April 8 dawned cloudy at the Claremont High School in Claremont, CA as dozens of volunteers arrived for the 3rd Annual Claremont Classic – the first as a Southern California USATF Championship event. The cooler weather proved to be a boon for the racers.
The tents and tables went up, lap counters gathered for orientation as judges and timers evaluated the track and put their equipment and staff in place.
Southern California USA Track and Field, Kaiser Permanente and Pomona Valley Hospital erected their displays, including a CPR demonstration. Some of the exhibitors participated in the races as well.
Kay Held, the Meet Director, was everywhere, answering concerns, filling slots, overseeing set up.
Then the racers came. The air was energized as people re-met long-time friends or chatted with first timers.
And energy accelerated as youth joined the crowd. They came from two SoCal clubs – The Road Runners and the Pacific Coast Shockwaves and included racers aged 9-12.
All in place and the first race, a 5K, was underway.
Medalists in their perspective age categories were: Jamie Fiddler, 28; Adrian Zamudio, 42; Susan Armenta, 43; J Torres-Cancino, 48; Catherine Caporale, 49; Jochen Strack, 51; Des Jaravata, 53; George Papacalos, 58; Yolanda Holder, 59; Leah Key Ketter, 55; Kwang-hee Park, 57; John Phillips, 64; Paula Rasmussen, 63; Marlou Russell, 61; Yoko Eichel, 70; Carol Bertino, 70; Gesine Robinson, 73; Carol Dyar, 77; Ann Stromberg, 75; Jacqueline Chase, 77; Carlos Acosta, 84; Philip McKean, 82; Stanley Moore, 84; Shirley Capps, 83; Grace Moremen, 87.
In the interim between races, Susan Armenta, USATF gold medalist, conducted a clinic for anyone wanting to learn more about race walking technique or to get personal attention. Definitely a highlight.
An 800m fun walk attracted people of many ages who wanted to try race walking and a good time was had by all.
The youth were scheduled to join the final 1500m race and as the gun went off they propelled from the starting line, taking everyone’s breath away. The medalist were: (Boys), Joel Mendoza, 10; Aris Mayorga, 11; Smooth Watkins, 10, and (Girls), Noemi Chavez, 9; De Chavez-Barban, 11; Leilani Centeno, 12 and Sienna Ozier, 10. Other medalists in their age groups included Jamie Fiddler, 28; Adrian Zamudio, 42; Rima Shah, 43; Roselyn Singh, 41; J Torres-Cancino, 48; Phalana Tiller, 46; Catherine Caporale, 49; Des Jaravata, 53; Yolanda Holder, 59; Marlou Russell, 61; Cheryl Suson, 66; Paul Lawson, 73; Sylvia Ellis, 70; Yoko Eichel, 70; Gesine Robinson, 73; Carol Dyar, 77; Ann Stromberg, 75; Yvette Lavigne, 78; Philip McKean, 82; John Denham, 87; Grace Moremen, 87; and William Moremen, 90.
Medals were awarded at the end of the morning with much applause and cheering.