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Photo by Mitch Lehman / TRIBUNE 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. Marlene KetelaarHeidi DoergesGabriela Salim “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…

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.

Photos courtesy San Marino National Little LeagueThe Red Angels and Team All Black pose for a joint team photo among the signage welcoming San Marino’s Little Leaguers back to action. Pictured above are (front row, from left) Keegan Vuong, Max Carpiac, Henry Kang, Jake Flores, Jamie Chung, Grant Walker, Emilio Carr, Herman Webb, Grant O’Mara and Jack Rome. Back: Will Martin, Fuming Yang, Dylan Harris, Dylan Lau, Chace Lee, Mason Hsieh, Vincent Hou, Luke Delgado and Nick Grossi. 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.

Photo courtesy Scott DavesJunior Seth Ruiz started the season on the mound for the Titans but Salesian High School of Los Angeles won the opener, 4-3, on Saturday. Junior Matthew Begerow banged out two hits but the San Marino High School varsity baseball team stranded 13 baserunners and dropped its opening contest of the Dave Moore Tournament, 4-3, to Salesian High School of Los Angeles last Saturday morning at McNamee Field.Owen Grannis, Cris Magallanes, Cider Canon and Jackson Herren also collected base hits for the Titans.Seth Ruiz started the game on the mound for San Marino and also knocked in a run at the plate but the Mustangs played tight defense to get the season-opening win.Juju Martinez, Michael Liquori and Grannis also pitched for the Titans, scattering six hits while striking out an impressive 12 batters.San Marino returns home this Saturday, March 27, when Los Angeles Cathedral High School comes calling at 1 p.m.

Photos courtesy Scott DavesSan Marino’s Cole Giles (72) motors downfield after recovering a fumble against Burbank Burroughs. The Titans have decided to cancel next Friday’s game against Monrovia and will play South Pasadena on April 2. “We have been waiting six months for football to return,” said one fan as he filed out of Titan Stadium on Friday night, “and tonight this town was able to take a nice, long, cool drink.”The final score that was still emblazoned on the scoreboard was of little consequence to most who assembled at San Marino High School on a cool spring evening. It only mattered that they were there.For the record, Burbank’s John Burroughs High School filled in for Temple City and defeated the Titans, 30-14, but the atmosphere that is unique to Friday Night Lights traveled well.

San Marino High School head coach Justin Mesa won’t believe the football season has arrived until he sees the opening kickoff sailing through the twilight sky above Titan Stadium this Friday evening at 7 p.m. And who could blame him. Since its last game in November 2019, the sport has seen so many stops and starts it should have been accompanied by the yellow flag that flies over NASCAR races to indicate a delay in the action. But that could all end and the Titans will begin an abbreviated schedule when Burbank’s John Burroughs High School comes calling for Friday’s season-opener at SMHS. It will certainly be the first San Marino football game ever contested in the month of March, but Mesa has waited so long for the COVID storm to subside that he would agree to just about any stipulation to allow his squad to play. “The kids are really excited to play,” said Mesa. “They have a high energy level right now and who can blame them. After being off the field for a year and a half, we still have a long road ahead of us. But the guys have developed this ‘us against the world’ attitude that has really brought them together. They are having a good time and that is what you are looking for.”

It’s rare that a young person entering college has a specific plan of attack needed to nail down their eventual professional career. Apparently, Mohammed “Moho” Haroon is that unique personality, because he had it figured out long in advance. “I will always remember the first time that I met Moho,” explained Mihail Papadopulos, San Marino High School’s head basketball coach. “He was an 8th grader at the time. He politely introduced himself to me and boldly told me that he planned to become a general manager in the National Basketball Association in the future and wanted to know if he could get involved in our program as a manager when he came to the high school.” Papadopulos bit, and thankfully ended up with more than he could reasonably chew.

Even for a time of maximum unpredictability, the sport of high school girls’ volleyball has endured the most volatile fortunes. In late February, the sport received what seemed to amount to a death knell when it was assessed that there was insufficient time to pull off a season, especially when considering its traditional manner of play as an indoor sport. Buy like many in the business world, officials simply moved the game outdoors so when state health officials gave the green light to conduct play, volleyballers were ready.

Last Thursday’s Rio Hondo League cross-country meet was rife with missteps and miscommunications, but after the eleven-and-a-half months that preceded it, it’s safe to say that nobody cared in the least. The only thing that mattered was that it took place at all. “This helps bring back our sanity,” declared Angus Leung, San Marino High School’s cross-country coach, as runners assembled at the starting line. Since the San Marino Unified School District closed its campuses on the ominous date of Friday, March 13, 2020, and shut down all in-person extracurricular activities, athletes, their families and coaches have ridden the roller coaster of all roller coasters anticipating their return. That day arrived last Thursday, Feb. 25, following a series of scheduled starting dates that went wanting while the pesky coronavirus persisted. But that all came to an end, at least for now, as San Marino High School’s harriers donned their royal blue uniforms and took to the trails of Pasadena’s Hahamongna Watershed Park to celebrate the return of sports. Due to the socially distanced nature of their sport, Titan runners were able to train almost uninterrupted and have held student-only workouts since last summer. On the picturesque three-mile course, senior Peyton Talt blazed to a finish of 20 minutes, 31 seconds to finish second overall in the girls’ varsity race. Junior Anya Tang (seventh place, 21:59), junior Katelyn Hansa (23:49), senior Avery Page (24:12) and senior Lily Tong (24:47) locked up second place behind South Pasadena. The Titan boys’ varsity didn’t…