The 23rd annual Adidas Meet of Champions Distance Classic 2014 was hosted by Azusa Pacific University College and Arroyo High School on Saturday, March 22. The invitational offered two sessions for the athletes to participate in, the open session day and the elite night session. Qualifying times were used to place athletes in each of the divisions.
CV’s head Coach Mark Evans brought many of his frosh/soph distance runners to the invitational as well as the key varsity runners. Falcon Nick Beatty had one of his best times in the 800m, running 1:57.45.
“Nick ran very well. He was in good position when people started to move and stayed out of trouble,” Evans said.
Teammate Matt Manalo (2:03.50) didn’t fare as well.
“Matt was boxed on the inside when the big move was made and by the time he could get free everyone was gone,” said Evans. “He just could not get back in the race.” He added that Kyle Dickinson performed well in the frosh/soph invite 800m, with a PR time of 2:02.20.
In the girls’ competitions, CV runners had strong showings.
“We had a lot of PRs in the girl’s races,” said Evans. Falcons Rebecca Mencia ran 5:25, Erika Johnson clocked 5:30.41, and Hayley Witzeman turned in 5:34. Also running the 1600m were Samantha Bernardo (5:58.04), Annie Myers (5:55.31), Jemma Kawk (6:10.12), Kelly Owens (6:18.53) and Elizabeth Szulc (7:20.01).
Many were watching Falcon middle distant runner Megan Melnyk. From the start, Melnyk tried to get a better position as she ran with the front leaders. She was well prepared and it showed.
“Before the race, Coach Evans did give me advice on what to do if I did get boxed in. He told me to be patient and wait for a gap to open up. I didn’t think it would take that long to open up but eventually it did,” Melnyk said. “Megan moved well and ran a good race,” said Evans. “She was able to be in good position at key points in the race. She needs to be a little faster the last 30-50 meters to hold people off.”
Melnyk added that the last straightaway was particularly harrowing.
“[It] was a tough one. I had worked the whole 200 meters before that to move myself up to that pack. I guess at the end I just wanted to pass as many people as I could and get a good time,” she said. She bested last year’s time of 2:16 running a 2:15.3.
Athletes from all over California are drawn to this competition especially in the Dream Mile Race. The girls and boys varsity winner of the “Meet of Champions Dream Mile” qualify for the Adidas Dream Mile that is held during the Adidas Grand Prix meet in New York in June. All qualifiers will have all their expenses paid, including airfare, by Adidas.