Orange Police defeat Orange City Fire in relay race at annual track and field championship games

By Lou Ponsi

Bragging rights were on the line when four Orange police officers and four Orange firefighters took to the track during the 13th annual Foundation Games Track & Field Championships at Fred Kelly Stadium.

The crowd that filled the stadium to cheer for the city’s elementary and middle school athletes were also treated to a 4×100-meter relay pitting police officers against firefighters.

Orange PD Officer David Hernandez hugs Orange PD Sgt. Rafael Ward after Hernandez ran the last leg of the 4×100 relay race, taking first place for his team against the Orange Fire Department during the 2018 Foundation Games.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

The police team led from the start and went on to win by a wide margin, exacting a bit of revenge against the firefighters, who won the relay last year.

The officers, in order of when they ran, included Simon Connette, Colton Ivans, Mitchell Pfyl, and David Hernandez.

The firefighters were James Hammortree, Brett Garrett, Matt Anderson, and Shaun Filippi.

Orange PD Cpl. Danny Contreras hands out medals to girls born in 2008 who ran in the 4×100.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

“I was just trying to run as fast as I could,” said Connette, who took a quick lead before handing the baton to Ivans. “I haven’t run full speed like this since high school.”

Ivans widened the lead a bit before handing off to Pfyl and by the time Pfyl gave the baton to Hernandez, the police were well ahead.

“It felt good, especially going in with the win,” said Hernandez, who competed in the 4×100 relay in high school.

Orange PD Code Enforcement Officer Michelle Echeverria gives medals to relay race winners.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Ivans said he was a little nervous but mostly enjoyed the experience.

“We’re out here for fun and to show support for our community because they support us,” Ivans said. “There are nerves that go with it, but it’s just a good fun time.”

The Foundation Games, which were held April 20 and 21, are organized and presented by the Community Foundation of Orange, a nonprofit involved in community building projects.

With baton in hand, Orange PD Officer Colten Ivans takes off as the second runner of the 4×100 relay race. OPD went on to beat the Orange Fire Department.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

The number of student athletes, volunteers, and fans on hand for the two-day event totaled more than 5,000. Support from sponsors enables the student athletes to participate for free.

Aside from the relay race, Orange police officers gave medals to the first, second, and third place finishers as they stood on the victory platform.

Orange PD Officer David Hernandez runs with baton in hand, and a sizable lead, just before crossing the finish line for the 4×100 relay race.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

“It’s a great opportunity to partner with all the schools and be involved and let the kids see the police department and the officers in a different light and different environment,” Police Chief Tom Kisela said.

Kisela was also pleased to see his officers finish first in the relay.

“The First Department had an excellent team last year and just flat out beat us,” Kisela said. “It’s nice getting a little redemption. But it’s also just great getting together. We’re very close friends with our fire department. It’s a great healthy rivalry.”

Orange PD Officer Evan Smith and Cpl. Danny Contreras, right, hand out medals to girls born in 2007 who won the 4×100 relay race at Fred Kelly Stadium in Orange.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Orange PD Cpl. Danny Contreras places a medal around the neck of a relay race runner.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Kids race toward the finish line, it appears twice, in this multiple exposure collage of the 13th Annual 2018 Foundation Games at Fred Kelly Stadium in Orange.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Orange PD Cpl. Danny Contreras, left, and Chief Thomas Kisela award second place medals to City of Orange Firefighters, in blue, after the 4×100 relay race.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Orange Fire Battalion Chief Sean deMetropolis, right, awards first place medals to Orange PD officers, in white, after the 4×100 relay race.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Orange PD officers won the 4×100 relay race against the Orange Fire Department. From left, front row, David Hernandez, Mitchell Pfyl, Simon Connette, and Colten Ivans. Standing behind them in support from Orange PD are, from left, Chief Tom Kisela, Cpl. Danny Contreras, Sgt. Rob Thorsen, Code Enforcement Officer Michelle Echeverria, Officer Evan Smith, and Sgt. Rafael Ward.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Orange PD Officers, in white, and Orange firefighters, in blue, front row, who competed in the 4×100 relay race pose together after the event. Behind them are supporters, including Orange Police Chief Tom Kisela and Orange Fire Battalion Chief Sean deMetropolis.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC