Zadoorian, Tologs reign at Mt. SAC

WALNUT — One of the more distinctive sounds of victory was again present, sort of, at Friday's first day of high school competition at the 64th annual Mt. San Antonio College Cross-Country Invitational.

Hoover High junior Jeremy Zadoorian won his second straight coveted tin cowbell, given only to the race winner, after taking first place in the boys' Division III green race in a time of 16 minutes, 43 seconds.

There was one catch, however, as Zadoorian was serenaded with silence after attempting to ring his bell only to find out the clapper was missing.

"I love the bell. I got one last year, too, but this one didn't ring," Zadoorian said. "It's always great to win one because everyone else gets medals."

Joining Zadoorian as local winners on the day were the members of the Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy cross-country team, led by Stephanie Vargas, who took first in the Division IV yellow team race.

Zadoorian created separation between himself, Santa Barbara's James Scheuermann (second, 16:48) and Lompoc Cabrillo's Matt Johnson (third, 16:52) on the descent past the switchbacks and increased his lead to about 10 seconds over the cemented crossover.

"After the first mile, I started to pull away," Zadoorian said. "I saw that [Scheuermann] was going fast, but not that fast."

As a team, Hoover claimed fifth place with a time of 1 hour, 29 minutes and 11 seconds.

The Tornadoes scoring five included junior Kenneth Trejo (16th, 17:15), senior Paul Ingram (51st, 18:08), senior Daniel Marin (59th, 18:17) and junior Antranik Tavitian (72nd, 18:48).

While no bell was awarded to Sacred Heart, the Tologs also proved to be champions, winning the Division IV yellow team race in a local-best time of 1:45:29.

Even though runner-up Berkeley St. Mary's ran a slightly better team time of 1:45:12, the Tologs posted a better score, 94-107.

As expected, Tologs' senior Vargas paced her squad by taking fourth overall in a local-best time of 19:45.

"The dust and the sun get to you. You don't really feel the breeze even though everyone tells you there's one," Vargas said.

Sacred Heart placed three runners in the top 10 at the crossover (the official midway point of the race) and eventually finished with two in the top 10, as sophomore Maddie Peterson was 10th (20:39).

"I don't think the pace was too fast for us, we just came out a little too strong," Vargas said, "but we still did really good."

Sophomore Riley Gilmartin (17th, 21:00), freshman Kayla Grahn (28th, 21:50) and junior Olivia Mendoza (39th, 22:15) rounded out the Tologs' scorers.

In a battle of Division V boys' heavyweights, Flintridge Prep finished third in the Division V sweepstakes with 108 points, finishing behind first-place St. Margaret's (42 points) and second-place Desert Christian (61).

The Rebels' scoring five all finished in the top 30, with an impressive gap of just 32 seconds, but it came in a race in which St. Margaret's ran a team time of 78:49 to dismantle the previous Division V course record. Casey Thompson of Prep took 13th in 16:14 with Aaron Sugimoto following shortly behind in 17th at 16:22. Rounding out the scoring five were Jake Johnson (26th, 16:35), Eli Weinstein (27th, 16:36) and Alan Yoho (30th, 16:46).

On the girls' side in the Division V sweepstakes, Flintridge Prep finished seventh with Sarah Yoho leading the way with an 11th-place run of 19:09, while Kate Evans took 20th in 20:24.

While the Hoover girls did not field a complete team, individually, the Tornadoes were well-represented by Renee Lawson.

The senior clinched a seventh-place medal with a time of 19:56 in the Division III blue race.

"I was more worried with breaking 20 [minutes] today, but our coaches prepared us well," Lawson said. "They wanted us to do well, so they took us to [the hills] to train us and it worked."

St. Francis also participated Friday afternoon, taking 14th overall in the Division III red race with a team mark of 1:28:07.

Golden Knights' senior Colin Peterson led the way in running the best local time of 16:20, good for 12th in his competition.

Senior teammate Andrew Evans finished second for St. Francis, taking 53rd overall (17:09).

The Glendale boys (8:28) and girls (9:06) and Crescenta Valley boys (10:46) are slated to run in today's second day of action.

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