By Seth AMITIN
A long morning at the Cerritos College track on Saturday turned into a long day. A handful of locals were able to compete at the CIF Finals and after hours of anticipation, finally reached the field. The results weren’t as great in previous years – no one in the area reached Masters – but it was a season that left a lot of athletes and coaches feeling positive.
“Overall I thought we had a very good year,” said Crescenta Valley Head Coach Mark Evans. “I am very pleased to have three athletes qualify for finals. The qualifying process is really tough and to get three is great.”
It was a good year for the Falcons’ girls team, with two of their long distance runners qualifying for CIF Finals. Junior Claudia Pham and freshman Cali King ran in the 3,200-meter and the 1,600-meter races respectively.
And maybe the biggest surprise of the year, senior Melanie Samvalian made it as well in the shot put.
Samvalian finished in fourth place in the Division I girls’ shot put at 38 feet, 6 inches. It was a personal record for Samvalian, but just short of qualifying for Masters.
“Melanie has had a great season and shown great improvement over last year,” said Evans. “[Her throw this year was] well over five feet farther than she threw last year.”
Claudia Pham finished in eighth in the Division I girls’ 3,200 meters at 11:05.55. She finished in 23rd place out of the 36 that ran in all four divisions. Pham dropped 10 seconds off her previous best, according to Evans. She’ll return for her senior year.
Arcadia’s Catrina McAlister finished in first in Division I and overall in the 3,200 (10:32.44). She’ll move on to CIF Masters this week.
CV freshman Cali King, likewise, finished in eighth place in the Division I girls’ 1,600 meters at 5:29.76.
“Claudia and Cali had great success this year and gained lots of good experience and are in good position to move on next year,” Evans said. “We have a great group coming back next year and they know what it takes to compete in our league and in CIF Division I.
“I believe we can have a very good team that can challenge for the league title.”
For the Falcon boys, 2010 was a weak year. No boys’ team member qualified for the Finals, just a year after Zack Torres, the perennial CIF State finalist and one time All-American, graduated.
“The boys really struggled a bit but never gave up and really competed well,” said Evans. “We had a lot of sophomores and juniors we depended on for points. Those guys were really tested and are stronger and more prepared for next season. If they come back and work as hard as they did this season we will have a boys team that can also contend for a league title.”
McAlister also took first place in the Division I 1,600 meters at 4:50.78. She was just barely beat overall by Redondo Union’s Chloe Curtis in the Division II race (4:50.43). They’ll race against each other at the Masters.
Flintridge Prep’s Dorothy Silverman and Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy’s Paulina Antaplyan finished in fourth and fifth in the Division IV girls’ 1,600 (5:13.72 and 5:14.80 respectively).
Antaplyan also finished in fifth in the Div. IV girls’ 3,200 meters (11:15.36).
Prep’s Brooke Elby took eighth in the girls’ 300-meter hurdles (47.73).
Prep’s Jason Bunn, the area’s lone male representative, finished eighth in the Division IV boys’ 3,200 meters (9:59.59).
Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy sophomore Drew Washington finished in eighth in the 400 meters (1:00.55).
Sacred Heart’s 4-by-400 relay team earned fifth place in Div. IV (3:57.96).