By Leonard COUTIN
The prestigious 57th Mt. SAC relays were hosted for the last time in the historical Hilmer Lodge Stadium, located at Mt. San Antonio College this past weekend. Serving the community for 65 years, the stadium hosted three Olympic trials and sponsored many CIF competitions, as well as being the site for both college and international invitational track and field meets over the years. The stadium will be torn down and renovated as a state-of-the-art facility as part of “Project 2020.” The new stadium will feature new bleachers for 11,000 spectators, a high tech press box, a field house with locker rooms, weight rooms and lectures halls and accommodate digital global media in a way that will easily allow coverage.
Spectators and athletes witnessed many national records set at what was considered one of the most eventful track and field weekend competitions hosted annually by Mt. SAC. Among these were China’s phenomenal jumper and four-time finalist at the global championships Guowei Zhang, who cleared 7-8 along with Mike Mason’s 7-5 jump at the Men’s Invitational high jump competition. Canada’s Andre DeGrasse, representing the University of Southern California, first won the 100m in a heavily wind-aided 9.87. Conditions calmed later in the afternoon when DeGrasse ran his 200m in 20.16 equaling the Canadian record.
Bronze medalist Brenda Martinez, representing New Balance, ran 2:0083 in the Invitational 800m, outdistancing Elizabeth Gabriela of Mexico (2:02.22) at the finish line. World junior silver medalist Dior Hill won the women’s 100m (12.89) and two time Arcadia Invitational winner Vashtl Cunningham set a new high school record jump (6-4). These are only a few of the best results featured from the weekend.
CV Falcon athletes faced some fierce challenges in several of the relay events. Competition started Friday night for a few athletes and early Saturday morning lasting until after 11 p.m. Alisa Shinn’s throw of 33-01.50 placed her 11th bettering her performance of 32-5 from last year at Mt. SAC. For her first time competing at the event, Claire Schlueter did well and captured sixth place in the long jump (16- 0). Megan Melnyk, still not feeling her best, ran in the open mile (5:21.04) capturing 11th and returning for the 800m on Saturday afternoon.
Saturday morning the team of Sammie Phinney (above), Grace Keller, Elizabeth Filipian and Jestena Galvan in the girls’ Invite Shuttle Hurdles placed second with a time of 1:07.05. Individually Phinney ran the 100H. Melnyk ran with one of the strongest half milers in the state, clocking a time of 2:13.39 to place fourth. Dani Jones of Desert Vista won with a time of 2:08.85 and Cassie Durgy of Huntington Beach placed second (2:11.70).
In the boys seed 4 x 800m invitational, the team of Armin Cardenas, Kyle Dickinson (below) and Silas FitzGerald ran 8:17.51 to place seventh. In the 4 x 400 relay team, Kyle D’Ambrosio, Kenny Kang, Colin FitzGerald and Logan Neil placed eighth (3:42.25). In the boys 4 x 1600, Dickinson, Silas FitzGerald, Jason Crosthwaite and Manav Vats placed seventh running 18:11.43. Rebecca Mencia, Grace McAuley, Annie Myers and Samantha Bernardo placed 11th (22:51.20) in the girls open 4 x 1600 relay.
“Megan had a tough mile race Friday night but came back with a really good 800 on Saturday,” said Falcons’ Head Coach Mark Evans. “She looked much better in the 800. Boys’ relays did very well. We had not run a 4 x 800 in a while and that group all ran solid 800s. The 4 x 1600 was great … really ran a tough, competitive race.”
Many of the athletes will miss participating in the relays until the opening of the new stadium.