By Leonard COUTIN
On Thursday, the Falcons hosted their last dual meet of the season before the Pacific League prelims on Friday.
“We always know that the Arcadia meet will be a tough one,” said Falcons Head Coach Mark Evans. “They always seem to bring the best out in us and they run great races against our team. We just try to compete well.”
Traditionally, the Apaches come to the track with strong boys and girls teams and are considered to be one of the League’s powerhouses in all sports. Head Coach Christopher Schultz had worked hard to develop the Apaches’ strong track program these last several years. The Arcadia track program boasts more than two hundred athletes.
The last four years have been particularly strong for the Apaches in distance running. As five-time CIF champions, Arcadia’s team is rated as one of the best in the state. This is due in no small part to Apache star senior runner Phillip Rocha. He has proven himself repeatedly as a valuable member of the team since he was a freshman, earning both individual CIF and state championship medals all four years, and he continues to inspire his teammates.
On Thursday the Falcon boys were determined to give the Apaches some strong competition. But Rocha, who can run multiple races including the 800, 1600 and 3200, surprised spectators when he anchored the 4×400 relay to a remarkable win, running a team time of 3:28.42 to the Falcons’ time of 3:29.70. Rocha won both the 800m (1:58.56) and the 1600m (4:27.80) against the Falcon distance pair of Kyle Dickerson and Colin FitzGerald. FitzGerald paced alongside Rocha, but it was evident that Rocha was too strong. Sophomore FitzGerald took second in the 1600m running 4:28.51 and later came back to overpower the Apaches, winning the 3200m in 9:56.6. Apache teammates Ravi Sharma captured second (10:01.7) in the 3200m and teammate Austin Che placed third (10:24.4). Falcon distance strength came from Dickinson, who placed second in the 800m behind Rocha with a time of 2:00.03, and teammate Armin Cardenas placed third (2:01.85). The Apache boys also took the win in the 4×100 with a time of 44.99 over the Falcons’ 45.23.
Coach Evans was particularly pleased by the effort of senior sprinter Hye Kwang Kim, who took two gold wins, one in the 100m (11.38) and the other in the 200m (23.35).
“Hye Kwang Kim had two very good races,” said Evans. “He rose to the level of competition and had two of his best races of the season. This was great to see as we head into league prelims and finals.”
Falcon junior Nick Tralongo grabbed third in the 100m running 11.66. CV’s Shawn Grinnell racked up additional points when he raced to a win in the 400m running a PR time of 52.26. Apache Griffin Howard placed second (52.66) and Nicolas Weller took third (53.81).
CV hurdler Kenny Kang took second in the 110HH (15.65) behind Arcadia’s Joshua Kelly (15.45), but came back to win the 300IH (40:28). Falcon teammate Shawn Grinnell ran 42.31 to take third.
John Lapides has had a very successful year high jumping for the Falcons and his win (5-10) put valuable points on the charts for the team. Teammate Hratch Abrahamian took second (5-6) while the Apaches placed third. CV’s Shea Bautista won the pole vault (12-00) with teammate Aidan Foote jumping 11-06 to take third. Arcadia’s Harrison Kong placed second at 11-6.
Arthur Akopyan is another valuable asset to the Falcon team winning the shot put with a throw of 44-2, but unfortunately, Akopyan could not get off a good throw in the discus and fouled out.
Josh Kong placed second in the long jump with a jump of 19-5. Ethan Walch placed second in the triple jump (40-02) while the Apaches scored first and third places in the event. Another key Falcon runner, Philip Thomas, was out with a leg injury, which could have decreased the final point spread between the two teams.
A highlight of the day was the boys’ 4×400 relay race when every hand off could make a significant difference in the outcome of the race.
Coming to the last hand off, Arcadia had a few strides on the Falcons. Apache senior Rocha received the baton followed by Falcon Shawn Grinnell. Rocha managed to hold his lead right to the finish while Grinnell ran one of his best races of the season. Arcadia concluded the season with five wins two losses and the Falcon four wins and three losses.
Final boys’ score: Arcadia 72 vs. CV 64.
The Apache girls came into the meet with six wins out of the seven previous meets. Their outstanding strength from distances to sprints and field events marked them as one of the best well-rounded competitors in the Pacific League. Coach Michael Feraco-Eberle accomplished much this year with his cross-country runners, which have been the backbone of the team.
On Thursday, it was a tough competition for the Falcon girls. They were dominated on the field by the overwhelming strength of the Apache team. Grace McAuley, Liz Fillipian and Alsia Shinn were the only three Falcon athletes to win gold in their events. McAuley won the 3200m running a time of 12:08.6, Fillipian won the 100H (15.86) and Shinn threw a distance of 35-06 to win the shot put.
Brianna Domingo captured second in the 200m (27.88) and Jestena Galvan took in the 300IH 49.16. The following Falcons captured third in their contests: Clair Schlueter jumped a distance of 16-09, Kristina Carrillo in the 300IH (49.66), Hannah Weingarten in the 400 (1:10.45), Claire Codding in the high jump (4-6), and Allison Smith in the discus (77-06).
The Apache girl runners who took home gold in their events were sprinter Sarah Troescher in the 100m (12:30), Lauren Buchner in the 200m (24.86), Cindy Liang in the 800m (2:22.16), Courtney Chan in the 400m (1:00.98), Kyla Duy in the 300IH (48.11), Stephanie Yen in the high jump (4-8), the long jump (16-11), and the triple jump (35-07.50), Eryca Yamane in the 1600m (5:17.06) and Loreny Valdez in the discus (109-03). Apaches won both the 4×100 and the 4×400 relays as well.
Final girls’ score: Arcadia 98 vs. CV 38.