By Austin Green
Less than a week after they finally got approval from Los Angeles County to do so, and following a hectic few days of planning, event organizer C.B. Richards hosted the 75th Pasadena Games on April 24.
Richards, the meet master, presided over a festive, normal-like atmosphere — complete with a socially distanced DJ — that welcomed athletes, coaches and fans from over 20 schools to South Pasadena High School’s campus with safety protocols in place. As the cherry on top of a successful competition, Richards’ Tigers easily topped the boys’ and girls’ team leaderboards at the end of the meet.
“People wanted a chance to get out and see their kids run and do activity again normally,” Richards said of the strong turnout. “For me, it was really cool to offer that after basically almost two years of no invitationals for these kids.”
SPHS won the boys’ side with a score of 117 and the girls’ side with a score of 96.5. Studio City Harvard-Westlake came in second in both areas, with point totals of 65 and 73.5, respectively. La Canada took third on the boys’ side with 51 points and Redondo Union took third on the girls’ side with 57 points.
Several local high schools — including Maranatha, Mayfield, St. Francis and Flintridge Prep — were among the competitors.
None of those teams were at full strength. Flintridge Prep only brought three freshmen boys to compete in the 1600-meter. Mayfield was missing a couple of its best runners while St. Francis could have some multisport athletes skip the track season entirely due to the pandemic-shortened break between the end of the football season and the start of spring workouts. Maranatha, meanwhile, was missing several top runners because they had already bought tickets to the school’s previously scheduled prom night, per Minutemen head coach Lee Noble.
Maranatha came in 16th out of 19 on the boys’ side and 17th out of 23 on the girls’ side. St. Francis came in 13th on the boys’ side while Mayfield came in 7th on the girls’. Flintridge Prep did not qualify for a leaderboard spot.
Still, Maranatha got solid performances out of Janaya Wade, who had top-15 finishes in both the 100-meter and 200-meter (13.59 and 28.37 times, respectively) and Rebecca Demonteverde, who finished 12th just behind Wade in the 200-meter (28.39). Demonteverde also finished 5th in the 400-meter with a 1:02.52 time, and teammate Shani Camaja finished 10th in that race with a personal best 1:08.76 time. Isabella Lieberg finished 4th on the shot put with a distance of 26 feet, 10 inches.
On the boys’ side, Reid Pullens finished 6th in the 200-meter (23.10) while Jonathan Ning finished 5th in the 800-meter with a personal record of 2:08.57. Teammate Caleb Tu finished 24th in the 800 with a 2:33.00 time. Ning also finished the 1600- meter with a 4:56.35 time.
Mayfield only had 12 girls compete, but head coach Marisa Sanchez was proud of they performed. The Cubs got four top-10 finishes in the 800-meter highlighted by Cecilia Kvochak’s win in the event with a personal record 2:32.27 time. She was joined by teammates Jayde Lim (6th, 2:45.17), Natalie Mera (8th, 2:48.84) and younger sister Clare Kvochak (10th, 2:50.12). The Kvochak sisters also had impressive showings in the 1600-meter. Cecilia came in third at 5:35.87 and Clare came in 14th at 6:18.66. The Kvochak sisters, along with Mera and Lim, also combined for a 4:41.38 finish and third place in the 4×400 relay.
“Cecilia and Clare tripled (events) and marked amazing times,” Sanchez said, “So I think that says a lot about our training as well.”
Freshman Erica Ramos also had a big day for Mayfield, leading her team in the 100-meter (34th, 14.98) and setting another personal record in the triple jump (29 feet, one inch).
“Without our top girls, we were still placing seventh,” Sanchez said. “I think that says a lot about, even though we are small in size, we have amazing depth and amazing talent.”
St. Francis got three top 10 finishes from Dario Rock, who took 8th in the 100-meter with a personal-best 11.35 time, second in the 110-meter hurdles (14.94) and third in the long jump (20 feet, 11.5 inches).
“Dario is really a hard worker,” St. Francis head coach Mike Russell said. “I just like his attitude towards what he’s supposed to be doing and what he is doing. I’m very happy with him.”
Andrew Howard finished sixth in the 100-meter with a 11.29 time. Baylor Buchanan and Cole Seley finished 14th and 17th in the 400-meter with 53.87 and 55.93 times, respectively.
Flintridge Prep’s three freshmen boys only competed in the 1600-meter. Evan Guyer finished 41st at 5.35.85, Nicolas Stanton finished 43rd at 5:44.27 and Max Goodman finished 45th at 5:48.96.
Harvard-Westlake junior Adrienne Usher, a Pasadena resident, won medals in each of her four events. She finished first in the high jump, 100 meters and sprint medley, and was third in the long jump.