It was a hot Saturday that greeted athletes arriving at Trabuco High School to compete in the track and field CIF Southern Section prelims.
The strategy for most of the athletes was to simply qualify and make it into the finals, which will be held this Saturday at Mount San Antonio College (Mt. SAC) starting at 10 a.m. The athletes had to endure several extra hours due to the running of several heats of the same race continuing late into the afternoon and evening. By the end of the day, the CV Falcons qualified three individuals and the girls’ 4×400 relay team for SS CIF finals.
Junior Kayleigh Carrillo got off to a quick start in her 400m race and led her heat to qualify, running 56.95. She ranked third with the fastest time behind leader Simone Buchanan from Roosevelt (56.35).
Megan Melnyk got a surprise as she completed the first lap of the 800m; her right shoe flew off her foot and onto the track, but Melnyk was resourceful and captured second place in her heat, running barefoot with a time of 2:16.63. Her time was listed as the seventh fastest for the day. La Quinta rival Megan Huebner clocked the fastest time, running 2:11.94.
In the boys’ 3200m, Falcon junior Gable Collison set the pace out in front of the pack for most of the laps. Collison placed with a qualifying time of 9:30.83, the ninth fastest time going into the finals. Edison senior Jeff Thies took the lead in the 3200m heat, running 9:18.41.
Although the day was long, the girls 4×400 relay team of Melnyk, Carrillo, Courtney Iannello and Emmie Walker qualified in their relay, running 3:56.26. The last event of the day, the team pushed hard in the relay, handing off the baton with expertise. Carrillo, who already ran a solid 400m open race, proved a stellar anchor leg.
This is the first time in many years that the Falcons will have a 4×400 relay team running in the CIF finals as well as in the individual contests.
“We competed very well at finals,” said CV coach Mark Evans. “I am proud of how we did. This is a young group who gained some great experience. Matt Manalo had a great race even though he did not qualify for finals. He ran a three-second [personal best] in the 800.
“It is always exciting to see athletes qualify for CIF finals. It is a new experience because for many of them it is a new level of competition. Girls 4×400 did a great job! They went another one second faster than at league finals.”
Competing for CIF is always one of the toughest contests in the Southern Section Division 1 and the CIF prelims is tough to qualify for. The following CV runners who did well, but did not qualify for Saturday SS CIF finals were senior Noel Wong in high jump (16-6.00); senior Hannah Ruby 1600m (5:21.33); Nick Beatty 800m (2:02.12); Sarah Lapides 100HH (16.97); senior David Shahamanyan 110HH (16.41); girls high jumpers Emmie Walker, Emily Belgarian and Grace Keller; senior Hannah Ruby 800m (2.26.07); Nick Beatty 800m (2:02.12); Matt Manalo 800m (1:56.81); Sarah Lapides 300LH (49.75); Haley Witzeman 3200m (12:02.02); Kayleigh Carrillo 200m (25.45); the boys 4×400 relay team: David Shahamanyan, Nick Beatty, Alex Damla and Matt Manalo (3:29.53).