Now in his 25th year at The Tribune, Mitch Lehman is Editor and Sports Editor in addition to being the public address announcer for ten sports programs at San Marino High School. Mitch is one of only a handful in the community to receive the ‘Very Special Person Award’ from the San Marino PTA at the annual Founder’s Day ceremony, was acknowledged as a 'Terrific Titan' by the San Marino High School PTSA, was named an Honorary Paul Harris Fellow by the Rotary Club of San Marino and received a National Honorary Merit Badge in Journalism from the Boy Scouts of America. He has received two independent Pulitzer Prize nominations and in the past three years, Mitch has won seven awards and is a thirteen-time finalist in the California News Publishers Association's Better Newspapers Contest. In 2015, the press box at Titan Stadium was re-named 'Lehman's Loft' in his honor.
You can reach Mitch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The San Marino school board has been busy with the work of getting students back to school. Earlier this week, they took the first step in hopes of keeping all campuses open and avoiding dramatic employee cuts. At a special meeting Monday night, the board voted 5-0 to take another crack at passing Measure E, a $968 per parcel education tax, which will now go before voters at a June 29 special election. The parcel tax — which generates approximately $4.1 million per year — was defeated by voters on March 2 because it did narrowly missed receiving the required two-thirds majority.
He was born on opening day of a season the Los Angeles Dodgers ended up winning the World Series. More than a half-century later, he can still remember the section, row and number of his first seat in Dodger Stadium, so it shouldn’t come as a complete surprise that Mark Langill wound up as the club’s team historian. So with the 2021 season days away, Langill was recruited to virtually address the Rotary Club of San Marino last Thursday afternoon to get members in the mood for some baseball. He was introduced as the Dodgers’ “Answer Man,” and Langill had plenty of them, including this supposed response to a question posed by Rotarian Barbara Bice, who introduced Langill. “Don’t hit the ball very well in Little League and you will be well on your way,” Langill allegedly said when asked how he secured his job. Langill began his address by posing an explanation to America’s fascination with baseball and, specifically, Opening Day.
During his keynote address for the City Club’s March meeting, San Marino resident Dr. Steve Park provided an overview of his life which includes service as a United States Navy medical officer and career as a hospitalist. In retrospect, an argument could be made that the subject of memory retention would have also sufficed, as Park’s is apparently as sound as the proverbial steel trap. So is former San Marino educator Loren Kleinrock’s, Park’s former assistant principal during his days at San Marino High School and offensive coordinator for the Titan football team, for which Park was a record-setting wide receiver. In vivid detail, Park recalled Kleinrock busting him for going to a buddy’s house for lunch even though he was not yet a privileged senior. Kleinrock, meanwhile, recalled one time Park didn’t perfectly execute one of his pass patterns. That these transgressions took place almost 30 years ago was incidental and only seemed to heighten the mutual respect that exists between them to this day.
Barely a week old, San Marino’s new service to the public is also one of its most treasured. That’s according to Fire Chief Mario Rueda in explaining the SMFD’s mobile vaccination for homebound (age 65-and-older) population program, which is operated in cooperation with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
It may have taken place seven months after its intended date, but San Marino and Arcadia High schools faced off last week in their traditional season-opening girls’ tennis match. The Apaches defeated the Lady Titans by a final score of 13-5 in the non-league matchup between two teams who are regularly among the best in the entire state. San Marino’s doubles combinations of Selina Wu & Valerie Kuo, Elaine Wu & Anna Moller and Isabelle Kang & Katie Lui were able to score against Arcadia, with Selina Wu & Kuo and Elaine Wu & Moller winning two of their three matches. Kang & Lui were victorious in one match while taking a second to tiebreaker, accounting for the Lady Titans’ points. Selene Yung, Camdyn Wu and Mandy Rivera battled hard in singles play, but the Apaches prevailed. San Marino has an extended break in the schedule and doesn’t take to the court again until Tuesday, April 13, when the squad travels to La Cañada. The Lady Titans’ final remaining home match takes place on Tuesday, April 27, when South Pasadena visits at 3:30 p.m.
Isabelle Kang blasts a return during San Marino tennis action against Arcadia. Though the Lady Titans fell short, Kang and doubles partner Katie Lui played well.
Los Angeles County never advanced to a tier that would allow for indoor assembly during the abbreviated and recently completed high school girls’ volleyball season. But San Marino High School head coach Angel Ramirez is thankful that there is a vibrant outdoor version of the sport which allowed for at least a modicum of participation. David Irie, the school’s director of athletics, helped assemble what was known as the San Gabriel Valley Grass Volleyball League, allowing for the Titans to experience some bumping, setting and spiking, even though schools were closed during the pandemic.
“I am really thankful that we had a something available where we could develop some team chemistry and try out some rotations,” said Ramirez. “After seeing our talent, I thought we had the potential to do some pretty good things. We have been working really hard since August and had a lot of anticipation.” The Titans will graduate three seniors — Erin Hill, Kira Glasse and Leela Anvekar — who were sophomores on the 2018-19 school year squad that won SMHS’ first Rio Hondo League championship in 28 years, but Ramirez likes what he will have coming back in the fall. Marlene Ketelaar, who will be entering her senior year in August, is an experienced setter and will have hitting options in classmates Conner Sund and Gabriela Salim. Junior Amanda Redding has shown potential at middle blocker and libero Heidi Doerges has a toolbox of skills. San Marino won its final tournament game of the season and hopes to carry that momentum into the the next year. “I am looking forward to the [fall] season,” Ramirez said. “We did everything on the fly this year but, overall, it was a good experience.”
One of the possible benefits of a spring cross-country season is the weather. With the final meets of the season taking place in late March due to the pandemic rather than early November as is typical, participants were hoping for a warm sunny day for the Rio Hondo League cross country finals last Thursday afternoon at Pasadena’s Hahamongna Watershed Park. San Marino head coach Angus Leung might consider a permanent change to the chilly climes as his Titans recorded their best results in a half-decade, finishing second in the girls’ race and third in the boys’ race. Individually, San Marino senior Peyton Talt finished fourth overall in the girls’ race with a time of 20:12 over the three-mile course. Sophomore Thai Villaluna paced the boys, breaking the tape in 17:45 to end up in ninth place. Following Talt were junior Anya Tang (21:20, 10th place), senior Avery Page (24:03, 21st), senior Lily Tong (25:30, 25th), sophomore Megan Linden (31:15, 31st) and sophomore Emma Page (31:34, 32nd). Leung was especially impressed with the performances of Linden and Page, who were making their first appearances in the league finals. “Megan and Avery volunteered to run for us so we would have enough participants to score in the meet,” said Leung. “I give them a lot of credit.” Leung also praised Talt, a senior captain, who organized socially distanced, players-only practice sessions to stay in shape during quarantine.
More than a year after they abruptly closed due to concerns about COVID-19, San Marino’s public schools can once again be considered “open for business,” effective Thursday, April 1. “I am very excited for our students,” said school board president Shelley Ryan, herself an educator. “Whether you are in kindergarten, second grade or high school, this is very good news. This has been an exhausting year.” Students in grades TK — transitional kindergarten — through 5th grade already began in- person learning at Valentine and Carver elementary schools in late February and early March, but Thursday will mark a significant return to the district’s campuses.
San Marino’s Grace Navarro has advanced to the semifinal round of the Los Angeles Music Center’s annual Spotlight program, thus remaining in contention for more than $100,000 in scholarships. Navarro, a junior at Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA), is majoring in classical voice in the school’s opera company and vocal department. She attended Valentine Elementary and Huntington Middle schools before spending a year at Maranatha, then it was on to LACHSA. “This is an incredibly unique school and it has given me so many opportunities,” said Navarro. “I love all of my peers, friends and teachers at LACHSA because we are like-minded people and inspire one another to strive for citizen artistry. I really couldn’t ask for a better high school experience. By far, my favorite part about LACHSA is the confidence it instills in me. My teachers always encourage me to believe in what I am doing.” Navarro also studies piano, music theory and acting. After LACHSA, she plans on taking a gap year before applying to conservatory.
There is perhaps no more accurate indicator of the societal heath of San Marino than the condition of its Little League. That institution received a spotless check-up at last Saturday morning’s annual Opening Day festivities. Though teams had been returning to practice sessions for several weeks, players donned uniforms and — in many cases — matching facemasks to celebrate the official return to the season. “It was great to have our kids back on the fields,” said Daisy Wilson, president of San Marino National Little League, noting that more than 300 kids played their first games on Saturday. “It is so nice to finally be surrounded by some normalcy as we hopefully get back to reality.” Until further notice, spectators must be from a player’s immediate family, remain socially distanced, and are not allowed to sit in the grandstands.