“Don’t think, just run.” On Friday, April sixth, 2018, head track coach Jay Avenmarg gave his last few words before San Lorenzo Valley’s women’s 4×800 team filed into the waiting tent to begin the very first track event of the 51st Annual Arcadia Invitational; the most significant high school outdoor meet in the United States, as well as the biggest sporting event in the entire nation of high schools hosted on a high school campus. The girls were shaking with nerves, tapping their collar bones to relieve stress, and pacing back and forth, only to begin the string of outstanding events that would take place for the remainder of the weekend.
Friday was a day filled with grit and courage for San Lorenzo Valley. Runners Azalea Groleau, Kayla Penny, Audrey Parmenter, and Tianna Bumbaca-Kuehl ran the women’s 4×800 in a time of 9:59.97, each girl running roughly within a range of about 2:28 to 2:33, minus the time added by the commenced handoffs. The girls were able to evenly push through their start of the race, as Groleau was the first leg, and was continuously jostled and pushed around by other aggressive athletes, but the SLV young ladies were not at all afraid to push back. As for the boys, the only male runner from SLV was junior Christopher Anderson, who robustly ran a 9:27.72 in the men’s 3200 meter race, just a few close seconds off his personal best time. Although not at the Arcadia Invite on Friday, SLV junior girl Camryn Crouch ran an astonishing new personal record in the 400 meter dash at the South Pasadena Tiger Invitational, coming in second overall, with a blazing time of 57.41 seconds (Crouch entered the race with a seed time of 58.78 seconds).
Even more jam-packed with excitement than Friday was Saturday at the Arcadia Invite. To start off the day for San Lorenzo Valley, Maya McCabe and Samantha Brackett as well as Bumbaca-Kuehl and Crouch unexpectedly ran the women’s 4×100, actually running a new best time of 50.50 seconds. Both McCabe and Crouch were seeded into the women’s 400 heats, showing the fire power that the girls team has behind them. McCabe ran a speedy time of 58.35 seconds, and Crouch ran a 58.17. Crouch, as also unexpected, was surprisingly, but graciously, put into the 400 after running it at the Tiger Invite in South Pasadena. Both girls finished third in their individual heats. The last race run by San Lorenzo Valley was the women’s 4×400, an extraordinarily exciting, intimidating, and competitive relay race to watch. Making up the team was McCabe, Bumbaca-Kuehl, Parmenter, and Crouch, who altogether ran an impressive time of 4:03.33. The girls actually started the race far ahead in first, but battled their way through as other competing teams came after them, and the SLV girls still finished incredibly strong overall.
The team walked away from the Arcadia Invitational with plenty of (some unexpected) successful outcomes. As a whole, the athletes were proud of the payoff from their hard work and are already looking forward to next year’s meet.
Photo by Kristi Anderson
by Kayla Penny