La Cañada in South Bay Invitational: La Cañada High boys' swimming Coach Art Lopez didn't know how much missing Bo Mattix would impact his team early in the season.
Lopez expected to have Mattix back for the South Bay Invitational at Mira Costa High Friday, but Mattix was unable to compete with the Spartans with his Olympic trials taking place this weekend.
"We had to reshuffle and shift and I still thought we would have a strong finish, but missing Bo left a big hole because we had to mix up our relays," Lopez said.
Garrett Chin and Brandon Nguyen helped fill the void as they combined for five first-place finishes for La Cañada, which took first place overall on the boys side with 394 points and sixth in the girls with 185.
It was a blowout win for the Spartans as Peninsula took second with 301 points. It's the second year in a row La Cañada has won the tournament, which was called the Beverly Hills Invitational last year.
"This has been a meet that we had gone to seven years in a row and had usually won outside of two years ago," Lopez said. "We won last year so we are back on track winning this meet. Those are some good solid teams out there and this will get us on track moving into spring break and [Rio Hondo] League."
The most exciting finish of the night came in the last race, the 400-yard freestyle relay, which Chin, Nguyen, Symeon Stefan and Peter Loakes swam.
The Spartans trailed by about two-and-a-half seconds 200 yards in, but Chin brought the group about even in his leg, which allowed Nguyen to pull away as the anchor and take first place in 3 minutes 20.59 seconds.
"That was an exciting race, I got out of my seat for the first time in a long time," Lopez said. "We were down after the first two and then Garrett just went full out, caught us back up and Brandon broke away and finished strong."
The same relay group won the 200 medley relay in 1:41.44.
Nguyen also took the 200 individual medley and the 100 breaststroke with times of 1:55.49 and 1:00.16, respectively. Chin was just behind Nguyen in the IM in 1:55.78 for second place before winning the 100 backstroke in 54.11.
The Spartans also received strong showings from Loakes and Bell in the 50 and 500 free, respectively. Loakes; time of 22.88 was good for second in the 50, as was Bell's time of 4:46.32 in the 500.
La Cañada's girls took sixth, while Palos Verdes won it with 354 points, and got four first-place finishes — two each from Sarah Olson and Katy Campbell.
Campbell won the 200 and 500 freestyles with times of 1:54.73 and 4:58.14, respectively, and Olson won the 50 free (24.61) and 100 free (53.44).
The pair guided the 200 freestyle relay team to a third-place finish, 1:46.73.
Samantha Campbell, Katy's sister, also took second in the 100 backstroke (1:04.62).
La Cañada 184, Monrovia 248: Joshua Suh led the way in Thursday's Rio Hondo League match, shooting a three-under-par 31 at the La Cañada Country Club. Colin Morikawa wasn't far behind with a 32, while Noah Bernstein carded a 38 and Colin Kreditor a 40.
St. Francis 17, Crespi 1: John Kazanjian of visiting St. Francis swept his three sets without losing a game Thursday in a Mission League match at Braemar Country Club. St. Francis (5-5, 3-2 in league) also got a 6-0, 6-0, 6-2 win in singles from Alex Kevakian.
South Pasadena 3, La Cañada 0: The Spartans (3-10, 0-3 in Rio Hondo League) are still searching for their first league win after falling on the road, 25-16, 25-13, 25-17.
South Pasadena 6, La Cañada 4: La Cañada was on the wrong end of another close one as the Spartans fell to 7-7, 0-4 in the Rio Hondo League, at home Thursday.
Three of the Spartans league losses have been decided by two runs or less.
Corona 12-7, St. Francis 3-2: The host Golden Knights (5-8) were swept in a nonleague doubleheader at Jackie Robinson Field on Wednesday. Jeff Garavaglia hit a home run in the first game for St. Francis.