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Column: Loyola’s Shane Bissell to play his part at Arcadia Invitational

Loyola’s Shane Bissell, who had a small role in the 2012 film “The Hunger Games,” will be competing at the Arcadia Invitational.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

It’s pretty certain that the only participant in this weekend’s Arcadia Invitational who had a role in the 2012 movie “The Hunger Games” will be Shane Bissell of Loyola High.

His film appearance, courtesy of his father, Robin, the executive producer, lasted about seven seconds but he did appear in the closing credits as the “Birthday Boy.”

“They’ve heard about it a million times,’’ Bissell said of classmates touting his claim to fame on the big screen.

There was a lot of running for your life in the series, and Bissell would have been good with that because running is the sports skill he cherishes most.

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“Running has been my thing,” said Bissell, who won the Southern Section Division I cross-country championship in the fall.

Now he’ll be seeing what he can accomplish this spring in the 3,200 meters starting with an appearance in the rated section of Friday’s portion of the always competitive Arcadia Invitational, which brings together top track and field competitors from around California and across the country before a sold-out crowd at Arcadia High.

“It’s a real competitive environment, super exciting, super nervous because everyone there is either as good or better than you,” said Bissell, who will go to Cal.

Bissell is part of a great distance running tradition at Loyola thanks to the tutelage of veteran coach Lalo Diaz. Loyola has another distance standout in sophomore Anthony Stone.

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The best competitors will be racing in Saturday’s invitational portion. Last year, 25 runners broke nine minutes in the 3,200. City Section and state Division I cross-country champion Justin Hazell of El Camino Real will test himself against the best.

Arcadia is the event where former Vista Murrieta 400-meter runner Michael Norman would put on a show. He has since become the world indoor record holder at USC. Field events begin at 4 p.m. on Saturday and the first running event is at 5:25 p.m. Running events start at 4:30 p.m. on Friday.

The atmosphere helps produce top performances, from the crowd chanting to athletes being motivated to show their ability.

Among the top individual performers should be sprinter Asani Hampton of Yucaipa. He leads the state in the 100 meters with a time of 10.53. Christian Shakir-Ricks of Murrieta Mesa has run 10.57.

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In the girls’ sprints, competition should come from among Ariyonna Augustine of Long Beach Poly, Jazmyne Frost of Gardena Serra, Deanna Nowling of Calabasas and Tierra Crockrell of Calabasas.

Bissell is one of those teenagers who has learned to deal with the pain of running, trying to finish when the body is aching. It takes great mental concentration and physical abilities. Running 11 miles in a workout provides preparation for the real race.

“Those help me deal with the pain,” he said. “I take my mind off the pain in my body.”

Who knows when Bissell might appear again in another movie, but it’s pretty cool to have a credit in a film that made $694.4 million. Even cooler, though, would be doing well in the 51st Arcadia Invitational.

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eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

Twitter: @latsondheimer


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