Track and field finally defeats Loyola

Track and field finally defeats Loyola

Mason Rodriguez '18 sprints in the final leg of the 4x100 race in the team's first-ever win over Loyola. Credit: Ryan Kim/Chronicle

The boys’ track and field team defeated Loyola with a score of 74-54 on Thursday to win the Mission League title for the first time in school history. The girls’ team also beat Marymount 85-42, with a few girls registering personal best times.

“We thought we could win [the Mission League title] because this is by far the most stacked team we’ve had,” Keon Mazdisnian ’19 said. “We have a very good balance of sprinters and distance. In previous years, we either had really good sprinters or really good distance runners, but this year we have a really good balance.”

This season, the boys are undefeated. Not only is this the first time they have won the Mission League, but this is also their first time beating Loyola in a meet. Loyola has eight CIF championships since 2000, including one national title. The team also has upwards of 110 members.

Watching 4 packed buses arrive from Loyola and seemingly seeing hundreds of athletes pour out could have been an intimidating experience for our boys’ team who have a much smaller squad,” Athletic Director Jason Kelly said. “We are excited to finally put something on the Mission League Championship banner in the gym to honor our Boys’ Track and Field program. Watching us dominate the sprint races was a true highlight and the celebrations at the end were genuine and deserved.

Because both the Wolverines and Loyola beat Notre Dame by nine points this season, players said this was the first time in recent memory they felt they had a shot at taking down Loyola. For some players, the idea of beating Loyola was surreal.

“At first it didn’t seem real that we could beat Loyola because we’ve been losing to them for so long,” Mazdisnian said.

For the girls, Nya Beckham ’19 said she registered a new personal best for the 100 meter dash and 200 meter dash, but because the official times have not yet come in, this is unconfirmed.

Though the girls may not have any individuals selected for CIF contention, a few of the team’s relay groups should qualify, sprinter Ryan Stanford ’19 said.

The team usually starts practicing in January, but this year they started in September.

“I think our general level of fitness is up this year since we’ve started practicing so much earlier than in the past,” Stanford said.

Thursday’s win improves the girls’ league record to 5-1.

Before the meet, Program Head Jonas Koolsbergen said the runners had to perform well in their best races, not necessarily placing emphasis on all the races. Though Wolverines struggled to place in some races in which they usually collect points, such as the 1,600 meter run, they took many of the leading spots in a few races.

The boys started off strong, winning their first race, the 4×100 meters relay. The Wolverines also leaned on the 400 meter, which got the team nine points since they swept the first three positions. Brayden Borquez ’19 came in first, Mason Rodriguez ’18 second, and Jack Riley ’19 placed third.

Darren Long ’19 also took first in the high jump, getting over 6 feet, and Tiber Seireeni ’18 finished first in the pole vault, reaching almost 16 feet high.

For the 300 meter hurdles, Borquez is ranked No. 1 in California, No. 8 in the nation and holds the school record. His teammates praised him for being especially dynamic, saying he could win essentially every race in every meet, but does not due to Mission League event restriction quotas.

The team has exceeded almost all expectations this season, in most part thanks to strong leadership from seniors, Koolsbergen said.

“They set the tone of how things should be done and what it means to be a Wolverine track and field athlete,” Koolsbergen said. “They never back away from a challenge.”

After the last league meet of the season at Alemany on April 26, the group will face the Mission League championship meet on May 3 and the CIF preliminary round on May 12.

“This year’s group of guys is really special because we have a lot of talent,” Ben Beckman ’19 said. “The biggest challenge is living up to what we can do, what we are able to do.”

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