Melnyk, Weiss brothers prepare for Masters statement

Flintridge Prep junior pole vaulters Barrett and Gareth Weiss and Crescenta Valley High junior middle distance runner Megan Melnyk represent a local trio with high hopes of advancing to next week's CIF State Track and Field Preliminaries and Championships at Buchanan High in Clovis. To do so, they will have to earn their mark at Friday's CIF Southern Section Masters Meet at Cerritos College.

Each can either finish in the top six in their respective event out of the four divisions competing or each can hit a CIF State at-large qualifying mark.

For Flintridge Prep Coach Nick Ponticello, he's hopeful his pair of competitors can reach the at-large mark of 15 feet, 2 inches.

"Barrett has jumped 15 feet this season and Gareth is coming off 14-9," Ponticello said. "I think they both have 15-2 in them."

Gareth and Barrett both tied for the lead of 14-9 in Division IV at the divisional championships at Cerritos College last week, with the title going to Gareth, who scratched fewer times.

Yet, it's Barrett who enters with the school record of 15-1 and is the reigning Prep League champion.

Both tied for the 10th-best mark in a competition highlighted by an amazing vault of 17-1 from Ventura's Jake David, who was one of three vaulters to fly at 16-9 1/2 or higher.

When asked if his vaulter may be intimidated competing in a daunting field, Ponticello thought the exact opposite.

"Hey, they're not looking to win, they're just looking to move on," Ponticello said. "And they're really excited to compete with people who know what they're doing. I hope they learn from these guys and talk to them, get some tips. This is a great opportunity to not only compete, but grow."

The Weiss brothers are two of 15 vaulters who will compete in the pole vault, the day's first event, at 3:30 p.m.

Almost four hours later, Melnyk will get going in the 800-meter dash, slated for 7:22 p.m.

Last week, the junior buried a season's worth of frustration by taking third in Division I with a season-best time of 2 minutes, 13.71 seconds.

"It's all about my health, I just haven't had it this year," Melnyk said. "I have to thank God that I had one more chance and I took advantage of it. I hadn't felt that good in a long time."

Melnyk's mark was the best since she hit her personal-best time of 2:13.34 at last year's Division I championship at Mt. San Antonio College.

Melnyk hadn't come close this season to replicating that mark due to several nagging injuries.

Friday marks the second straight year Melnyk advanced to Masters after she finished 12th (2:16.62) last season.

Melnyk is currently seeded 10th across the four divisions and would either need to move up four sports or hit a difficult state at-large qualifying mark of 2:11.80.

"I'm just going to go out and do my best and see what happens," Melnyk said. "It's already a win just to get to Masters."


Follow Andrew J. Campa on Twitter: @campadresports.

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