Unofficial or not, it was a positive outcome for South Pasadena High track and field athletes.
Unsanctioned by the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF), a collection of the best in the sport gathered in Arcadia last week to showcase their talents.
“It was kind of an invite state meet,” explained C.B. Richards, South Pasadena’s coach of what became this year’s version of the California State Championship or the best that could be done in face of the pandemic. “It was more of an invitational.”
Top track and field athletes from throughout the state came to Arcadia High to compete over two days last Friday and Saturday. “It was run just like a CIF meet,” explained Richards, “with the prelims held on Friday and the Finals on Saturday.”
After watching a large contingent of SPHS athletes compete, the Tigers coach summed up the experience saying, “It was pretty cool. We did really well overall, no state champs but a couple of guys who finished with medals.”
South Pasadena High shot putter, Nik Iwankiw, took home third place in the shot put and 7th overall in discus. Triple jumper Terrance Sweetman reached the finals and ended up 9th in overall.
Andrew Villapudua ran a career personal best of 9:07 3200 meters and finished 5th. A late addition, he was ranked 15th going into the competition. Lindsay Michels finished 7th in the girls’ 3200, a few seconds off her all-time best, clocking a 10:46. Andrew Parkinson finished 5th overall and medaled in the 1600, turning in a blazing 4:18.
South Pasadena’s 4×800 meter relay, including Patrick Latting, Andrew Villapudua, Brady Nakamura and Andrew Parkinson, came home with the second place silver medal.
The Tigers’ girls 4×100, which included three freshman and one sophomore, turned in the 3rd fastest time of the year for a South Pasadena unit as it competed against teams with much more experience.
Richards said Ferrel Mansano in the 200m, Noah Lieder in the shot put, and Lyla Keller in the girls’ long jump all represented South Pasadena well.
The Tigers had the honor of the most athletes invited to the competition with 11 entries (nine individual and 2 relay teams), bringing 15 athletes to Arcadia.
“I’m super proud,” praised Richards of all those who competed for SPHS. “With COVID, we basically lost a year of competition, so we’re trying to maximize every opportunity they can to compete, even if it’s a month after some of our athletes graduated. They’re like a sponge squeezing out every opportunity they can. We’ve taken part in every possible meet with a chance to keep the season going.”
On Wednesday, June 30 a relay team and one individual representing South Pasadena High flew from Burbank to Eugene, Oregon to compete in the High School USA Championships. The Tigers’ 4xmile team of seniors Villapudua, Parkinson, Latting and junior Nakamura will represent South Pas at the national meet. Senior Lindsay Michels will compete in the girls’ in 3200m. For the seniors, it will mark their final high school meet.
“Many of our athletes have been working hard all season, and I am happy that they were, and for some, still able to compete one more time this year,” said South Pasadena High Athletic Director Anthony Chan. “There were a lot of great performances at the state competition and I’m excited for what our alumni will do next, and how our returners will grow in the off-season.”