Rio Hondo League Finals: South Pasadena Defends, La Canada Confirms

The Rio Hondo League, featuring two ranked teams in each race, held their finals on Thursday.  Here’s a meet report, mostly from San Marino Coach Eduardo Mundo:

Boys Varsity Finish

With the  daunting grass of Lacy Park trimmed and picture perfect weather for racing, the stage was set for a very exciting battle for the Boy’s and Girl’s Rio Hondo Team, and Individual League Championships.

On the Boy’s side, the race was off quickly as La Canada’s Brendan Greene and South Pasadena’s Paul Messana came through the mile mark at 4:56, closely followed by San Marino’s Alex (Peaky) Yuter.  The three separated from the pack on the first grass loop and ran shoulder to shoulder until the final 800 yards.  At this point, Greene initiated a move in hopes of erasing any chance of involving himself in a kickers race with Messana, who had outkicked him in thier first meeting.  The move seemed to work as Greene entered the park at least 20 yards ahead of both Messana and Yuter with less than 150 yards remaining.  The gap quickly closed as Yuter began to charge, but he was not the only one charging; Messana took aim and closed the gap twice as fast.  Yuter passed Greene with 10 yards to go and Messana (15:49) ran second in passing Greene (15:50) with less than three steps remaining.  Yuter (15:47) became the first San Marino runner to win a league title in more than a decade.

South Pasadena (11th ranked in Div. III) led by Messana and Alex Tranquada 4th/16:04 placed four in the top ten to score 31 and defend their team title.  San Marino (12th ranked in D4), with Yuter and Robert Morton 8th/16:53 placed second over La Canada (3rd) for the first time in more than a decade.  The Spartans were led by Greene and Brandon Newquest 10th/17:11

Max Armenta 5th/16:25 was best for fourth placed Monrovia, and he’ll advance to CIF individually.  Austin Situ 13th/17:23 was best for Temple City.  Blair only finished four runners and did not score, their best was Fabian Hernandez 28th/18:44

Helena Van Loan - Rio Hondo League Champ

The girl’s race featured the battle of ranked teams.  La Canada, ranked 9th in Div. III,  looked to dethrone #11 South Pasadena as team champions.  Led by league leading soph Helena Van Loan, the Tigers were not going to relinquish the title without a fight after the teams split the first two cluster meets.

From the start, both teams packed in and held on as Van Loan and La Canada’s Sonja Cwik set the pace.  Cwik was able to match Van Loan through the first mile, but lost contact on the first of two grass loops.  Van Loan powered on and posted the 10th fastest girl’s time (18:20) in course history.  Cwik placed second with a time of 18:38.  But behind the leaders, the two teams battled for the team title.  As with the leaders the South Pas #2 Anika Renken 3rd/18:54 defeated the LCHS #2 Anna Frederich 4th/19:08.  Each team put four in the top ten, but critically, La Canada put their 5-6-7 runners below South Pasadena’s #5 to narrowly take the team title.

San Marino‘s best, Alissa Barraza, was only 11th at 19:56, but they put all five scorers between 11th and 22nd to take the third and final CIF spot.  Monrovia was fourth, led by Amanda Mansoorbakht, who was 7th/19:19, finishing just one spot and an agonizing .2 of a second from advancing to CIF individually.  Lezly Ayala 21st/21:24 was best for fifth place Temple CityBlair did not score, with just four finishing.  Their best was Magy Munoz 29th/22:30.


Complete Results

And here’s a video of the finish of the boys Varsity race.  As an observational exercise, see if you can identify the coach of the winning runner.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *