The 57th annual Mt. SAC Relays came to a close at 11:09 p.m. Saturday night, marking the end of an era. This year was the last year that these famous relays will be held at Hilmer Lodge Stadium on the Mt. San Antonio College Campus due to upcoming major renovations to the stadium. But it went out with a bang, with many strong performances and a broken record.
Arguably the premier annual track and field event in the nation, the Mt. SAC Relays at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, California give fans a chance to watch the world’s most elite athletes not only of today (U.S. superstar Alyson Felix is set to compete), but also of the future. Several high school stars impressed during Friday’s events under the bright lights of Mt. SAC.
It’s not often you can see a top five high school lacrosse team and top five high school volleyball team play on the same day, let alone on the same campus. But yesterday was not a typical day at Loyola High School.
For high school track and field enthusiasts, it doesn’t get much better than the Arcadia Invitational. Billed as “The Home of National Records,” the annual showcase attracts the top track and field student-athletes in the country, and even the world.
But while this year’s event hosted participants from as far away as New Zealand, some of the weekend’s best performances came courtesy of student-athletes who attend school in our very own archdiocese.
Currently the nation’s top-ranked team, JSerra already had the complete attention of the high school baseball world. But in a season already filled with outstanding performances, JSerra’s four-day domination of its Boras Classic competitors by a combined score of 24-1 was its most head-turning display yet.
Take two of Cathedral vs. La Salle got off to a good start for the visiting Phantoms, as sophomore catcher Omar Veloz scored on a sharp single by senior second baseman Jason Pacheco. But in the home half of the inning, the Lancers looked determined to even things back up, and ensured that they did so with a furious rally. The surge began with senior right fielder Cameron Henderson scoring sophomore catcher Sammy Martinez on a single into left field, followed by junior cleanup hitter Kyle Cuellar smacking a double into deep center field to bring in Henderson and senior third baseman Ruben Martinez.
Bishop Alemany dominates the rematch by a score of 6-1. Starting pitcher Brandon Ponticelli had a stellar outing, pitching 6 1/3 innings and allowing only one earned run and five hits while striking out six.
Facing a 4-3 deficit in the bottom of the 7th inning, the Bishop Alemany Warriors generated an impressive rally that culminated in a walk-off hit to give them the 5-4 victory.
Much is at stake whenever Loyola and Mira Costa square off, not only because both schools are perennial volleyball powerhouses, but also because several Loyola players traditionally hail from Manhattan Beach and other parts of the South Bay. This results in a showdown featuring young men who are friends and former teammates with many players standing on the other side of the net, and a building filled with fans who can’t wait to see the action unfold.
According to Damien head coach Matt Dunn, his team’s focus in practice was “... to control [the Phantoms’] penetration, try to challenge them and make them a jump shooting team.”
Mission accomplished. Of Cathedral’s 64 total field goal attempts, 40 were three-pointers and several others were long jump shots.
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