Falcons Soar Over Tornadoes in Dual Track Meet

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Photos by Leonard COUTIN Robert McNelis won the 1600m with a time of 4:47.

Photos by Leonard COUTIN
Robert McNelis won the 1600m with a time of 4:47.

By Leonard COUTIN

For the first time in several years, the Hoover Tornadoes hosted the Falcons at their new facility. With the new synthetic rubber six-lane track and new stadium bleachers Hoover is now ready to offer its athletes a solid facility on which to build a strong running program. Hoover’s Head Coach Jack Sallakian has proven he can offer his athletes a program that can be challenging and rewarding in both cross-country and track.

Plagued for many years by apathy, it has been a struggle to get athletes out for these programs.

“When it’s 3 o’clock they disappear,” Sallakian said. Top athletes have chosen soccer and other sports in which to participate. The cross-country and track programs aren’t lacking a positive coaching staff; Sallakian and his coaches stress a positive philosophy and strive to offer a program that will benefit each one of its participants.

As the April 13 meet got underway, it was clear that the Falcon boys and girls teams would be too strong for the Tornadoes. The boys won 16 events and the girls took 15 of 16 events. Coach Mark Evans of Crescenta Valley High School took the opportunity to switch his runners around to offer them a chance to run in events they typically don’t run in. For sprinter Jessy Shelton, she had the chance to run both the 100H and the 300IH. She won the 100H in a time of 17.35 and placing second in the 300IH (50.34) behind teammate Jennifer Saengsri (49.97). Saengsri took second in the 100H running 17.99.

Hye Kwang Kim won two gold victories, in 100m (11:47) (shown) and the 200m (23.3).

Hye Kwang Kim won two gold victories, in 100m (11:47) (shown) and the 200m (23.3).

Shelton added a win in the 100m dash (12.8) followed by Clair Schlueter (13.0) and Kelly Im (13.3). Schlueter won the long jump with a 14-9 jump.

Shawn Grinnell won the 110HH (16.89) running neck and neck with his brother Jeremy who took second (17.08). Both brothers came back in the 300IH and Shawn hit the last hurdle just right to pull ahead of his brother with a winning time of 43.24. Jeremy captured second (43.35). Hye Kwang Kim won two gold victories, in the 100 (11:47) and the 200 (23.3). Senior Robert McNelis had a successful day taking first in both the 1600 (4:47), and the 3200 (10:23). Teammate Jonathan Yoon placed second in the 1600 (4:51) followed by Jason Hur (4.52). John Lapides won the boys high jump (5-10) and Claire Codding jumped 4-11 to take the win in the varsity girls’ high jump. She grabbed another victory in the triple jump (32-1).

The Falcon boys swept the 800m, with Cameron Atkins winning with a time of 2:10 followed by teammates Matt Brunner (2:11) and John Jae Lee (2:12).

Falcons’ lead varsity runner Grace McAuley led a three-way victory in the 1600. McAuley ran 5:32. Hanna Leines (6:00) followed and fellow Falcon Briana Jimenez took third (6:14). Later McAuley paced teammate Leines (2:30) to a successful first and second place finish in the 800m. McAuley finished the afternoon running the 3200m in 15:23 far ahead of the other runners.

Falcons dominated the pole vault as well with Emily Perkins taking the win (8-0), teammate Sidney Pontius placing second (7-6) and Elizabeth Hart taking third (7-0). The boys also swept the pole vault. Shea Bautista took the win at 11-0 followed by Aidan Foote (11-0), and Austin White (10-6).

CV senior Arthur Akopyan had an excellent throw of 48-7 to win the shot put. Alison Smith took first in the discus throwing (76-3) and the shot put (28-10) while teammate Emin Isssaghoulian won the boys discus throwing (111-3).  Ethan Walch took first with 40-8 in the triple jump. The Falcon boys and girls 4×100 and 4×400 relay teams won as well.

Final boys score: CV 113 vs. 23.

Final girls score: CV 115 vs. 20.

For more of Leonard Coutin’s photos, visit

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