South Pasadena High School’s boys’ and girls’ cross-country athletes might be first to the finish line in the restart race and no other result would be more appropriate.
The runners have been seen on campus and other parts of town continuing to train, and their resilience might be paying off as soon as next week. Cross-country is one of the few sports that is allowed to hold competitions while Los Angeles County is in the Purple tier during the coronavirus pandemic.
Athletic directors are close to scheduling an authorized cross-country meet, though not necessarily in a format most would consider typical. Officials seem to have settled on Hahamongna Watershed Park as the location, which is in Pasadena though directly across the street from Rio Hondo League member La Cañada High School.
Anthony Chan, South Pasadena’s athletic director, explained that the members of each school would run the course individually with an aggregate team score then calculated based on individual times.
“Individual times” are something that Tigers runners have in bountiful quantities, thanks to head coach Michael Parkinson.
“We’ve had five time trials since October, approximately once a month,” Parkinson said.
In November, junior Sydney Morrow set the school record for three miles, clocking an impressive time of 17 minutes, 5 seconds, to smash the previous mark of 17:33. Last March as a sophomore, Morrow broke the school record in the 1,600-meter run in 5:02 during a time trial just a few days after the pandemic ended the track season.
Also this year, senior Amelia Jarolim broke the 19-minute barrier, finishing in 18:56 to move into a tie for 10th on the all-time South Pasadena three-mile list. Fellow senior Andrew Parkinson, the coach’s son, set a three-mile personal record of 15:10 last September on his way to a 5K personal best of 15:34, smashing the 16-minute barrier and improving by more than a minute while advancing to No. 8 on the school’s all-time three-mile ledger.
Senior Lindsay Michels has recorded personal bests in four of her five time trials, and even entered the school’s all-time top 10 for three miles.
Senior Andrew Villapudua cruised to a 14:52.7 for three miles, which ranks No. 3 on the school’s list and marks his second sub-15-minute result.
“We’ve not been able to run any official races against Rio Hondo League teams or in invitationals due to the COVID pandemic,” Michael Parkinson said. “I’m happy that my runners have been able to stay motivated enough to test themselves in less than ideal time trials.”