By Leonard COUTIN
In April, “Sportlifestyle” company Puma sponsored the 54th Annual Mt. SAC Collegiate College Classic Relays where the world’s best athletes, including the nation’s top prep performers, competed.
Typically featuring over 12,000 athletes ranging from youth to the world-class competitor, Mt. SAC Relays are the world’s largest track and field competition. Previous events have featured world-class athletes such as Allyson Felix, Carmelita Jeter, Lashinda Demus, Michelle Perry and Jeremy Wariner and over the years 13 world records have been set at historic Hilmer Lodge Stadium.
CV Coach Mark Evans had the opportunity to see two former Falcon athletes run the 10K (10,000m 25 laps) at the relays. CVHS graduate Nathan Sellers, who now attends Adams State College in Colorado, placed both in the state CIF cross country and track mile and two-mile races while attending Crescenta Valley High School. Rachel Lange also placed in state CIF cross-country and was a CIF finalist in track while at CV and is attending Brigham Young University.
“There was a lot of pride in what Nathan and Rachel were able to accomplish in their college careers,” said Coach Evans. “I felt fortunate to be able to see them race again. It is not often I get a chance to see our alums race so I take any chance I can to do that.”
When the gun went off, Sellers relaxed and did what he had done many times before: bided his time and waited for the right moment to turn up the heat. Crossing the first lap at 68 seconds, Sellers then took off, putting better than 17 seconds between him and the rest of the pack.
“Speaking for myself, I need to hear my how fast each lap was every lap, sometimes more often than that,” Sellers said. “It’s almost like instant gratification and it helps keep me focused and reassures me I’m making progress.”
Sellers has a soft spot for Mt. SAC, a location where he has competed more than a dozen times.
“I definitely consider Mt. SAC a special place for me,” Sellers said. “I’ve raced there nearly 20 times in three different uniforms but it seems to draw the biggest crowds of my family and friends.
“Having so much support … helped in many ways. Before the race they helped me get my mind off of racing. I like lap splits, and with all these people around the track I was getting lap splits every half a lap. This was a tremendous help grinding through lap after lap.”
Sellers took the win (29:33.77) followed by Phil Schneider (29:53.97 from Colorado Mines.
For the past four years, Lange has been running in the open 10K, which has been an asset for BYU. Running 13th place with a time of 36:25.57, she was placed second to teammate Kathryn Vidmar who place ninth (36:21.00).
CV High School results
In the 4×1600 medley relay: Team of Matt Manalo, Gabe Collison, Adam Rowton and Aaron Esparza placed 14th (18:39.37).
4×1600 meter relay: Team of Megan Melnyk, Brooke Moultrie, Cali King and Hannah Ruby placed third (22.00.57).
4×100: Team of Christ Ordookhanian, Byung Kim, John Sung, and Steve Lee placed sixth (47.05).
Josh Straschewski placed ninth in 110HH (15.69).
Claudia Sepulveda placed eighth in 100HH (16.59).
Emmie Walker placed fourth in the high jump (5-0).
Emily Beglarian placed fifth in the high jump (5-0).
Girls 1600 sprint medley relay: Noel Wong, Claudia Sepulveda, Courtney Iannello and Cali King placed fifth (4:20.88).
Boys 1600 sprint medley relay: Team of James Maturan, Josh Straschewski, Parker Averill and Matt Williams placed fifth (3:40.88).
Girls distance medley relay: Team of Hannah Ruby, Megan Melnyk, Kayleigh Carrillo and Brooke Moultrie placed 14th (13:28.60).
Boys distance medley relay invitational: Team Matt Williams, Alex Damla, Mike Duncan and Nick Beatty placed 14(10:38.88).
Girls 4×400 relay open: Team of Cali King, Courtney Iannello, Megan Melnyk and Kayleigh Carrillo placed third (4.04.16).
Boys 4×400 relay open: Team of Mike Duncan, Alex Damla, Nick Beatty and Matt Williams placed third (3.32.40).