Arcadia distance runners' plan doesn't pan out By Keith Lair, Staff Writer

ARCADIA - It wasn't quite what the Arcadia High School boys distance runners envisioned.

Senior Ammar Moussa expected to be running side by side against Loyola's Elias Geydon, Trabuco Hills' Jantzen Oshier and Dana Hills' Connor Kaddatz in a quest to break the national record in the 4-mile relay Friday night in the 44th edition of the two-day Arcadia Invitational on the Arcadia High track.

Instead, state cross country champion Moussa could only watch from far behind as Geydon finished the race, which featured four runners each going a mile, first. Dana Hills' Kaddatz was second and Oshier third. Moussa finished 12.85 seconds behind Geydon.

"It's not like I'm behind a bunch of scrubs," Moussa said. "I'm behind the top three milers in the country. There is no way I'm going to make that (deficit) up, even if I broke 4 (minutes). I was not going to make that up."

On a cold night with a steady wind from the southwest, the 35-year-old national record remained intact.

Loyola won the race in 17:24.38, the second-fastest time in the nation. Arcadia was fourth in 17:37.23, the fifth-fastest time in the country.

Sergio Gonzalez got the Apaches out to the lead after the first mile, but No. 2 Apache Allen Leung lost touch with Loyola's Jared Jones. The Apaches fell further behind with No. 3 Ryan Vargas, leaving Moussa eight seconds off the pace when he took the baton.

The Apaches' second team in the race was only seconds Advertisement behind the faster Arcadia team before fading to 10th in 17:56.76.

"All it means is that we're that deep," Moussa said. "It means we have eight guys that can run together. If anything, that's a good thing.

"I felt bad for Ryan. I know he felt a lot of pressure going into this race. We need to keep his head up."

The team featured three seniors, but it was a night for the younger set.

Three teams from Arcadia and one from Monrovia, with only one senior among the group, took podium finishes.

The Arcadia girls 1,600 sprint medley team finished second in 4:16.59 in the seeded race.

Freshman Miranda Stiver went from last to first in the first 400 of her anchor 800 leg, and finished second to Santa Rosa. Fiona Chu, Krystle Thai and Michelle Fry also ran.

"That girl is a ninth-grade stud," Arcadia coach Chris Schultz said. "She is really, really tough. It's fun to watch her improve."

Stiver then helped the Apaches place a surprising third in the 3,200 relay.

Stiver, Alyson Watkins, Veronica Yamane and Glyndyll Mancia ran a 9:31.10, a school record by five seconds. The quartet includes sophomores and freshmen.

The Monrovia girls 800 relay team of Jenny Pfan, Jasmine Thomas, Kia Smith and Skylar Buchanan finished second in 1:43.72. The Wildcats ran two sophomores and two seniors, each running 200 meters in the rated race.

"I just had to get by that girl on the curve," said Buchanan, who was third entering the final corner.

The Arcadia girls 4-mile relay team of Yamane, Alejandra Quintero, Naomi Wilcox and Joyce Liao was third in the seeded race in 21:41.83.

keith.lair@sgvn.com 626-962-8811, ext. 224

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