The 55th Annual Mt. SAC Invitational Relays were held April 18-20 at the Hilmer Lodge Stadium in Walnut. Hosting some Olympic and NCAA champion winners, as well as national and state high school top athletes, this invitational brought over 7,000 competitors from around the world for mid-season competition. Promoted as the World’s Largest Track and Field Competition, the event lived up to its motto, “Where the world’s best athletes compete.” Some of the Olympians competitors included Morgan Uceny, Ryan Bailey, Jason Richardson, Carmelita Jeter, Jesse Williams, Mike Rodgers and Charles Jock.
Also taking to the field were Ashton Eaton, the World’s Greatest Athlete – decathlon gold medalist and world record holder; Allyson Felix – 200m Olympic gold medalist, 4x100m and 4x400m relay Olympic gold medalist; Carmelita Jeter – 100m Olympic silver medalist, 4x100m relay Olympic gold medalist, 200m bronze medalist; Lashinda Demus – 400m hurdles silver medalist and reining world champion; Jason Richardson – 110M hurdles silver medalist and reining world champion; and the USA paralympic team.
The CV Falcons athletes came to the field inspired after their last dual meet against Arcadia. On Friday night, the women’s 4×1600 relay team of Megan Melnyk, Rebecca Mencia, Haley Witzeman and Hannah Ruby ran 21:31.23, placing seventh.
Melnyk (5:08) Witzeman (5:29), Mencia (5:28) and Ruby (5:29) joined together for a great effort while Saugus placed first (20:21.47).
The boys 4×1600 relay consisting of Nick Beatty, Matt Manalo, Aaron Esparza, and Gabe Collison placed third in their heat and fifth overalland set a new school record (17:34.53) while Carlsbad team won with a time of 17.24.69 in their heat.
“The boys broke a longstanding school record in the 4×1600. The record was set in 1976 by Drew Truillo, who went on to run 4:14 in the 1600 in 1976, Dave Eagle, Sortino, and Don Moses, who is the school record holder in the 1600 (4:06) and 3200 (8:49).
“This group in 1976 ran a 17:43 for 4×1 mile which converts to a 17:36 for the slightly shorter 4×1600 version. Our group of Nick Beatty (4:24), Aaron Esparza (4:25), Matt Manalo (4:23) and Gabe Collison (4:21) combined for a 17:34.33 effort for fifth place,” said Coach Mark Evans. “We did not see that coming. We were just trying to compete. We are happy because we were right with some teams that were among the top teams in the state in cross-country … three juniors on this team.”
On Saturday, Emily Beglarian high jumped in the women’s open placing ninth at 4-10 with Vista Murrieta Lolene Swallow winnning (5-2).
Emmie Walker high jumped in the women’s seeded high jump and cleared 5-0 to place fifth with the winner Arroyo Grande’s Alex Mero winning (5-4).
In the men’s open 4×100 relay race G, the team of Christ Ordookhanian, Hye Kwang Kim, Dion Matavoosi, and Kyle D’Ambrosio ran 46.35, placing eighth. Gorgonio took first (44.03).
That evening, the men’s distance medley relay team of Alex Damla, Manalo, Beatty and Collison placed eighth (10:21.75) with Vista Murrieta winning (10:07.73).
Women’s distance medley relay consisted of Ruby, Melnyk, Mencia, and Kayleigh Carrillo placed eighth (12:31.79) with Simi Valley winning (11:47.74).
Men’s open 4×400 relay race E consisted of David Shahmanyan, Manalo, Beatty, Damla placed third (3:27.01) while heat winners were Ayala (3:24.98).
The women’s open 4×400 relay race A consisted of Carrillo, Walker Melnyk and Courtney Iannello placed second (3:58.75) with Centennial taking first (3:54.40).
“I was not sure how we would come back Saturday,” Coach Evans said. “Both boys and girls teams had the strength to run well on Saturday. I am very pleased with those efforts. Both boys and girls 4×400 teams had season best times. This is exciting as we head into league finals.”
Written and Photographed by Leonard COUTIN