Rowland's Rivera gets up in the Nick of time By Keith Lair, Staff Writer

WEST COVINA - Rowland High School's Nick Rivera will have quite a story to tell when he returns to school on Monday.

The junior can describe how he knocked off Arcadia's Ammar Moussa in the sixth annual San Gabriel Valley Track and Field Championships on Saturday at West Covina High.

Moussa, one of the best distance runners in the nation, was impressive in the 1,600, in which he blew past Rivera and his rivals in the final 800 meters for the victory.

Moussa has the nation's fastest time in the 3,200 and one of the nation's fastest marks in the 1,600 and mile.

In Saturday's follow-up race, the 800, it was Rivera's chance to turn the tables and hand Moussa a rare defeat this season.

He's the best, Rivers said. Why not race the best and beat the best.

He ran a personal-best 1:52.74 to Moussa's 1:53.21. Both times were faster than the meet record and Rivera's mark was fourth-fastest in the state this year.

Honestly, the whole race I was just worried about breaking my PR and going after Ammar Moussa, he said. It hasn't sunk in yet.

Rivera and Glendora's Anthony Castro battled for the lead for the first 500 meters before Moussa took the lead with 300 meters to go. He had a sizeable lead heading into the final 100 meters, but Rivera caught him with 20 meters to go. Moussa slightly faded at the finish.

I have a very strong kick and I decided to use it and it worked, Rivera said. My coach Advertisement Portland: Do NOT Buy Car Insurance!Portland: Do NOT Buy Car Insurance!Your Auto Insurer Hates This. 1 trick to get extremely cheap rates!Portland: Job Scams (EXPOSED)Portland: Job Scams (EXPOSED)Which work at home programs are legit and which are SCAMS?DO NOT buy Auto Insurance!DO NOT buy Auto Insurance!Oregon: A secret to saving you money now.$9 Auto Insurance is here!Ads by Yabuka just told me to work it the whole way. I knew everybody was going to come after me and pass me up. I kept strong.

Rivera was second to Moussa in the 1,600 in 4:16.17. Moussa ran 4:10.27.

It was a typical big day for Covina's Remontay McClain and Bishop Amat's Kylie Price. Both athletes won their two events and set meet records in the process.

McClain, the reigning CIF State champion in the 100 and 200, won the 100 in 10.60 and 200 in 21.31, both meet records. He also was on the winning 400 relay team.

I need to visualize the race from start to finish, said McClain, who has committed to run for Azusa Pacific next year. It all comes down to the little stuff. That's how you win.

The relay win was with Gary Jones, Antonio Contreras and Ryan Bedford in a season-best 43.17. What was more impressive was McClain took the baton for the final leg in third place.

He kind of shocked me, said Amat's Tyler Hill, who had the lead when handed the baton.

McClain had to beat West Covina's Beejay Lee in the 200. Lee, who did not compete in the 100, had no chance and finished in 21.81.

Price bettered her own meet records in the 100 and high jump. She went 12.11 in the 100 and 19 feet,

2 inches in the long jump.

I thought I did well, the senior said. I practiced on my drive and practiced for league, CIF prelims and stuff like that. I worked on driving on my start and holding it. I didn't pop my head up. I slowly, gradually came up.

Glendora had three big wins with junior Brittany Yaxley winning the high jump at 5-0. Makalya Jacobs won the pole vault in 10-6 and Lauren Justus won the 1,600 in 5:11.40 and the 3,200 in 11:13.66.

In a tight 110 high hurdles race, Damien junior Jarrett Gonzales edged Alhambra's James Martin, 14.90 to 14.94.

keith.lair@sgvn.com 626-962-8811, ext. 2242

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