The Catholic Youth Organization Cross Country Invitational on Oct. 13 at Cerritos Regional Park brought together the largest group of participants in the program’s history, with more than 500 runners from 35 schools taking part in the CYO's first meet of the 2013-14 school year.On a picture-perfect day, and on a challenging course, American Martyrs of Manhattan Beach earned first place in the girls’ varsity division, with Beatitudes of Our Lord (La Mirada) second and St. Philip the Apostle (Pasadena) third.In the boys’ varsity division, St. Brendan of Hancock Park took first place, followed by St. Philip the Apostle and St. Anastasia (Westchester). Concessions were provided by Sacred Heart High School of Lincoln Heights.American Martyrs also took first place in the boys’ B division, while St. Bruno (Whittier) won first in the girls’ B division. Beatitudes took first in girls’ C competition, and St. Philip placed in the top three in all six divisions.On Nov. 3, the renovated gym at St. Paul High School in Santa Fe Springs was the site for the 2013 Catholic Youth Organization Girls Volleyball championships, with two San Gabriel Valley area teams facing off in the title match.Second-seeded Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Pasadena) ended up victorious, with a hard-fought three-set win over fourth-seeded Holy Family (South Pasadena), as a full house of excited and enthusiastic fans generated plenty of excitement for this cross town rivalry. Assumption had won the East Foothill Conference title, posting a 14-0 overall record, while Holy Family won the Foothill Conference with a 13-1 record, their only loss to Assumption at the beginning of the season. In fact, many of the girls on both teams know each other through club volleyball and will find themselves as teammates next year in high school. The contest was very competitive from the first serve of set one which Assumption won narrowly, before Holy Family battled back to win the second set to force a deciding third set. Despite spirited play by Holy Family, Assumption prevailed and earned the championship. Congratulations to Coach Ben Ashkinos and the Gators on their title. In the third place game, top seed American Martyrs faced upstart Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal (Montebello), the sixth seed. American Martyrs was the six-time defending CYO champion, winning the highly competitive South Bay Conference with a 13-1 record, while Miraculous Medal was seeking its best finish in the tournament, having won the Mission Conference and entering the match at 12-1. Miraculous Medal came out strong and won the first set. But American Martyrs took the second set to square the match. In the hard-fought third set, Miraculous Medal took their play to another level and won the match and the third place trophy. The CYO girls volleyball season, managed by CYO coordinator Lillian Puentes, began with 160 teams across 18 conferences throughout the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and 64 teams qualified for the playoffs. CYO program director James McGoldrick expressed appreciation to all the schools that provided facilities during the season and playoffs including St. Paul High School, St. Mary Academy (Inglewood), Notre Dame Academy (West L.A.), Notre Dame High School (Sherman oaks), Bishop Conaty-Our Lady of Loretto High School (L.A.), Mary Star of the Sea High School (San Pedro), Cantwell Sacred Heart High School (Montebello), and elementary schools American Martyrs, St. Thomas the Apostle (L.A.), St. Anthony (El Segundo) and Our Lady of Lourdes. For information on CYO activities, contact McGoldrick, (213) 251-3562 or [email protected], or visit www.cyola.org.