By Leonard COUTIN
Hosted by Arcadia High School, the Pacific League track and field finals got underway on Friday. By the end of the day, 17 Falcon athletes qualified for 14 CIF prelim events. CIF prelims are Saturday, May 16 at Trabuco Hills High School with field events starting at 11 a.m. and running starting at noon.
An early highlight was Emmie Walker who cleared 5-6 and had several strong jumps in her attempt of achieving 5-8. Walker won her fourth league championship at Arcadia.
Winning both the 1600m (5:03.06) and the 800m (2:17.16) qualified Megan Melnyk for both races at the prelims. Melnyk will have to consider running both races or focusing only on one as the competition at the prelims will be stronger than what she has faced so far. She still has not posted her potential pr time in the 800m this year.
“Megan Melnyk is a double winner for the second year in a row,” said a pleased head coach Mark Evans.
Taking second in both the 100H and 300H, Sammie Phinney ran a time of 15.22 against Muir’s Keeya Cotlage (14.90). Having a very close race in the 300H against rival Kira Bochard of Burbank, Phinney hit the second to last hurdle and Bochard managed a cleaner race winning with 46.76 to Phinney’s 46.89.
Clair Schlueter placed well in the long jump as did Alisa Shinn in the shot put. Schlueter took second in the long jump with a jump of 17-01 after Arcadia’s Jasmine Paulus (17-04.50). Shinn had a strong put of 35-02.75 to take the win. Grace Keller had a big pr in the high jump clearing 5-2..
The Falcon 4 x 400 relay team of Melnyk, Walker, Courtney Iannelo and Naila Ortiz placed second (4:09.90) behind Arcadia (3:56.20). Iannelo ran her best time to pr, coming in under one minute for her leg.
The boys had some solid performances as well. Running a strong mile, Arcadia’s Phillip Rocha took a commanding lead on the pack to win (4:19.71). CV’s Silas FitzGerald stuck with the other leaders throughout the challenging race to place second running 4:26.32 over Andrew Barrondo of Burroughs (4:26.80). Colin FitzGerald made his move to get closer to the leaders on his last lap and ran 4:28.40 to capture fourth.
In the 800m, Armin Cardenas went under 2:00 and Silas had a pr. Cardenas’ primary challenger was Arcadia’s Dominic Gonzales. In the last 100m, Cardenas made his final move to close the gap bringing Gonzales and Cardenas neck-to-neck right up until Gonzales’ final sprint at the finish to take the win (1:57.37) with Cardenas close behind (1:59.74).
Falcon Arthur Akopyan placed second in the shot put (45-09.75), but unfortunately did not make the qualifying throw for CIF prelims. Junior Kenny Kang placed second in the 300H running 40.73 behind Burroughs’ Corwin Scherer (39.41). Falcon Chris Cabrera, who has nursed a leg injury the last few weeks, seemed to have made a full recovery to win the long jump with 21-03.50. Dashel Dupuy placed second in the boys’ varsity pole vault clearing 12-06 behind Burroughs’ Kent Troung’s winning height of 14-06.
“I am very pleased with how we did at league finals,” said Coach Evans. “Emmie Walker won her fourth league championship. In the boys’ races, it was great to see Silas and Colin FitzGerald go under 4:30 in the 1600.”
There were many outstanding performances by the younger Falcon members of the team.
“The frosh/soph did really well,” Coach Evans added. “We have high hopes for the future with this group. On the girls’ side we are especially strong in the sprints and hurdles with some capable field event athletes.”