Ten athletes from the La Cañada girls’ track team competed in the High School National Championship at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field, the home of the Olympic Trials and the U.S. National Championships.
The La Cañada girls captured national championships in both the 4×200 and 4×800 in the Emerging Elite Division. In the 4×200, the team was in third place after strong runs from Kaitlin Creighton, Sarina Parks and Grace Paton, before Brittany Rivas roared to a fantastic anchor leg for a dramatic come-from-behind victory.
Rivas then led off the winning 4×800, which was in control for the entire race after a great legs by Halo Ball and Yasmin Ghaneh before Charlotte Hopkins closed out the comfortable victory with the fastest final split in the entire event. Ball, Ghaneh, Hopkins and Creighton also united to place fourth in the Emerging Elite Division 4×400. (The Emerging Elite Division is generally reserved for underclassman in individual events and smaller schools in relay events.)
The team also competed in the Championship Division (the higher of the meet’s two divisions) in the Distance Medley Relay (DMR) and the 4×400. The foursome of Katelyn Matarese, Katie McGuinness, Brittany Rivas and Sarina Parks took third in the 4×400 while Matarese and McGuiness teamed with Hopkins and DeBrouwer to finish fourth in the nation in the DMR.
Individually, Maya DeBrouwer placed ninth in the Championship Division two-mile while Katelyn Matarese finished 24th in the Championship 800. Rivas added a fourth medal to her team-leading haul, placing fifth in the Emerging Elite 400 hurdles.
The team totaled 21 medals at the meet, which Coach Chris Matarese said was “more than any other girls team in the country.” He was “especially pleased that every La Cañada athlete took home at least one medal, and that a small public school in La Cañada outperformed top private schools that often recruit talent as well as some of the largest public schools in the country.”
Matarese, McGuiness, Rivas, Parks, Hopkins and DeBrouwer all earned coveted High School All-America honors for their outstanding performances. The team returns nine of its 10 national competitors, including all six All-Americans, though Coach Matarese said that “while we will be returning essentially everyone next year, including many top athletes that didn’t make the National Championship Meet, the team will sorely miss Grace Paton, who was a key leader and the real heart of the team.”
First published in the June 29 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.