and the long jump (17-1). The other double-victor for the Spartans was Samuel Parks, in the 100 hurdles (20.5) and 300 hurdles (45.69). Andre Uribe was first in the 400 (64.76).

For La Cañada’s frosh-soph girls, there were three double-winners. Nicole Van Slooten took the 100 hurdles in 18.7 and the 300 hurdles in 56.55. Katelyn Hung won the 100 in 14.41 and the long jump with 14-3. Caitlin Roehmholdt claimed victory in the 800 (2:50.22) and 3200 (13:37.39). Van Slooten and Hung teamed up with Ellie Cucullu and Amanda Grabal to win the 4×100 relay (57.14). Cucullu also won the 400 (78.75).

Tiger Invitational

Photo courtesy Diana Hernandez
Kaitlyn Creighton (right) helped the Spartans win the 4×100 relay at South Pasadena’s Tiger Invitational.

The Spartans sent a select group of athletes to Friday’s Tiger Invitational at South Pasadena High School. Standout performances for the boys included Corey Cheung’s sixth-place finish in the Rising Stars division of the 100 (11.74 PR), Max Smith’s eighth-place Rising Stars effort in the 1600 (4:51.34 PR), and Jaden Milbrodt’s 9:57.79 PR in the varsity 3200. For the girls, Kaitlyn Creighton took home three podium-finish medals in the Rising Stars division: second place in the long jump (13-11), and third in both the 100 (13.76) and 200 (28.61). Catherine Mispagel was eighth in the varsity 800, running 2:30.97.

Arcadia Invitational

Photo courtesy Vivian Suarez
La Cañada High School standout Ellaney Matarese, who committed to Harvard, finished second in the 800-meter race at the Arcadia Invitational last Saturday. Matarese (left), Stanford-bound Audrey Suarez of Mayfield Senior and Crescenta Valley’s Mia Barnett, who will run for the University of Virginia, represented the local region in the prestigious competition.

With this year’s California State Meet cancelled due to continued fallout from the pandemic, the Arcadia Invitational became regarded by many as the de facto state championship meet. La Cañada’s top two all-time 800-meter performers, Ellaney Matarese and Arielle McKenzie, lined up for the Invitational 800. Two called-back starts, due to runners falling in the first 50 meters, rattled freshman McKenzie, whose sluggish start on the third go-round left her out of the hunt, but senior Ellaney Matarese was not to be denied, threading through the tightly packed race to claim second place in 2:11.65. McKenzie and Matarese were joined by Artis Phillips and Katelyn Matarese in the Distance Medley Relay, where they topped all but one school in the state, running a school-record 12:12.83 for second place.

“Taking two second-place finishes at the top high school track meet in the country is an incredible feat,” said Spartan girls’ head coach Chris Matarese. “And the distance medley squad beat our school record by 28 seconds.”