Area runners shine at Mt. SAC

WALNUT — The list of impressive local results were stacked pretty high thanks to several standout efforts during the two-day long 64th annual Mt. San Antonio College Cross-Country Invitational.

It’s hard to argue any result was more impressive than what La Salle High’s Daniel De La Torre mustered, as the junior won his Division IV red race Friday afternoon with the local-best mark of 15 minutes, 35 seconds.

“After the first mile, I looked behind me and noticed that no one was behind me,” said De La Torre, who earned the coveted tin bell given only to a race winner. “I just tackled the hills, made up lost energy on the down hills and then just stride and cruised.”

De La Torre hit the mid-point crossovers at a mark of 7:55 before nearing the final 800 meters at 13 minutes even and the final 300 meters at 14:40.

As a team, La Salle finished ninth with a time of 1:29:41, while the Lancers’ second runner, sophomore Peter Siberell (17:46), finished 35th.

San Marino ultimately proved the better team in that race, as the Titans took second in 1:25:25 behind race winner Berkley St. Mary’s (1:25:13).

As expected, senior Alex “Peaky” Yuter led the charge, taking fourth (16:13) and was followed by scoring teammates Andrew Jack (13th, 16:56), Robert Moreton (16th, 17:10), Kenneth Lee (28th, 17:32) and Yuv Wickramasinghe (33rd, 17:34).

“I’m pretty happy with this race. I screwed it up and came out 4:52 [through the first mile],” Yuter said. “But, we were pretty strong as a team and that’s what matters.”

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

As expected, Tologs' senior Stephanie Vargas paced her squad by taking fourth overall in 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 (race midway point) and eventually finished with two in the top 10, as sophomore Maddie Peterson was 10th (20:39).

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

The most impressive girls’ team result may have come from surging Mayfield, which finished third in the Division IV girls sweepstakes with a local-best mark of 1:38.00.

The Cubs placed four runners in the top 20, paced by junior Christina Cordano, who was eighth (18:59).

“It was so difficult. There were just times I wanted to sit down and stop,” Cordano said. “But I didn’t stop because of motivation. I think about this team and how hard we work and I couldn’t stop.”

Teammates Alyssa Rivas (16th, 19:21), Karina Alvarez (18th, 19:23) and Coley Mozillo (19th, 19:30) also crossed quickly while Mary Najarian (47th, 20:47) wasn’t too far behind.

South Pasadena showcased well in the Division III girls’ sweepstakes, taking fifth overall with a team time of 1:39:40.

Sophomore Helena Van Loan proved the catalyst in leading a group that included scorers Cece Zhu (21st, 19:43), Anika Renken (24th, 19:48), Kaylee Anderson (30th, 19:58) and Jessica Hitchcock (55th, 21:19).

“It was hot and it was really hard out there,” said Van Loan, who finished seventh with an area-best mark of 18:52. “The toughest is totally the hills and trying to maintain your pace.”

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

The Rebels' scoring five all placed in the top 30, with an impressive gap of just 32 seconds, but that 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.

The South Pasadena boys also took part in the Division III sweepstakes and were 10th with three top-50 placers in Alexander Tranquada (22nd, 15:55), Joshua Wilson (24th, 15:57) and Paul Messana (36th, 16:12).

The Pasadena Poly girls took sixth (1:46:47) and the boys merited ninth (1:27:23) in their respective Division V sweepstakes races.

Sophomore Evan Gancedo earned 10th (19:03) as the Panthers’ highest girls' runner, while junior Michael Caughron was also 10th in 16:10.

Maranatha’s Kyle Bueckert continued a strong individual season by finishing 10th (16:00) in the boys’ Division IV sweepstakes.

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.

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