Former Falcons still running strong at next level

The following are updates on area athletes at the collegiate level.

Zack Torres (Crescenta Valley High, 2009) junior, UCLA cross-country: Torres and the Bruins appear to be hitting their stride in the two-time News-Press Male Athlete of the Year's junior season.

On Saturday at the Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto, Torres, making his season debut, finished 10th overall in the men's 8K and third for the Bruins, who took second behind Stanford.

Stanford tallied 27 points with four top-five finishers, while the Bruins took second with 52 points, led by Dustin Fay (seventh, 24 minutes 4 seconds) and Kent Morikawa (eighth, 24:15), who finished just in front of Torres, who clocked 24:20. The race was won by Stanford's Chris Derrick in 23:15.

The Bruins opened their season with a victory Sept. 3 at the Nevada Chase Rase, though Torres and the rest of UCLA's top runners did not partake. The Bruins also won the Aztec Invitational on Sept. 17, but Torres and the team's top runners were also shelved for that race.

The Bruins will return to the course Friday at the Notre Dame Invitational.

Nathan Sellers (Crescenta Valley High, 2006) senior, Adams State College cross-country: A standout at Crescenta Valley and Glendale Community College, Sellers has once again inserted himself as his team's top runner.

A two-time Division II All-American, Sellers notched his first-ever Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Cross-Country Runner of the Week honor after a stellar senior debut.

On Sept. 10 at the Joe I. Vigil Open in Colorado, Sellers was the second overall finisher and top collegiate runner, finishing the race in 24 minutes 28 seconds to lead Adams State to a 27-28 win over Western State, the No. 2-ranked team in the U.S. Track and Field and Cross-Country Coaches' Assn. rankings. The Grizzlies, ranked No. 1, have won three consecutive NCAA titles.

Sellers and Co. return to action Saturday, with the squad split to take part in both the Cowboy Jamboree in Oklahoma and the Rocky Mountain Shootout in Colorado.

Ava Sadeghi (Glendale native) freshman, Vassar College tennis: Sadeghi has quickly made history, as the freshman from Glendale who attended Campbell Hall became Vassar College's first-ever singles entrant in the Intercollegiate Tennis Assn. Small College Championships in Alabama from Oct. 13-16.

Sadeghi achieved the honor by winning the ITA Northeast Regional Championships on Monday, taking down the University of Rochester's Frances Tseng, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, in the finals.

"Ava's relaxed nature helped her to focus on one match at a time," Coach Kathy Campbell told the school website. "On court her behavior was very composed and her confidence started growing after the first couple wins. It wasn't long before she believed she could win it all."

Sadeghi won nine matches in three days — including stopping No. 1 seed and reigning champion Karisse Bendijo in the quarterfinals — and didn't drop a set until the final. She also advanced to the quarterfinals in doubles with teammate Lindsay Kantor.

Dietrich Riley (St. Francis High, 2010) sophomore, UCLA football: UCLA got off to a winning start in Pacific-12 Conference play Saturday in its conference opener, traveling to Oregon State and leaving with a 27-19 victory.

Riley tallied six tackles in the game, as the Bruins improved to 2-2.

Riley, a three-time former All-Area Football Player of the Year, got his second consecutive start at strong safety. He's played in all four of the Bruins' contests, tallying 15 tackles with one pass break-up, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery on the season.

UCLA travels north once more this week to face Pac-12 favorite Stanford on Saturday.

Alyssa Conti (Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, 2011) freshman, Johns Hopkins soccer: The reigning All-Area pick went from a CIF Southern Section Division I champion to another squad experiencing quite a bit of success.

Johns Hopkins is 8-0 on the season and ranked seventh in the NCAA Division III National Soccer Coaches Assn. of America ratings.

Conti, a midfielder, has played in five of her team's games, tallying one goal.

Her first-ever collegiate goal came on Sept. 4 in a 3-2 overtime win over Carnegie Mellon. At 78:09, Conti scored a goal that put her team up, 2-1, and would have stood as the game-winner had Carnegie Melon not rallied to score the equalizer in the final minute of regulation.

Johns Hopkins returns to the field Saturday at Swarthmore.

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