Burroughs boys' track team captures first league title in 17 years

Burroughs boys' track team captures first league title in 17 years
(Raul Roa Staff Photographer)

A long standing league championship drought was going to be snapped Wednesday.

The Burroughs High and Burbank boys' track and field teams entered the final dual meet of the season tied and undefeated in the Pacific League. With both teams vying for their first crown in the Pacific League, the Indians were looking for their first title in 17 years, while the Bulldogs hadn't notched a championship in 29 years. Both of those titles came in the Foothill League.


Behind outstanding performances by Matt Schwartz and Corwin Scherer, Burroughs was the team which was able to finally end the drought, besting Burbank, 79-57, at Memorial Field.

The Indians (7-0 in league) secured their first title since 1997, which was under co-coaches Mike Krose and John Peebles, the current Burroughs coach.


On the girls' side, it was Burbank which was able to walk away with a 91-45 victory against its rival, securing third place in league.

"Both teams came out and competed and that's what it's all about," Peebles said. "There were also tons of [personal records] set today and that was nice to see as well.

"Really, a solid effort across the board for the boys' team. We asked some kids to do events they don't normally do and we had some very good efforts."

Both teams were without their top sprinters for the meet. Burbank junior James Williams was out of state attending the funeral of his grandmother. Williams would have competed in the sprints and jumping events. Burroughs was without sophomore Niko Guerrero, who was sidelined with a leg injury. The Bulldogs were further hampered when Josh Cantong was hobbled in the opening event, the 4x4100-meter relay and didn't compete the rest of the day.


"Not having James was a big loss for us," said Burbank Coach Darin Wolf, who was on the Burroughs team the last time the Bulldogs won a league title in 1985. "He is our team's leading scorer."

To try and make up for the lost points, Peebles shuffled his lineup, and his athletes came through.

Leading the way was Schwartz, who won three events and placed second in a fourth. Along with taking the pole vault with an effort of 15 feet, he was also first in the high jump (5-10) and the long jump (20-0) and set a new PR with a runner-up effort in the shot put (40-9).

"Schwartz getting second in the shot was huge," said Wolf, who expected a Burbank sweep in the event.

Scherer did his part as well, taking the 100 meters (11.46 seconds), the 110 hurdles (15.34), the 300 hurdles (40.19) and running a leg on Burroughs' winning 4x100 relay team (43.74).

"We knew how big this meet was for sure," Scherer said. "Not having won a league title in 17 years and having a chance to do that was a big motivation for us. We knew we all had to do our part if we wanted to win this."

The Indians also received a fine effort from Robert Brennan, who took the 200 (22.86) and the 400 (50.29). Burroughs also got first-place efforts from Ricky Mendez in the 1,600 (4:29.12) and Shane Thompson in the 3,200 (9:34.1). The Indians also took the 4x400 relay (3:30.28.)

The Bulldogs (6-1) had four individual winners in Arsen Mkrtchyan in the 800 (2:00.87), Noah Powell in the triple jump (41-2), Andy Hurtado in the shot put (43-2 1/2) and Chris Miranda in the discus (122-0). Hurtado, the two-time defending champion and school record holder in the discus, faulted on his three attempts.


On the girls' side, it was a freshman who paved the way to the win for Burbank (5-2). Kira Bochard made an impact in her first cross-town rivalry meet, winning the 400 (1:01.79), the 300 hurdles (48.85) and running a leg on the Bulldogs' winning 4x400 relay team.

Bochard, an all-league soccer player, said she felt some nerves before beginning her events.

"It was exciting, but I was a bit nervous being a freshman and running in my first Burbank-Burroughs meet," she said. "It just motivated me because it was a big meet against Burroughs."

Burbank also had a double winner in Candela Fernandez, who took the 1,600 (5:09.70) and the 3,200 (11:39).

Burroughs (4-3) had two athletes win two events, as Sarah Prystupa had a PR in the pole vault (10-0) and took the long jump (15-5) and Ashley Sapone took the shot put (31-8) and the discus (88-7).


Follow Jeff Tully on Twitter: @jefftsports.