Trio of locals picks up wins at Tiger Invite

SOUTH PASADENA — While the goals were twofold at Friday evening’s third annual South Pasadena High Tiger Track and Field Invite, achievements were more than plentiful for the several local schools and athletes who competed.

Blair, Crescenta Valley, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, Muir, Pasadena, St. Francis and South Pasadena all enjoyed measures of success, led by the host Tigers.

PHOTOS: South Pasadena Tiger Track and Field Invite

South Pasadena notched two varsity victories, including back-to-back wins from varsity 1,600-meter junior runners Helena Van Loan and Josh Wilson.

Van Loan, the 2011 All-Area cross-country Runner of the Year, was in the middle of the pack through two laps before climbing in front by the end of the third lap and expanding her lead in the final lap of a victory in a season-best time of 5 minutes, 22.23 seconds.

“I was kind of boxed in early in the race and had trouble breaking free,” Van Loan said. “Once I was able to get free, I made my move.”

Similarly, Wilson found little elbow room over the first two laps before breaking free in the third lap en route to a victory in 4:28, which was about four seconds off his personal-best time.

“I felt like I had to win here. I had to defend my track and my home,” Wilson said. “This is the Tiger Invitational, so I had to win.”

While distance events served South Pasadena well, St. Francis senior Caleb Simmeth flew to a victory in the 110 hurdles.

Simmeth entered with a seeded mark of 14.90 and romped to a victory in 15.30, over a second a half ahead of the next closest runner, California’s Chris Rodriguez (16.88).

“I thought it was cool to race in a local event against people I’ve never ran against,” said Simmeth, who finished second in the 300 hurdles (40.72). “I’ve never competed against Crescenta Valley, so that was different.”

Simmeth outpaced Falcons senior Davit Shahamanyan (third, 17.13).

Despite the bronze effort, the Falcons weren’t denied a victory.

Crescenta Valley junior Kayleigh Carrillo also clinched a championship, winning the third heat of the 400 in an overall event-best time of 57.59, which topped her seeded mark of 58.75.

“When I was out there, I was just trying to keep my pace and not get too far ahead of myself,” said Carrillo, who competed in four events in Wednesday’s Pacific League home meet against Glendale. “I only had one race today, so I gave everything I had and now I’m done.”

In that same competition, Flintridge Sacred Heart’s Briana Silverman finished second in the first heat with a time of 1:04.60, which was ninth overall out of all three heats.

Tologs senior Hailey James took fifth in the 300 hurdles in 48.21, while Flintridge Sacred Heart’s Madison MacVaugh tied with Crescenta Valley’s Emily Beglarian with a second-place leap of 4 feet 10 inches in the high jump.

The evening proved special for a pair of St. Francis sophomores in David Polchow and Ross Niederhaus.

Polchow won the final heat of the rising stars 100 in 11.65 with Niederhaus, who also won the rising stars 200 (23.25), right behind in 11.67. The top-two finish for both qualified the duo to the rising stars competition Saturday morning at the prestigious Arcadia Invitational.

As for Blair, the Vikings were best represented by sophomore Kristian Lopez, who was third in the first heat of the rising stars 400 in 56.45.

Muir junior Ashlee Mitchell finished ninth (2:40.56) in the first heat of the 800-meter run in representing the Mustangs.

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