Season Preview: Track team showcases talent for the coming season

Staff Writer
Photo by Thomas Forman
The track team is looking to maintain its strong Rio Hondo reputation in the upcoming season. The boys’ varsity squad has won the league title for three straight seasons while the girls have earned the title for five years running. Last season, the Tigers sent 34 athletes to CIF, many of which garnered individual CIF championships. However, the team is faced with the challenge of upholding South Pas’ strong performances as the Tigers lost several significant seniors last year.

South Pas is looking to younger athletes such as freshman Christina Taylor and sophomore Cayley Whitman to help carry the team’s success. Returners including seniors Alexis Mora, Rebecca Liston, and Esteban Suarez and junior Kate Kutzer are expected to lead the sprinters and jumpers in the 2016 season. Seniors Emily Ye, Maaike Wielenga, and Maia Thomas, as well as junior Kieran Press-Reynolds, are slated to give many more impressive performances for the distance team.

“I don’t doubt that we’ll win league for the fourth year in a row. However, the real challenge will be CIF,” Suarez said.

Since 2007, coach CB Richards has steered the track program towards the utmost success. Entering his tenth year as the South Pasadena coach, Richards is confident that this year will bring similar, if better results of excellence in the past decade.

“We don’t know any other way except for the high success we’ve had year in and year out. We focus on a strong work ethic and team chemistry, grouped with our athletes’ natural talent, to be a blueprint for strong achievements both on and off the track,” Richards said. “Track and field is a great team sport coupled with an individual aspect to bring out the best athletes SPHS has to offer.”

Though many athletes are recently beginning to train with track because of their winter season sports, a large portion of the program including sprinters and jumpers began practicing since early winter. Additionally, many of the distance runners run cross country and have been training year-round, leading to their consistently strong performances. South Pas is hopeful that these strenuous preparations will give the Tigers an edge over other teams.

The Tigers are carrying their confidence into the 2016 season, undeterred by the presented challenges at hand. South Pas earned a solid victory in its first dual meet against Alhambra on Thursday, March 3 to start the season strings. Boys varsity won 101-26 while girls varsity beat the Moors 87-40. The meet featured several strong performances from many athletes, including Taylor and senior Amador Lagunas. The Tigers’ next competition is away at Oaks Christian on Saturday, March 5.