By Leonard COUTIN
It was with an air of anticipation that athletes took to the field at the Pacific League track and field competition on Friday at Arcadia High School. It was the contest for which many trained, propelling the best to the CIF prelims.
At the end of the events all participating schools qualified a least one member of their team to move onto the CIF prelims. The Crescenta Valley Falcons qualified 11 individuals, two of them in two events and a 4 x 400m girls relay team, for the Div. 1 CIF prelims. The prelims will be held at Trabuco High School on Saturday, May 17. Competition begins at 11 a.m.
“We had a great meet and everyone competed well,” said CVHS coach Mark Evans. “This is a tough league and many deserving athletes from all schools did not get a chance to move. It is hard when that happens but it is the nature of the competition and qualifying process. It does not diminish what was accomplished or the career they had.”
Senior Emmy Walker was the first of the Falcons to take a win; she won the varsity high jump at (5-2) over Arcadia’s Kelly Dopke (5-0) who placed second followed by Hannah Rock (5-0). In the discus, Falcon Alsia Shinn placed third with a throw of 32-07.5 behind Muir winner Tierra Adams (48-10.25) and Apache Shannon Diep (34-06.00). CV’s Josh Ayo jumped 41-10 to take second in the triple jump behind Burroughs winner Niko Guerrero (42-05.50). Burbank’s James William took third (41-04.50).
In the 1600m, Falcon Megan Melnyk faced two of the league’s top distance runners, Apache Roni Yamane and Bulldog Candela Fernandez – both of whom were league champions in cross-country this year. Melnyk and teammate Erika Johnson had to work hard against these strong opponents. Yamane achieved a personal record of 4:56.71 to take first followed by Fernandez, who also pr’d in this race (5:00.38). Melnyk captured third (5:03.94) to qualify for the prelims. Johnson placed fifth (5:10.36) with Apache Laura Guidolin taking fourth (5:06.97); neither of these two will move forward. Melnyk, who had entered CIF prelims last year in the 800m, won first place (2:19.55) in this year’s event. Teammate Johnson performed strong as well, capturing second (2:19.91) and beating out Nitro Leanna Setian (2:21.68).
CV junior Sammie Phinney took second in the 100H (15.64) behind winner Keeya Cotlage (14.64) of Muir. Muir’s Jordyn Davis-Scott placed third (15.76). Senior Falcon Nick Beatty, after running the 1600m, led the 800m pack of runners in a 57.4 first lap to nab second place (1:56.13) behind Pasadena’s Michael Dondalski (1:54.81). Dynamiter Jesse Torres captured third (1:56.24) to qualify for CIF prelims.
Senior Kayleigh Carrillo, a reliable point contributor for the Falcons, won two individual second place medals and anchored the 4 x 400m relay team that took second. In the 400m, Carrillo and Apache Kyra White battled down the backside of the track, both pacing themselves until the final turn. Running neck-and-neck almost the entire race, the two sprinted into the finish line arriving almost in a tie. But in the end it was White’s time (57.48) that edged out Carrillo (57.56) at the finish.
In the 200m, White had the better position and won the race (25.45) with Carrillo settling for second (25.88).
CV’s Grace Keller picked up third in the 300H with a time of 47.80 behind winner Muir’s Cotlage (47.29) and Apache Isabel Annino (47.48).
Senior Gabe Collison, who has led the Falcons all year in the distance races, was determined to stay in the game as he set the pace for the 3200m, running against two excellent Apache runners, state distance champion senior Apache Estevan De La Rosa and sophomore Phillip Rocha. De La Rosa took the lead in the last two laps, winning with a time of 9:11.31. Collison captured second (9:18.90) followed by Rocha (9:24.84).
In the Falcons girls’ 4 x 400 relay, the team comprised of Melnyk, Johnson, Iannello and Carrillo qualified for prelims running 3:55.56 with Arcadia’s team of Dopke, Wiggins, Troescher, White winning (3:52.88). Muir captured third (4:12.40).
“We are very proud of those who are moving on,” said Coach Evans. “We will work to see that we have some athletes to qualify for CIF finals.”