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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…

The sport of soccer has taken Mackenzie Dawes to scores of different locations and now, it’s going to take her to college. Dawes, a senior at San Marino High School, recently announced that she will continue playing the sport she dearly loves when she enrolls at at Connecticut College and play for the Camels this fall. A Titan team MVP and all-Rio Hondo League first-team forward, Dawes said that although the COVID-19 pandemic complicated the recruiting process, she is comfortable with her decision. “Coaches weren’t permitted to watch players in person, which really made things difficult,” she said. “I spent hours finding clips of film that I could use and I turned them into a highlight video. I sent the video and other information out to the colleges I was interested in with the hopes that their roster wasn’t full yet and that I could fill a position. When I came across Connecticut College, I knew almost immediately that it was the right fit for me. I got in touch with the coach and the rest is pretty much history. The more I learned about the college and soccer program, the more it felt like my home away from home. I think that a lot of people try to rush the process or simply settle for something that might not be the right fit. However, my experience was so easy and natural that I couldn’t have asked for a better college process.”

Calling it “the calm before the storm,” San Marino High School head football coach Justin Mesa welcomed his Titans on Monday afternoon for the first official practice of the season. “I think it went well,” said Mesa. “The kids have a ton of energy and they are excited. I overheard several of the players say that they had a lot of fun. I could see we were a little rusty, but it was great to get back in the huddle. They were energetic and did everything we asked of them.”

Chaz Davis is poised to make football history this Saturday for the second time in his life, though many in San Marino will not consider it nearly as significant as his first achievement. Davis, a member of San Marino High School’s record-setting 2015 football team, will be on the sidelines when Northern Arizona University kicks off its 2021 football season in Flagstaff when they host the Montana Grizzlies. Not surprisingly, it’s believed to be the first time the Lumberjacks have played a game in the month of February. Davis, who graduated from San Marino High School in 2016, recently came to NAU as a recruiting and operations assistant, where he has a hand in operations, recruiting and player personnel. Like many programs, NAU scrapped the 2020 season because of the coronavirus pandemic in hopes for more favorable conditions this spring. But while workouts are typically slated to begin during the ideal, late-summer, high-altitude atmosphere, a much different climate greeted participants when they began training in December. “Cold, cold, cold,” Davis, a Southern California native, quipped. “We got something like 40-plus inches of snow in less than a month. In a span of a couple days, we got what is called the ‘Flagstaff Dump’ as the people here refer to it, around 30 inches. A fun fact is that Flagstaff is the second-snowiest city in the United States after Syracuse, New York.”