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Weiss brothers find rarefied air in Clovis

What was apparent Friday evening became even more special three days later.

Last weekend, the Flintridge Prep twin brother duo of Barrett and Gareth Weiss turned in a slew of accomplishments at the CIF Southern Section Track and Field Masters Meet at Cerritos College.

The juniors not only set personal and school records with equal vaults of 15 feet, 2 inches, but they also earned advancement to the CIF State Track and Field Championship preliminaries Friday evening at Clovis Buchanan High.

That much was known.

"You always practice and dream of advancing to state, but that's everyone's goal and it doesn't happen most of the time," Gareth Weiss said. "When it happened to both of us, I just couldn't believe it. It's unreal to be going to state."

What was only discovered Monday morning, thanks in large part to the efforts of outgoing Flintridge Prep athletic director Alex Rivera, was that the pair became the first two athletes since the school's athletic inception in the 1930s to qualify to the elite meet.

"It's rare to accomplish any firsts in school history, so that's great," said Rivera, who examined records and other athletic documents and contacted former track coaches. "They deserve a lot of credit."

The Weiss brothers are two of 24 competitors slated for Friday's pole vault prelims at 6 p.m.

The goal for all athletes will be to finish with a top-nine mark, which would earn advancement to Saturday's championship pole vault at 7:15 p.m.

"To be considered one of the best is an honor that my brother and I are proud to share," Barrett Weiss said. "Now, we're just looking forward to seeing if we can go a little further."

The Weiss brothers belong to a field that has gone above and beyond recent state pole vault classes and has the potential to be the best of all-time.

Currently, the state championship record vault is 17-3, set by Los Gatos' Nico Weiler in 2008.

That record is in danger, though, as two 17-footers will compete in Ventura's Jake David (17-1) and Thousand Oaks' Luigi Colella (17-00 3/4), while the prelims field boasts three additional vaulters who have cleared 16-7 this season.

Despite those amazing heights, Flintridge Prep Coach Nick Ponticello doesn't think his athletes will experience much tension.

"They'll feel some pressure because as an athlete, you obviously want to do your best," Ponticello said. "But in all honesty, the guys know the field is deep and they're going to go out and do their best and not try to match anyone.

"It's like I said last week, this is a golden opportunity to talk with the best pole vaulters in state. I really hope that Barrett and Gareth take advantage, pick up some pointers, make contact and learn from this experience."

Last season, 15-5 3/4 proved the qualifying height to advance to the state finals, which would require a near four-inch improvement for both brothers.

"I'm not sure you could say there was a real expectation to get to Masters," Barrett Weiss said. "That was our goal, but I didn't think we'd make it. We made it there and we made it to state, so nothing is impossible."

Prior to the Masters Meet, Barrett Weiss' best mark was 15-1, which netted him a Prep League championship. Gareth, on the other hand, entered Masters with a 14-9 best height that clinched him a second CIF Southern Section Division IV championship within a three-year span.

"This is all extra for them," Ponticello said. "They've already had a great season regardless of what happens this weekend, but I'm not going to count them out. They've made a habit of surpassing expectations."


Follow Andrew J. Campa on Twitter: @campadresports.

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